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Extremity of HP Govt.’s corruption – Swallows share of deaf & blind students

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school for blind shimla

After human rights violation was disclosed at Nari Sewa Sadan Mashobra, Dhalli school for deaf and blind students was found being run in complete violation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. The kids don’t get uniforms, no art, music, maths, science teachers, school lacks sufficient classrooms, special aids (technical equipments and gadgets) for children are missing

SHIMLA: In a shocking disclosure, a grieve issue of violation of rights of the blind and deaf students of special school at Dhalli, Shimla has come up. The school, being run by H.P. State Council for Child Welfare, is not even providing school uniform to the students.

It was revealed, again, by Ajai Srivastva, chairman of Umang Foundation. In a letter to the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Shrivastva said that the Child Welfare Council and Department of Social Justice have badly failed to run special schools which should be handover to Education Department. It further said that some corrupt and disgusting officers of the Child Welfare Council and Directorate of SC, OBC & Minority Affairs have always been painting very rosy pictures before the CM.

There are about 125 students in the special school at Dhalli. But no student has been given school uniform. Most of the students are from poor families who can not afford to purchase uniforms. There is a shortage of class rooms. There are only six class rooms for ten classes of deaf students from 1st to 10th standard. How is it possible to accommodate 10 classes in six rooms? There are only three class rooms for ten classes of blind students from 1st to 10th standard. Again, it’s no better than the way cattle are treated or chicken at poultry farm.

There is an acute shortage of teachers for the blind and deaf students. For example, there are no teacher for science, maths and music for blind students from 1st to 10th standard. It is a known fact that apart from other fields, blind students can excel in the field of music; but unfortunately they are deprived of their biggest opportunity.

For deaf students, there are no teacher for science, Maths and Arts from 1st to 10th standard. The world has known many exceptional cases where deaf students excelled in the field of fine Arts. Again, the corruption and incapability of HP Govt. snatched the rights of these disabled kids.

There is no facility of “Talking Library” for blind students in the school. The blind students are not being provided with modern gadgets like Angel Players etc. and audio books for their smooth study. The blind and deaf students have no subject-wise teachers in the school. There is no Audiologist for deaf students.

The Educational and Vocational Training Centre (EVTC) on the campus which was started years ago to impart vocational training to the blind and deaf students is defunct and being run on papers only for the last couple of years. The Council or the Department is not bothered about the future of these poor students.

The Special School is a school for the name sake only and is playing with the future of blind and deaf students. Human rights of the disabled students are blatantly violated.

Umang Foundation had constantly raised these issues at different levels during the previous government also. But not even a single Govt. body moved a muscle to improve the condition of the Special School. The Chief Minister had announced that the school will be upgraded up to 12th standard. But the provided infrastructure and teaching faculty is not sufficient for even the present level and this school is being run in violation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995

It is also clear that the Child Welfare Council has badly failed to run the Special School.

Earlier, Umang Foundation had reported blatant violation of human rights at the Nari Sewa Sandan (Home for destitute women) in Mashobra, that is literally degenerated condition of inmates as women aren’t provided with sanitary napkins, and had developed infection in their private parts due to unhygienic conditions. It was no surprise to hear that no psychologist or psychiatrist was available for 26 mentally ill inmates.

home-for-destitute-women-shimla

Read : Shocking RTI disclosure of inhumanity at Mashobra Home for Destitute Women

Ajai Shrivastva in his letter requested to Virbhadra Singh to kindly give a serious thought to his old demand to handover this school and other special school for blind and deaf girls at Sundarnagar to the Department of Education. The Council or the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment have no right to run special schools if their disabled children are deprived of right to education in an appropriate environment.

Dear HP Govt., Umang Foundation might have been very polite while raising this issue to attract your attention. However, we have no doubt that the Govt. including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is already aware of what’s going on in every department. It’s just that they don’t care; no one cares about these kids who can’t fight for their rights. It’s a highly condemnable and matter of shame that HP Govt. has not even spared the funds for deaf and blind students.

What kind of governance is this? We are not sure why the public don’t take notice of such an inhuman and insensitive attitude towards disabled kids or destitute and mentally challenged women, homeless elderly people.
Have a little shame. Please, spare the school for special children and shelters for others will either physical or mental disabilities.

We are thankful to Ajai Shrivastva for his extraordinary efforts to get justice to these unfortunate victims of corruption in our Govt. However, the Govt. is failing him, we are failing him and these children.

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.

