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Himachal’s cut in electricity duty to lure industrial investments and other cabinet decisions

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SHIMLA- Himachal Pradesh Cabinet announced decisions on various matters during its meet yesterday.

In order to provide industrial friendly environment for attracting new investments in the State, the Cabinet decided to reduce electricity duty so as to facilitate the new industrial units fulfilling the announcement made by the Chief Minister in his budget speech.

It also approved amendments in H.P. Village Common Lands Vesting and Utilization Act, 1974 pertaining to conferment of proprietary rights to Chakotadars. A Scheme for Grant of Proprietary Rights over the land leased/allotted by Panchayats under the Punjab Common Land (Regulation Act), 1962 would be made effective after completing all formalities.

The cabinet gave approval for opening of Sub-Divisional Police Office at Jawalamukhi in District Kangra and at Paddar in district Mandi.

It was also decided to upgrade Police Post at Khundian to Police Station and start four new Police Posts at Jol under Police Station Bangana, Dadasiba under Police Station Dehra, Jangla under Police Station Chirgaon and Majheen under Police Station Khundian and to also create 46 posts of different categories therein. Approval was given to fill up 20 vacant posts of Sub Inspectors by direct recruitment in Police Department.

The Cabinet decided to cancel the allotment of Anni-II (1.50MW) and Anni-III(1.50MW) hydro- electric projects as the promoters failed to execute the projects in time, causing revenue loss to the Government. The projects were allotted to M/s ABB Power Private Ltd in the year 2000.

It was decided to permit transfer of Baspa-II and Karchham Wangtoo hydro-electric power plants from Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited (JPVL) to its subsidiary Himachal Baspa Power company Limited (HBPCL) and sale of securities of HBPCL to JSW Energy Limited.

The Cabinet also decided to cancel as many as 20 projects and forfeiting their security for non-seriousness in carrying out the work on such projects.

It gave nod to transfer the land on lease basis to Director General, Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET) for establishing CIPET-Vocational Training Centre (VTC) at Sandoli Baddi in Solan district and also transferring of land for establishing Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Dhaulakuan in district Sirmour.

Approval was given to start B.Tech in Electrical Engineering with intake capacity of 60 seats in Rajiv Gandhi Government Engineering College , Kangra at Nagrota Bagwan along with creation and filling up of various posts.

Approval was also given by the Cabinet to declare Government Engineering College Kotla at Jeori in Shimla district as a constituent college of Himachal Technical University, Hamirpur on the same analogy.

It approved creation of six Courts of Mobile Traffic Magistrates in the rank of Civil Judge (Junior Division) along-with supporting staff.

The Cabinet decided to transfer government land in relaxation of Nautor Rules as a special case to as many as 36 effected persons of village Shmah, Paonta Sahib, whose houses were damaged and their fields destroyed due to heavy rains in the year 2013.

The decision was taken that the apple procured under Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) would be disposed of as per past practice and the decision for arrangement of sale of MIS apples near the procurement centres was withdrawn.

The Cabinet approved amendment in sub-rule (3) of Rule 56 of the Himachal Pradesh Co-operative Societies Rule, 1971, by enhancing the existing financial limit from Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 5000/- in respect of Primary Societies and Rs. 8000/- in respect of Secondary and Apex Societies per month for recruiting new employees without seeking prior approval of the Registrar, Co-operative Societies.

The Cabinet approved for upgradtion of three posts of Principal Secretaries to Additional Chief Secretary in the IAS cadre.

It decided for selection and imparting training to 242 candidates in order to fill up vacant posts of Patwaris in Settlement wing of Revenue department besides engaging retired Patwari/Kanungos on contract basis in the interim period to tide over the vacancy position till the availability of trained Patwari. Further, it also approved creation and filling of multipurpose workers in each Patwar circle of each district on part time basis.

The Cabinet gave approval to fill up 100 vacant posts of Ayurvedic Pharmacists on contract basis in Ayurveda Department, besides filling up three posts of Professors in Ayurveda College Paprola.

It decided to fill up 71 posts of Horticulture Development Officers on contract basis through H.P. Public Service Commission as per existing R & P Rules and also to fill 75 posts of Horticulture Extension Officers . It also approved to create one post of Principal Scientific Officer by upgrading post of Senior Scientific Officer in the State Pollution Control Board.

