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Cabinet approves Rs 1000 crore Horticulture Development Project for Himachal

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The Cabinet in its meeting held here today approved World Bank Funded Rs. 1000 crore, HP Horticulture Development Project for the State and in Society mode besides formation of Society at the apex level under the HP Society Registration Act, 2006.

Under the project, the Cabinet also approved creation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to manage the Progeny cum Demonstration Orchards (PCDO’s) and the farms owned or under the possession of Horticulture and other departments, in a society mode by the society to be created under the HP Society Registration Act 2006.

It also approved the handing over the management of PCDO’s of horticulture/ other departments to the SPV on agreed terms and condition through MoU’s to be signed between the SPV and the concerned department.

Stating this in the meeting, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the function of the societies or SPV formed therein would be to set up modern nurseries and demonstration orchards of various fruits and cultivars, flowers and vegetables and to manage these PCDOs profitably so that the requirement of quality, plant material could meet on regular basis.

The Chief Minister said that the project would help ensuring better post harvest management besides supply chain management and establishing alternative market management and use of information technology in the development of Horticulture Sector in the State besides enhancing horticulture competitiveness at the farm level.

The Cabinet also accorded its approval for development of ropeway projects in Himachal Pradesh. The main projects approved for development are Neugal (Palampur), Bhunter-Bijli Mahadev,

Dharamkot- Triund, Toba-Nainadevi ji, Shahtalai- Deotsidh and Sarahan- Bashal Kanda as per revised RFP document.

The Cabinet also approved Special Purpose Vehicle constituted by the promoter in the name of M/s Manali Ropeway private limited draft concession agreement and the permission to sign agreement with the promoter on the revised project cost as presently proposed Rs 340 crore by the company. It also gave its nod to recover the balance amount of Project Development Success Fee, if any, with interest of 12 percent per annum from the date of signing of concession from the company at the time of submission of final revised Detailed Project Report be approved or not.

The Cabinet also authorized Director Tourism to sign the Palchan-Rohtang Ropeway Project agreement.

Cabinet approved opening of new IPH Sub-Division at Jawlamukhi along with four sections and as many as six posts of different categories.

It also approved up-gradation of Community Health Centre (CHC) Nagrota Bagwan as civil hospital and enhancing its bed capacity to 50 and creation of six posts of different categories in the same. It approved to open PHC at village Khad in Una district.

To add greater variety in the diet of the common man, the Cabinet agreed to invite tenders on pulses under State Subsidy Scheme in three categories of pulses.

In the first category, Rajmah, Rongi and White Channa (Coarse Dals), in the second category Moong, Urd and Black Masar (Sabut Dals) and the third category comprises Dal Chana, Malka and Masri (Dal Bina Chilka)

Cabinet gave its nod to minor amendments in section 10.4.1 and section 10.4.2 in Interim Development Plan of Shimla Planning Area, where change of land use will be done at Administrative Department level. Re-construction of existing buildings on old lines except Heritage buildings shall be permitted provided the façade and architectural features are maintained.

The Cabinet approved Schemes and guidelines for implementation of State Mission on Food Processing.

It also approved creation of National Optical Fiber Network with a view to connect all the Panchayats in the State subjected to the condition that the damaged roads were repaired. It also gave its nod for revised policy for setting up of Mobile Communication Tower for effective quality of services.

It decided to enhance Block Guarantee from Rs. 10 crore to Rs. 13 crore in favour of National Minorities Finance and Development Corporation, New Delhi and Rs. 10 crore to Rs. 12 crore in favour of National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation, Faridabad with the objective of social, economic and educational up-liftment to the people of Minorities Communities and persons with disabilities below in poverty line in Himachal Pradesh.

Cabinet’s Nod to create /fill as many as 250 posts

To create 40 posts of junior officer Assistants (IT) on contract basis in co-operation department.

Filling of 40 posts of Inspectors (Audit) on contract basis in each of the next three years i.e. 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 in the department of co-operation.

Filling of 27 posts of class III in district Kinnaur

Filling of seven vacant posts of Food Safety officers in the department of Health Safety and Regulation.

Filling up of 16 posts of Junior Engineers in department of Panchayati Raj on contract basis.
Creation of one post of ACS in IAS cadre of the State.

Creation of one post of computer operator in Town and Country Planning department.

Creation of nine posts of junior office assistant (IT) on contract basis in HP Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.

