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Plight of New ISBT Shimla – People literally defecate, pee, and litter in open

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new-isbt-shimla-bypass

SHIMLA-There are hundreds of pages on Facebook which fetch good number of likes on beautiful pictures of Shimla city and its surrounding areas posted on them. The tourism department and the Govt. keep making claims and boasting of Shimla as one of the best cities in India. In fact, Shimla had received an award for the best city, which the respected Mayor had himself received.

As a matter of fact, there are very few people or FB pages who try to bring our focus on the critical issues regarding the deforestation, increase in traffic, noise pollution and rising carbon emission level, improper garbage disposal habits, and many more issues which are spoiling Shimla’s beauty, serenity, and its social environment.

HW had been writing regularly to Shimla MC regarding the improper garbage disposal by public as well as the daily garbage collectors employed by the department to pick garbage from homes. We also criticize and request the people of the city to co-operate with Govt. efforts to keep Shimla clean.

However, we do not see any sign of hope regarding any aggressive action from Shimla MC or the Govt. Presently, most the people won’t find it unethical or against rules to throw their garbage in open, anywhere they could. The waste disposal habits are very poor and ecologically harmful.

new isbt himachal

Take a look at the sanitation condition and garbage disposal behavior at ISBT. People literally defecate right in front of the ISBT entrance. Take a look above at the photographs.
new-isbt-at-tutikandi

We apologize for posting unpleasant images, but there isn’t any question being decent when dealing with such boors.

ecological damage in shimla

There is a garbage bin, which is always overflowing, and garbage is rarely removed. Regularly parked HRTC buses provide cover from public view. It’s like an open public toilet. Even the guards at ISBT pee here. However, when the buses move away, the spot really stinks and appears ugly one.

shimla defecate in open

Although, the people who defecate here mostly belong to laborer section or the culprits are nearby tea-stall owners and their kids, but there are others who come in cars, never bother to step into the toilets inside ISBT, and pee in open.
tourism in shimla

Littering isn’t limited to any section. All of us including the tourists contribute as much as we can.
Perhaps, a public toilet is needed outside ISBT building because other than passengers, many visit the place, who either don’t enter building or are too lazy to walk 50 meters towards the available toilet inside ISBT.

tea stalls at isbt shimla

The scene isn’t different on the other side of the entrance. The mushrooming ‘raidi walas’ and ‘chai walas’ either burn or throw the garbage in open, just behind their stalls.

shimla mc waste management

chai wala in shimla

The disposable cups and plastic wrappers form edibles make most of the waste. Defecating and urinating in open again make the sight an ugly one, stinking always.

plastic-burning-shimla

shimla-municipality-waste-management

Some reader have already posted images in HW UrNews section showing garbage burning and littering in surrounding areas of the new ISBT, but there isn’t any response from Shimla MC.

local-shimla-girl-suffocated-in-smoke

We understand that it’s a tough job for MC to tame people, teach them not to litter, and similar duties. The public isn’t co-operating at all. There must be some reason behind this poor attitude regarding waste disposal that prevails in our society. For example, disposable cups and bottles mean they could be disposed anywhere in open. Most of the plastic mineral water and cold drink bottles end up anywhere but in dustbins.

We need awareness campaigns which could appeal to people from all sections of the society. Then, we need to ensure action against violators. The public is ignorant here. They don’t understand or mind littering. They would walk over piles of garbage, but they won’t ever speak a word against littering, neither they realize their mistakes.

There is one more issue; the cigarette butts, which take years to decompose. The Govt. has declared the state smoke free, and had banned smoking in public places. However, they forgot to consider the fact that sale of cigarette isn’t banned, so people will be smoking anywhere they could find an opportunity and cover as there isn’t any provision of smoking zones. In developed countries, the there are smoking zones and also the public space is defined more clearly.

All this crap, right under those huge promotional boards, advertising the CM and his policies, is symbolic of Shimla’s plight. Everything, the politicians and the Govt. do is hypocritical. All of them put more efforts in showing off instead of acting for the betterment. However, the Govt. is only a reflection of its people. The Govt., the people and their political representatives, all of them lack sense of responsibility; both of them are insolent, and boor.

Both of them has forgot that this place belongs to all, they are responsible for its aesthetic and ecological destruction, that it is their duty to not follow any practice that harms the beauty and purity of place they inhabit.