Environment

New Shimla Youth Carry Out Forest Cleaning Drive, Request Residents to Maintain Cleanliness

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yatan youth club new shimla

Shimla-Littering and waste disposal in forests in Himachal Pradesh is becoming a grieve environmental issue. Not only the tourists, but locals too contributing towards filling the forest with solid waste. The worst affected are the forests in tourist towns. The district administrations, the pollution control board, and the Municipal Corporations and Councils have no plan of action to deal with this problem. As usual, they are in deep slumber. They are only interested in getting photographed with brooms and masks, sweeping floors of some park, which is already clean.

There is only one Solid Waste Treatment Plant in the State, and that’s, too, has been turned into a dumping yard. A week ago, the heaps of waste were on fire, causing air pollution.

Unfortunately, a section of educated youth is responsible for littering. However, at the same time, a section of the same youth is making efforts to rectify the situation and create awareness in the society regarding cleanliness.

The latest example is the forest area near Kanlu Temple in Sector 4 of New Shimla.

The Yatan Youth Club of New Shimla carried out a cleaning campaign and found that not only domestic solid waste is being dumped into the forest but also the construction waste. The members of the club are carrying out this campaign in multiple rounds as it is not possible to collect entire waste in one day.

New Shimla Youth Club Cleaning Campaign
In the first round, the members collected a large amount of beer and plastic bottles, which were thrown into the forest by ignorant locals.

New Shimla Youth Club Cleaning Campaign 2

In the second round, they found plastic bags, baby diapers, sanitary napkins etc dumped into the forest, which are not only an environmental hazard but also a sanitation issue. Diapers and sanitary napkins, especially in monsoons, attracts flies and mosquitoes alongwith emitting a foul smell.

The members of the Club took the pain of taking out this waste from the forest as well, which is highly appreciable.

“Though the door-to-door garbage collection service is available in the locality during morning hours, the locals throw garbage generated during the day into the forest at evening,”

the members of the Youth Club told Himachal Watcher.

“Waste generated from maintenance or construction activity in the locality is also dumped into the forest, which is extremely harmful to the environment,”

the members added.

New Shimla Youth Club Cleaning Campaign 3

Forest After Cleanliness Drive

The Youth Club, through their campaign, has requested the locals to at least keep their surrounding clean and refrain from dumping waste into forests. The locals should take responsibility for their locality instead of indulging in littering, the members said.

At the same time, the Youth Club has sent out a message to youth in other localities to come ahead and take similar initiatives if they really want to bring a change.

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Kullu Bus Accident: Death Toll Reaches 44, About 35 Injured, Several Critical

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Deaths in Kullu Bus Accident in 2019


SKullu-
The bus accident in Banjar sub-division of Kullu district has entered the list of biggest tragedies in Himachal Pradesh. Per the last information received, the death toll has reached 44, and over 30 injured are undergoing treatment at Banjar Civil Hospital, Kullu Hospital, and Hosptial in Mandi’s Nerchowk.

Several injured are in critical condition and have been referred to PGI, Chandigarh. The district administration fears a possible rise in the death toll considering the critical condition of the injured.

All deceased are said to hail from about 20 villages in Kullu and Mandi.

The accident has again exposed the State government’s hollow promises to take measures to reduce road accidents. There is still no check on vehicle maintenance and overloading, leave alone appropriately placing crash barriers on cliff-side of the roads.
Causes of Kullu Bus Accident in 2019

This 42-seater bus was carrying over 75 passengers, there were passengers on the roof as well, eye-witnesses confirm. The bus had left for Gada Gushaini from Banjar on Thursday evening at about 3:45 PM. The bus had not covered more than two kms when it plunged into a 500 feet deep gorge near ‘Bheot mod’ and landed in a Khada fter scraping the mountain face.
Banjar Bus Accident in Pictures

As per a Hindi Daily, the driver was untrained and was perhaps driving a bus for the first time.

Locals, who travelled in this bus daily, told another Hindi Daily that the bus was in poor condition and often developed technical snags. According to the Daily, the driver experienced a problem in shifting gears when the bus approached the ‘Bheot mod’ and began to move backwards uncontrolled before skidding off the road.

The Superintendent of Police, Kullu, Shalini Agnihotri said, the exact cause of the accident could only be ascertained after a proper probe.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who visited the hospital to meet the injured said,

The road at the spot was not in bad condition. Prima facie it looks like a case of overloading. A meeting was held today to ensure that such incidents don’t happen in future

The driver is reported to have jumped off the bus. A Daily said the driver survived and fled the spot. However, official confirmation was awaited. Hearing the sound of the accident, the locals from nearby Bhumar village rushed to the spot. As per eyewitnesses, the bodies were scattered all over the steep mountain.

Moreover, the condition of crash-barriers install was quite poor. The single-row crash barriers were not installed properly and held no chance of stopping the bus from skidding off the road.

