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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.

Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity Admissions Open for Diploma in Fruit, Vegetable Processing & Bakery products

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Nauni varsity admissions for diploma

Solan-The Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has invited applications for its one-year Diploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Bakery products. The diploma will be run by the Department of Food Science and Technology of the university.

This year, the university has also reduced the fee charged for the diploma to Rs 5000. Earlier, the fee for this diploma was Rs 20,000. The decision was taken to ensure that more and more people can apply for the programme.

In addition, the programme has also been linked to the Skill Development Allowance scheme of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Any person enrolled in the programme can also apply for this allowance.

The minimum educational qualification for this diploma programme is Class 10+2 with at least 40 per cent with no age cap for admission. The last date of application is 17 January 2019 and the counselling will be held on 19 January.

A total of 35 seats are available in the programme. Prospectus and application form can be downloaded from the university website(www.yspuniversity.ac.in).

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234 Ambulance Roads in Shimla City Declared ‘No Parking Zones’, Parking woes to Intensify

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List of ambulance roads in Shimla City declared no parking zones

Shimla- The parking woes have intensified in Shimla City as the District Magistrate of Shimla, Amit Kashyap, issued an official notification on December 19, 2018, in which 234 ambulance roads in Shimla city were declared as “No Parking Zones.

As per the notification, based on the report received from the Superintendent of Police, Shimla, it was found that the residents, as well as outsiders, had turned link roads into unauthorized parking spaces, which results into huge traffic jam and inconvenience to the smooth passage of ambulances carrying patients along with the general the public.

Therefore, the District Magistrate declared all the following 234 ambulance roads as “No Parking Zones”:


He said the decision was taken keeping in view the necessity of smooth flow of traffic and passage to ambulances on ambulance roads in Shimla City.

As per the notification, the matter was highlighted as the local residents of the Middle Cemetery, upper Gahan, Bhatttakufar, Dhingu Bawari, Frud, Lower Gahan, and Nerridhar had requested to declare the ambulance roads leading from Dhigu Bawari to Lower Gahan and From PWD Workshop Bhattakuffer to Jai Moti Bhawan (Cemetary) as “No Parking Zone” as some of the people park their vehicles on these roads resulting in traffic jams and obstruct ambulances.

While the government has a policy to allow buying vehicles only if an applicant could provide evidence of having a parking space, there are a large number of cars which were either bought before the formation of this policy or are registered in other districts of the State.

A section of vehicle owners have expressed unrest against this decision and argued that it was not fair, as the government did not provide sufficient authorized parking spaces in localities.

Having a personal parking space doesn’t matter as soon as an individual drives to other parts of the city. Sufficient parking spaces based on the required capacity of a particular Ward or locality are needed to fix this problem, and it is apparently the government’s job

said a resident of Khalini, Shimla.

On the other hand, the majority of the general public has supported the decision expecting that it would make these roads more convenient and smoother for traffic.

However, the district police is likely to face a lot of resistance from local residents while ensuring compliance with the orders passed.

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Opposed to Tribal Minister’s promise in Assembly, FRA claims of Kinnaur tribals rejected to favor hydro-power company

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HP Govt Rejects FRA Claims of Kinnaur villagers

Doling out forest land to the company but cannot grant tribal rights, shows government priorities; Empty promise on FRA made in Vidhan Sabha: Lippa Forest Rights Committee

Kinnaur: Barely few days after tall promises were made about implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the Legislative Assembly by the Tribal Minister Ramlal Markanda, the District Level Committee (DLC) at Rekong Peo has rejected the Individual Forest Rights claims of 47 tribal claimants of Lippa Village in Kinnaur District, said Forest Rights Committee, Lippa in a media statement. The order of the DLC, which was not signed by the three non-official members of the committee out of the six members, was termed as illegal and unjust by the Lippa Forest Rights Committee.

We condemn this order led by the Deputy Commissioner because the arguments for not recommending the 47 claims are totally baseless. It is clear that the officials are ignorant about the provisions of the FRA 2006. The DLC has just blindly accepted the incorrect decision taken by the bureaucratic members of the Sub Divisional Level Committee, where as we have provided the DLC detailed objections to the same, based on the provisions in the Forest Rights Act 2006,

said Subhash Negi of President of the Forest Rights Committee, Lippa.