It gave nod to fill up 200 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis in Higher Education Department, besides creation of posts for smooth functioning of State Project Directorate of RUSA.

Approval was accorded to fill up 35 posts of Clerks on regular basis from Limited Direct Recruitment (LDR) quota as well as 70 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis in IPH Department.

The decision was taken fill up the post of PET and DPE in Plus Two School for Institute for children with Special Abilitiesat (Boys) at Dhalli in Shimla.

The Cabinet decided to create a new IPH Division at Nagrota Bagwan as well as a new IPH Sub Division at Tanda in district Kangra along with creation of different posts of categories.

The Cabinet also decided to fill 10 vacant posts of clerks from Home Guards volunteers in Civil Defence and Fire Services Department.

It was decided to fill up various 54 posts for smooth functional of Panchayati Raj Department through direct recruitment.

The Cabinet gave its nod to create different category of posts (Information and Technology) in newly created Sub-Division Election Offices at Jawalamukhi, Dharampur, Mandi (Rural), Sujanpur and Shilai.

Approval was accorded by the Cabinet to exempt Magical and Circus shows from paying entertainment duty for a period of ten years w.e.f. April, 2015 under Section 12(3) of the Entertainment Duty Act, 1968.

The Cabinet also approved amendments in H.P. Aero Sports Rules 2004.

It approved the proposal to reduced rate of VAT from 13.75% to 5% in respect of Bitumen and Coal-tar of all kinds.

The Cabinet also approved amendment in Himachal Pradesh Forest (Timber Distribution to the Right Holders) Rules, 2013.

It also approved for implementing Himachal Pradesh Court Fee (e-stamping) Rule 2015.Approved was given to build a new HP PWD Rest House House at Kwar in district Shimla.

The Cabinet decided to enhance the financial assistance to the Second World War soldiers and their widows from Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 3000/- per month.

The Decision was taken to enhance the compensation, relief and rehabilitation grants to the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who are victims of atrocities under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

It was decided to issue UWIN smart cards (Social Security Cards) to un-organized workers including those who are presently enrolled under RSBY as per instructions of Government of India under Shram Shakti Pehchaan campaign for registration of unorganized workers.

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Haryana Tourists Fire Bullets in Air at Hatu Mata Temple, Brandish Rifle, Manhandle Priest

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Hatu temple gun fire by tourists

Shimla-Following regular instances of hooliganism and assaults with weapons by tourists from neighbouring states, especially Punjab and Haryana, the Himachal Pradesh Police had announced regular checking of tourist vehicles on borders to prevent them from carrying weapons into the state. However, the tourists continue to bring weapons, including firearms, into the state.   

In a fresh incident, some tourists from Haryana on October 13, 2021, reportedly fired bullets in the air near the Hatu Mata Temple, Narkanda.  On hearing the sound of gunshots, the priest of the temple, Lalit Sharma, approached these tourists and objected to it. The tourists allegedly grabbed him by the neck and gave him life threats.

The priest freed himself somehow and immediately informed the temple committee about the incident. A member of the temple committee also informed the local police.

The priest said that a special pooja (worship) was organized at the temple on the occasion of Durga Ashtami and a large number of people was present inside the premises to participate in the pooja. This incident created panic among these devotees.

A taxi driver, Shravan Kumar, told police that two cars – HR 16X-3753 MG Hector & PB 26G-5555 Fortuner- were parked in the middle of the Hatu Mata link road, blocking the traffic. The tourists in these vehicles were brandishing guns and creating a nuisance. A short video clip showing one of these men brandishing a gun from their vehicle has also appeared. It was speculated that these men were intoxicated. 

Later, the local police arrived at the scene and apprehended about eight tourists for questioning. The police recovered a pistol, a rifle, and a dozen of bullets from the men. Cases were filed against two of them. When inquired in front of the temple committee, the two tourists told the police their names and addresses. They were identified as Kuldeep, 37, of Tehsil Lauharu, District Bhiwani, Haryana,  and Abhishek Kumar, 27, of district Bhawani, Harayana.

A case was filed at the Police Station, Kumarsain under Section 336, 34 of IPC and 25-54/59 of the Arms Act. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rampur, Chandrashekhar confirmed the report.