How difficult is it to carry your garbage to a dustbin? Is it too much for you to carry empty plastic packets and bottles with you until you find a dustbin? Why would you not stop throwing garbage from bus and car windows? All we need to do is take care of our own garbage, put a check ecologically harmful practices, and preach the same to others around us. That will be a great favor for Shimla city.

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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India’s Revised Vaccination Policy and Supreme Court’s Role Behind This Change in Approach

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Shimla-Free vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age would be available from 21st June onwards, the Government of India announced yesterday. The Centre has also announced that private hospitals would not be able to levy arbitrary charges for vaccination and the rate would be fixed. The government also rolled back its policy for procurement of vaccines, which was under heavy criticism not only from the opposition but also from the Supreme Court of India.

Though, the Centre claimed that the roll-back was a result of the demands raised by state governments, but some believe this decision came right after harsh judicial scrutiny of the government’s previous policy by the Supreme Court, whose initiation is being lauded by the citizens of India amid this pandemic.

“Many states came forward with a demand for reconsideration of the vaccination strategy and for bringing back the system that was there before 1st May,” the Centre said while defending the rollback.

Also, the Centre was even objecting to the court’s jurisdiction in matters related to policymaking and had termed it as an encroachment on the jurisdiction of the executive. However, very mindful of its jurisdiction, the court had mitigated this allegation of the Centre by explaining how policymaking is subject to judicial scrutiny. The court made the Centre aware of the ‘dialogic judicial review’, where the Court can question the executive and demand justifications from it over non-conformity of a policy to the constitutional rights.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court had grilled the Union government over its faulty and discriminatory policy as states were left on their own for the procurement of vaccines. In its orders passed on May 31, a bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat came down heavily upon the central government. The bench had termed the policy approach as “arbitrary and irrational”  because it did not provide free vaccination for the 18-44 year age group.  The bench had sought clarification on policy and dual pricing in which states were being made to procure vaccines directly from the manufactures and were invariably paying more for vaccines while the Centre procured the same vaccines at lower rates.

“Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, we are now faced with a situation where the 18-44 age group also needs to be vaccinated, although priority may be retained between different age groups on a scientific basis. Hence, due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy of the Central Government for conducting free vaccination themselves for groups under the first 2 phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by the State/UT Governments and private hospital for the persons between 18-44 years is prima facie arbitrary and irrational” a bench observed while passing an order on May 31, 2021 concerning a Suo moto case on “Re-Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic”.

Further, the court had also expressed concerns over the digital divide which would make accessing vaccine equally difficult for a large section through online registration.

Earlier, in its orders passed on April 30, the bend had observed that this policy approach would be “detrimental to the right to life and health”. The bench had also observed that this policy requires rethinking, as it needs to be formulated in conformity with the provisions of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The bench aggressively went on to order the government to share all details of the vaccine purchase and distribution, as well as provide information on how the budget allocated for the vaccination (₹35,000 Crores ) was used.

Provisions of the New Vaccination Policy

  • Procurement of 25 per cent vaccinations which was earlier with states will now be undertaken by the Government of India.
  • The government of India will buy 75 per cent of the total vaccines produced and will provide it to the states free of cost. No state government would be spending anything on vaccines.
  • The system of 25 per cent vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue. Private hospitals can’t charge more than 150 rupees service charge over the decided price of the vaccines.

The Centre said that this policy would be rolled out in two weeks.

“In two weeks, the Centre and states will make necessary preparations as per new guidelines,” the Centre announced yesterday.

Till today, more than 23 Crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country.

To ward off the embarrassment caused by such a contentious policy which was not conforming with the constitutional rights of the citizens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without referring to the judicial review, blamed it on the state governments.

“As the corona cases started declining, questions arose about the lack of choice for states and some people questioned why the Central government is deciding everything,” he said.

“India’s vaccination program was run mostly under the Central government. Free vaccination for all was moving forward and people were showing discipline in getting vaccinated when their turn came, amid all these demands for decentralization of vaccination were raised, the decision about priority to certain age groups was raised. Many types pressures were exerted and certain sections of media took it as a campaign,” the PM said.

But with that being said the role of the judiciary in making the government roll back its policy in the interest of the people is being lauded as the victory of judicial review. Also, it has attracted positive response for the apex court which was being alleged of evading several matters related to the public interest under the pressure from the current political regime.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana Extended  Till Deepawali.

In another major announcement, the Central government announced the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Deepawali.

As per the announcement, till November, 80 crore people will continue to get a decided amount of free food grain every month.

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

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

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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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