The order of the DLC dated December 17, 2018, gives three arguments for not recommending the claims. The first is that the claims are not from ‘unsurveyed villages’ but from revenue villages. The second argument is that the evidence submitted by the claimants does not provide proof of three generations. The third argument says that the act was only for those who are primarily residing in forests and dependent on the forest land, implying that the claimants were not eligible. As per the FRC as well as the written objection submitted by the Individual claimants, all three arguments have been legally countered.

This Act is not just for ‘unsurveyed villages’ but is also applicable to revenue villages with residents who are dependent for their ‘bonafide livelihood’ needs on forest land. This has been adequately clarified by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in a circular dated June 9, 2008.

This argument by the officials that claimants from revenue villages are not eligible is ridiculous because all 17,503 FRCs in Himachal are formed at Revenue Village level. If we go by their argument then the FRA 2006 cannot be implemented in Himachal at all since there almost no forest villages here. The FRA 2006 is applicable where ever people depend on forest land,

according to Prakash Bhandari, of Himdhara Collective advocating for the implementation of the Act.

Secondly, the Act requires the three-generation evidence clause only for non-tribal people (referred to as Other traditional forest dwellers in the Act), Whereas the applicants in the case of Lippa are all belonging to the category of Scheduled Tribe. Thirdly, the SDLC and DLC have both recommended the Community forest rights for the Lippa village without any objections.

This is s a partial reading of the law. While issuing the CFR title we are considered as ‘primarily residing in the forest, forest dwellers’, while considering the individual claims won’t the same criteria apply? This shows that the officials do not have even basic knowledge of the act,

added Negi.

It needs to be noted that individual claims can be made, as per the law for both housing as well as land being cultivated. The Gram Sabha of Lippa has recommended all 47 claims almost 6 months ago.

The decision of the DLC is also contentious because the forest land under Lippa Village was leased out to Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited for the Kashang Stage 2 and 3 hydropower projects by the State cabinet on 0ctober 13, 2018. The Paryavaran Sangharsh Samiti, Lippa which has been opposing the forest clearance to the project, has objected to the cabinet decision taken on the grounds that it “is a clear violation of not only of the PESA, FRA, 2006 and the NGT judgment dated 5th May 2016 but also the state’s own legislation”.

In 2016 the Green tribunal had ordered that the forest rights of the communities be settled as per provisions of the FRA and only after that the project proponents could approach the Gram Sabha for NOC.

The lease order was made under Himachal Pradesh Lease rules, 2013 for an underground area of 06-03-20 ha, situated in Up-Mohal Lappo of the Lippa Village. According to Tashi Chewang, Secretary Paryavaran Sanrakshan Sangharsh Samiti, “Rule 11 sub-rule 2 (iii) of the Himachal Pradesh Lease Rules, 2014 clearly states that

In Scheduled areas, the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) shall also refer the lease application to the concerned Gram Sabhas for consultation. He shall proceed further only after obtaining the Gram Sabha’s resolution

in this regard.

But during the whole process of leasing out land to HPPCL, neither the SDM has ever approached or consulted with the Lippa gram sabha nor the gram sabha ever passed any resolution in this regard.

The ‘Vanya Prani, Van Evam Jaivividhta Sanrakhsan Samiti’ formed under rule 4(E) of the FRA 2006 by Lippa Gram Sabha has issued a legal notice to the Chief Secretary and 6 other high level officials challenging the lease order.

The people of Lippa village for the last ten years have been struggling against the projects because of the havoc that diversion of the Kerang Khad would cause. Kerang is a perennial stream that flows adjacent to the Lippa village and it helps in flushing out the huge silt and debris that come towards the village from another stream called the Pager Khad.

If the Kerang is diverted by the project then the Pager khad will destroy the village, added Chewang. The Chilgoza forest and other biodiversity on which the livelihood of locals is directly dependent will also be impacted by the forest diversion and construction

, according to members of the Paryavaran Sanrankshan Sangharsh Samiti.

Our struggle is for our day to day survival and livelihood using every law that is available for protection of tribal rights. But when the State is violating all these constitutional laws and provisions, what is the community to do?

asks R.S Negi leader of Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur, a platform for tribal rights in the District.

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