The temple committee has expressed concern over the incident and asked the police and the district administration to take stringent action against these men for hooliganism and creating a nuisance. The committee also urged that steps should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

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New Chief Justice of HP High Court Justice Mohammad Rafiq Takes Oath

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New Chief Justice of Himachal PRadesh High Court justice mohammad rafiq

Shimla-The new Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Mohammad Rafiq, was today administered the oath of office by Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan.

Justice Mohammad Rafiq was born on 25th May 1960 at Sujangarh in the Churu district of Rajasthan. He completed B.Com in 1980, LL.B in 1984 and M.Com in 1986 from the University of Rajasthan.

He, later on, joined the Bar and practised as an Advocate after enrolment with the Bar Council of Rajasthan on 8th July 1984. He practised exclusively in Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur in almost all branches of law and specially conducted constitutional matters, service matters, land acquisition cases, land revenue cases, preventive detention cases, customs & excise matters, railway claims cases, tax matters, company matters and criminal matters before the High Court.

He worked as Assistant Government Advocate for the State of Rajasthan from 15th July 1986 to 21st December 1987 and Deputy Government Advocate from 22nd December 1987 to 29th June 1990. He appeared before the High Court as panel advocate for various Departments of the State Government for five years i.e. from 1993 to 1998.

He also represented the Union of India as Standing Counsel from 1992 to 2001 before the High Court. He also represented the Indian Railways, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, Rajasthan Board of Muslim Wakfs, Jaipur Development Authority, Rajasthan Housing Board and Jaipur Municipal Corporation before the Rajasthan High Court.

He was appointed as Additional Advocate General for the State of Rajasthan on 7th January 1999 and worked as such till his elevation to the Bench. He was appointed as Judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 15th May 2006. He also worked as Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court twice; from 7th April 2019 to 4th May 2019 and from 23rd September 2019 to 5th October 2019. He was also the Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority and the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court before elevation as the Chief Justice. He was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya from 13th November 2019 to 26th April 2020. Justice Mohammad Rafiq was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on 27th April 2020, on being transferred from the Meghalaya High Court. He was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh on 3rd January 2021, on being transferred from the Orissa High Court.

The ceremony took place at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhawan, where Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh conducted the proceedings of the oath ceremony and read out the notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice regarding the transfer of Justice Mohammad Rafiq as Chief Justice of the HP High Court.

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HP Bypolls 2021: Bragta Doesn’t Withdraw Nomination, Remains Out of Sight Entire Day to Evade BJP Leadership

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chetan bragta's election symbol is apple

Shimla-Chetan Bragta, who has revolted against the Bharatiya Janata Party over denial of ticket to him, didn’t withdraw his nomination. October 13 was the last day for the withdrawal of nominations.  BJP leaders, who had been claiming that Bragta would withdraw his nomination, kept searching for him throughout the day but couldn’t find him or connect to him.

As per reports, Bragta had disappeared this morning to avoid BJP leaders and his mobile numbers were also switched off. However, Bragta posted a video on social media after the time for withdrawal of nomination ended. In this video, Bragta informed that the Election Commission has allotted “apple” as his election symbol. He also said that he would not step back and would fight the elections as an independent candidate.


The reports also said that BJP workers and leaders kept searching for Bragta in order to convince him to withdraw his nomination. However, the reports said, to avoid this pressure for withdrawal, he decided to disappear and switch off his mobile numbers.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that BJP is likely to expel him from the party. BJP, while denying him a ticket for the HP by polls 2021, had cited discouraging ‘dynastic politics’ as the reason. 

Pertinent to mention that BJP had denied a ticket to Chetan Braga – son of former MLA Narender Bragta- from the Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seat that had fallen vacant after the demise of his father. The ticket was instead given to Neelam Seraik.

While the chances of Neelam’s victory already seems to be bleak, Chetan Bragta has further aggravated the tension for BJP. This rebellion could benefit Congress Candidate Rohit Thakur.

BJP had faced revolt on all three Assembly seats over denial of ticket. However, somehow it convinced the miffed leaders on Arki and Fatehpur Assembly seats to not file nominations as independent candidates. However, BJP failed to do so in the case of Chetan Bragta. BJP had been maintaining that there is no resistance to its selected candidates from within the party.

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