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Negligent Shimla ‘bus driver death race’ continues unperturbed (Video)

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SHIMLA- On June 15, an 8-years old girl was crushed by a HRTC bus at Nadukhar village in Basantpur, Shimla. She was dragged to a distance of about 80-feet before the driver pulled over the bus. Dailies reported two buses were competing in order to fetch more passengers. This obsession for overtaking the other bus resulted in a case of high-speed tragedy or a culpable homicide. Try to imagine the body of that little girl.

She was in third class and was on her way to School that morning. At 8:35 AM, while she was crossing the road after getting off the bus, an HRTC bus (HP-03B-6231) ran over her. She died on the spot. The driver fled from the scene and surrendered at Sunni Police Station.

Basantpur bus accident

However, the tournament is moving on without interruption in Shimla. The competition is growing among private bus drivers. The private bus drivers make every effort to take over HRTC buses in order to fetch the passengers before others. Same competition has created grudges between local HRTC and private bus operators. As always, the public is suffering each and every day while traveling in local transport.

Take a look at the Video showing private bus drivers speeding at a speed of 60-70 KM/h, unsafe overtaking at bus stoppages, and accelerating buses while the passengers still hanging at doors. The drivers are always in hurry and they don’t even wait for passengers to properly board on.

Clearly visible, the buses can be seen driving insanely and playing tricks at bus stoppages. A bus stoppage is the best time to overtake and park the bus in such a way that create obstruction for rivals.

It’s a routine in Shimla. A few years back, a lady was crushed by a private bus near HP High Court on Cartroad, Shimla. Two buses were racing and one of them stopped near High Court to drop and pick passengers. The driver of the first bus intentionally obstructed the road for the bus behind it. The driver parked the bus in the middle of the road so that the one behind him could not overtake. However, the one at rear tried to overtake from the wrong-side and ended with badly crushed a lady to death.

No one took a lesson from that culpable homicide. Same bloody business is going on in front of traffic police.

The negligence of Shimla Traffic Police is justified if you take a look at this video:

Whenever people die in road accidents, the government makes usual statements offering condolences to the family of deceased with some compensation. The transport minister and the Chief Minister always criticiz and throw promises of taking stringent steps to check negligent and unsafe driving by bus drivers in future.

The traffic police of Shimla is an onlooker. They move only during VVIP movement. Not all of them are negligent towards their duties, but most of them surely are.

The only thing that traffic policemen know here about traffic management and their role is to make sure that vehicles keep moving. Absence of traffic jams means perfection for Himachal’s traffic police. We never saw or heard traffic police checking over-speeding and unsafe and inappropriate driving habits of HRTC and private bus drivers.

The private and public transport staff – the drivers and conductors – are ill mannered in terms of their behavior while driving on hilly roads. They do not care where and at what speed they overtake.

This is not it. Take a look at the pictures sent to us readers with complaints regarding use of cellphone by bus drivers while driving.

hrtc-mobile

The number of deaths in road accidents in Himachal is rising due to unsafe and negligent driving.

According to the report released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on accidental deaths has ranked Himachal third state with highest deaths in road accidents. The report revealed:

The number of deaths due to road accidents in 2013 stood at 1,056 (864 males and 192 females) in a total of 2,981 road accident cases in 2013. In these accidents, 5,232 people were injured, including 4,200 males and 1,032 females.

The drivers are careless and some are even driving for years without or with purchased driving licenses. Shimla traffic police is an example of complete failure so far.

All that traffic policemen need to do is to issue a ticket for any particular traffic rule violator they come across. The policemen do not need to argue or to engage in verbal spat, neither it need to use physical force. If the violator believes that the challan was not justified, he/she can contest it in the court for justice. The constitution has given them right to justice. The challans will boost revenue generation as well as help establish discipline among drivers. Zero tolerance towards traffic rule violations; that’s what Himachal presently need.

We will request the transport minister GS Bali to look into the matter. The public and private transport as well as carriage vehicle drivers must be made more responsible as the life of passengers lies in their hands. Along with stringent implementation of traffic rules by police, the government need to sensitize, educate and aware drivers and conductors through government programs and workshops.

Establish zebra-crossings and start educating pedestrians to cross the road only at these crossing. Presently, the pedestrians jump onto the road from anywhere, anytime in order to cross it. The traffic congestion is on rapid rise in Shimla along with its population. Not only the number of vehicles on roads has increased but that of people has also risen. Now, more pedestrians’ crawls on traffic hit Shimla roads.

Therefore, for Shimla, it’s time for some lessons in driving manners, use of commonsense and strictness in implementation of already defined rules. We hope the transport minister and HP Traffic Police will consider it an issue of immediate concern.

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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