Pictures of Kullu Bus Accident in 2019
The bus was shredded into pieces and its parts were mangled all over the hill and the stream at the bottom of the gorge. The locals had a tough-time descending the steep hill. With the help of ropes, the bodies and injured were extricated and brought up to the road. Further, the locals formed human chains to carry the injured across gushing water of the stream.

Death toll in kullu bus accident

The accident is not the first of its kind. There have been several such accidents in the past in Himachal Pradesh. On April 9, 2018, 27 people including 24 children were killed in a school bus accident in Nurpur in Kangra district. In April 2017, 45 people had died when an overloaded bus had plunged into a gorge near Nerwa in Shimla district. In 2016, 17 had died when a bus fell into Beas river in Mandi district, 25 in Rampur in 2017, 31 in July 2015 when a bus fell into the Parvati in Kullu. Before that, May 2013, 42 people were killed as a private bus plunged into Beas river.

In 2019 alone, 430 people have died in 1,168 road accidents in Himachal Pradesh by May 31. Between 2009 and 2018, over 11,000 people had died in nearly 31,000 different road accidents in the state.

Every time an accident happens, probes are ordered and government issues statements taking vows to fix black spots and implement violation of traffic rules like overloading and rash driving strictly. Further, assurances are provided to take strict action against all government officials and those responsible for the accident. After a few months, the usual business continues as the government officials go back into deep slumber. No action is ever taken against government officials responsible for negligence.

It’s no different this time too, the chief minister has ordered a Magisterial probe while the state transport minister Govind Singh Thakur has made similar promises. How and what actions will be taken remains to be seen.

It’s seen over the year that no audits are conducted to assess the need for additional bus services. The rural areas face a huge problem due to the lack of sufficient bus services, which is also responsible for overloading. There are limited buses and people are left with no choice but to board on overloaded buses to reach their destinations.

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The Regional Transport Office also has a role in such accidents because poorly maintained buses are passed easily. The Public Works Department has all the time to build a corrupt nexus with private contractors, but not to care to install much-needed crash barriers. The district administration and police hardly find time to run regular inspections to see if there is a paucity of bus services or buses are being overloaded.

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Campus Watch

Want to Participate in Sports Tournament? Pay Rs 3700: Shimla’s Private School to Students

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Auckland School Shimla making student to pay for sports tournament

Shimla-The Auckland House School, Shimla, had charged Rs. 4200 per student for a three-day picnic tour to Sadhupul organized about 10 days ago. Now, for a sports tournament in Palampur of Kangra district, the school is asking the students representing it to pay Rs 3700. It sounds absolutely absurd that instead of taking responsibility for the expenditure of the students representing it in the sports tournament, the school is asking students to pay a heavy fee for it. The school is already charging hefty annual fees from the students, but still asking for more. This is nothing more than a new way to extort money from parents. All of these allegations were labelled by the Student-Parent Association on Wednesday.

The school, however, defended itself by saying that participation in these events is not mandatory and parents are not forced in any way. Only those students who opt to participate would have to pay the said fees.

As per the parents, a sports tournament of missionary schools is being organized under the banner of Diocese of Amritsar from June 13 to 16 in Palampur. However, instead of incurring the expenditure for sending students to participate in it, the school is charging Rs 3700 from the students.

The parents alleged that to pressurize the parents, the school sends consent letters to parents just a couple of days before these events. The students are exposed to mental pressure and parents are compelled to sign these consent letters at the last moment. The other private institutions are also following the same pattern.

The parents alleged that the school is not refraining from looting students despite notifications and guidelines issued by the Directorate of Higher Education respectively on March 18, April 8, and May 4. The Association has demanded that the Director of Higher Education should take appropriate action to check this unjustified action of charging hefty amounts on the names of various events.

It’s pertinent to mention that the Association has been staging protests for the last four months against hefty, unjustified fees. They have been alleging that these schools have taken a form of mafia and has turned education into a purely profit-making business. Their protests had compelled the Directorate to issue guidelines to private schools to cut unjustified charges from fees. The Directorate had also ordered an inspection of all private schools running in all districts of the state. It was assured that necessary action would be taken after the completion of the inspection. However, no action was taken following the inspections. The Association had even alleged that schools didn’t even cooperate in inspection and did not provide details they were asked to submit by the Directorate. Moreover, the Directorate did not make findings of the inspection report public.

Some parents had also alleged that their children were made to go through mental harassment by school teachers. The children of those parents who were participating or supporting the protest were targeted individually, made to stand in class, and embarrassed.

However, the government did not intervene in any manner and let the schools enjoy all the liberties they wanted to.

The parents have again demanded that the government should form a regulatory body to check the financial exploitation of the parents by private schools. The Association has warned the government of more fierce protests in case it fails to meet the demands.

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