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Chief Minister Raises Issue of Environmental Clearance of Sand Mining with Environment Ministry

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Chief Minister Raises Issue of Environmental Clearance of Sand Mining with Environment Ministry

Chief Minister Raises Issue of Environmental Clearance of Sand Mining with Environment Ministry

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today effectively raised the issues of environmental clearance for extraction of minor mineral particularly the sand mining from river beds with Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests in a meeting held at New Delhi.

Chief Minister apprised the Union Minister that due to various constraints and strict instructions of Ministry of Environment and Forests, the people of Himachal Pradesh were facing problems due to shortage of sand etc. He said that there was a need to relax the norms particularly for granting the permission for extraction of minor sand mining projects from any river bed/water body upto the area of 5 hectare. The Ministry in the National Green Tribunal has stated that no environmental clearance would be granted for extraction of even minor minerals (sand mining) from any river bed where the area was less than 5 hectares which had adverse repercussions on the development activities in the State, he added.

Expressing his concern on environment change and the commitment of people of Himachal Pradesh in maintaining the balance in development and environment, Chief Minister said that this hill state had become a symbol of harmony of nature and development and also a role model of development for all the hill states of the Country. He also raised the issue of urgently formation of Environment and Assessment Committee with the Union Minister, which has lapsed in March, 2014.

Chief Minister categorically raised the issue of delegation of powers to State Govt. for diversion of forest land upto 5 hectare instead of 1 hectare for non- forestry purposes for certain specific activities. He said that it was very important to grant such permission with a view to intensify the pace of development and also requested that roads and all educational institutions should also be included in the ambit of such approval.

The Chief Minister thanked the Environment Minister for releasing Rs. 86 crore under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and requested for releasing the rest of amount pending with the Centre.

Mukesh Agnihotri, Industry, Information and Public Relations Minister accompanied the Chief Minister informed in the meeting that due to tough topographical condition and small land holdings in the State, people were facing challenges to fulfill their developmental needs and apprised that about 150 cases of crushers and other mining operations were pending with the Centre Govt.

The Union Minister assured the Chief Minister that the interests of the State would be taken care of keeping in view the developmental needs of people of hill state and also said that possibility of waiving of environmental clearance for projects upto 5 hectare on the lines of Uttrakhand State would be explored. He also assured that the Ministry was in the process of evolving the mechanism to clear the minor projects of developmental importance within a stipulated period.

Misc News/Press Release

Heavy Rain, Snow in Himachal, Yellow Alert Issued for Nov 15

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Hp met weather prediction nov 2019

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department has predicted rain and snow from 14 to 16 November 2019. While rain at isolated places is predicted in middle and high hills on November 14, the Met has predicted heavy rain in low and middle hills and heavy snowfall in higher hills.

Weather prediction 2019

A yellow alert has been issued for November 15 in five districts -Chamba, Kangra, Kullu, Mandi, and Lahaul-Spiti.

The weather is predicted to be dry thereafter.  

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Misc News/Press Release

17 November Declared Paid Holiday for Municipal Council Elections

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MC elections in himachal pradesh 2019

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Government has declared 17 November 2019, as paid holiday in the areas of Municipal Council Solan and Nalagarh in district Solan and Rampur in district Shimla, where bye-election is scheduled to be held to fill up the vacant seats.

A Spokesperson of the state government said informed on Wednesday that all government offices, boards, corporations, educational institutions and industrial establishments of the state under Industrial Disputes Act and shops will remain closed on this day in the said areas.

He clarified that special casual leave may be given to those employees who are working in different places in the state but have a right to vote in these Wards on the production of a certificate from the concerned Presiding Officer that the employee has actually cast his/her vote.

 

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RTI Activist Writes to Governor over HPPSC Member Rachana Gupta’s Participation in Politically Dominated Event

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HPPSC Member Rachana Gupta at Global Investor meet

Shimla-The Member of Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission, Rachana Gupta, who has been in controversy over her appointment, is again in news. This time, an RTI activist has written to the Governor of the State, Bandaru Dattatreya, pointing out the presence of Gupta in recently held Global Investor Meet, Dharamshala. A picture of Gupta with the wife of the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur at the event was also attached with the letter.

The activist has termed the event as political dominated in nature where prominent leaders of the party were present.

The activist, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, in his letter, has asked whether Gupta had obtained any permission from the Chairman, HPPSC, to participate in the said event.

The activist also raised a question whether it was appropriate for a member of HPPSC to participate in any politically dominated meetings or events.

“Suppose the wife of a Chief Secretary is a High Court Judge, then can she justify her participation in a political dominated event by arguing that since her husband participated in that event as a Chief Secretary so she can also participate,”

said the activist in his letter.

He said such participation of an HPPSC member would only erode the sanctity of the Commission in the eyes of the candidates and their parents who take the competitive examinations. He also said that such an act would also lead to erosion of the faith that the candidates have in the HPPSC.

The activist said that already a complaint is pending in the office of the Governor relating to criminal case Gupta was facing at the time of her appointment as HPPSC member. In July 2019, Gupta had to obtain bail from the Joginder Nagar court, the activist said.

Referring to the well-known proximity of Gupta with the family of the Chief Minister, the activist said that she was appointed within a very short span of time right after the Jairam Thakur took over the government. A special vacancy was created for her despite the fact that at the time of her appointment there was no such vacancy.

The activist has requested the Governor to initiate an inquiry into the matter and remove Gupta from the membership of HPPSC “in the interest of justice to the candidates who appear in various competitive examinations being conducted by the institution.”

At the time of her appointment in January 2018, the activist had alleged that the Bhartiya Janata Party allegedly created and filled two seats of the member of the HP Public Service Commission by violating the orders of the Supreme Court regarding the proper procedure to make an appointment on such positions.

In addition, two posts were created when all three posts were already occupied, the activist had alleged.

In July 2019, Gupta had filed a defamation suit against a the activist for allegedly tarnishing her image and reputation by posting wrong posts on Facebook.  She had made claim of Rs 1 crore from Bhatacharya.

 

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