Creation and Filling of 25 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in Social Justice and Empowerment department

Creation of as many as 30 posts in newly upgraded Tehsils which will include posts of Tehsil Welfare Officers, Junior Office Assistants on contract basis and 10 Daily wagers.

Filling up one vacant post of Mechanic in Ayurveda department on contract basis.

Creation of 50 posts of Multipurpose Workers for Forest Rest Houses/Inspection Huts on contract basis.

The Cabinet approved staffing norms for Sub-Divisions, Tehsils and Sub-Tehsils.

It decided to regularize contractual Medical Officers (General) working in Health Department.

The Cabinet also approved constitution of Waqf Tribunal as per Waqf (amendment) Act 2013 and to seek the concurrence of the Chief Justice of High Court for appointing a District and Session Judge as Chairman of the Tribunal.

The Cabinet also approved regularization of Ayurveda Officers appointed on contract basis under Rogi Kalyan Samitis in Ayurveda department.

It also decided to wave off 90 percent entertainment tax from Kings XI Punjab for the matches played on 15th, 17th and 21st May, 2011 at Dharamshala.

HYDEL PROJECTS

The Cabinet agreed to allot 960 MW Jhangi-Thopan-Powari Hydel Project to M/S Reliance Energy Ltd. Further decided that it Reliance Energy Ltd. Does not accept the offer the project may be advertised a fresh for biding.

The Cabinet approved allotment of 217 Mini and Micro Hydel projects upto 5 MW capacity.

The Cabinet approved restoration of Chahod (2MW) hydel project in district Mandi.

The Cabinet approved rationalization of circle rates to determine stamp duty and registration fee in the State based on distance of land from the roads i.e. Circle rate of land (persquare Meter/per Bigha) will be equal to(=) Base rate of land (per square meter) X (multiplied by) Factor-1, i.e class of land (cultivated/ uncultivated).


Cabinet approved opening of New Industrial Training Institutes and introduction of trades therein

Approval for opening New ITI at Nagrota Bagwan, in district Kangra.

Approval for opening new ITI for WOMEN at Bharari in sub Tehsil Bhararim in district Bilaspur.

Nod was given to open ITI in Dodra Kwar in district Shimla

Approval was accorded for introducing Draughtsman (Civil) trade in Government ITI Dargi in Shimla Rural assembly segment.

To open New ITI at Siari in district Solan.

New ITI at Badressa/ Mohi in Gram Panchayat Chouri, Sarkaghat , district Mandi.

New ITI at Padhar and Katoli in Mandi district.

Regulations and Acts

The Cabinet also accorded approval for amendment in HP Private Medical Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006. It was decided to incorporate a new sub-section 6a of section 3 in the Act wherein “in order to ensure common standards for maintaining the excellence of medical education in the State, only the Himachal Pradesh University shall have the exclusive to affiliate private medical colleges set up in the State”.

The Cabinet also agreed upon appointing all Additional Deputy Commissioners and Additional District Magistrates as ‘Administrator’, all Divisional Commissioners as Commissioners and all Sub Divisional Officers (Civil) , all Land Acquisition Collectors of different departments be appointed as Collectors for the purpose of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Re-settlement Act, 2013.

Earlier, the Chief Minister accorded warm welcome to Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur who had undergone by-pass surgery. The Chief Minister wished him healthy life.

Misc News/Press Release

HP Health Dept Scam: Vigilance Probe an Eyewash, ‘Medical Mafia’ Given Time to Destroy Evidence, Alleges CPI(M)

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Himachal PRadesh Health department scam vigilance probe

Shimla-The alleged scams in the Health Department of Himachal Pradesh Government in the purchase of medical equipment like PPE kits, ventilators, sanitizers etc. in a time of a pandemic has shocked the people. Alleged corruption in the Government Departments has come as a shock because during an emergency like corona pandemic when the positive cases are still spiraling upward in the State, it was expected that corrupt officials and politicians would spare the people as it was about their lives.  

Also Read: HP Health Dept Scam: Accused Director Granted Bail

The State Government led by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur might have ordered a probe into the scam but questions are being raised over the authenticity of these investigations as influential politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been linked to these scams.

Also Read: Official Suspended in ‘HP Secretariat Sanitizer Scam’

The opposition, some senior leaders of the ruling party, MLAs, and activists in the State are of the opinion that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is just another tool under the State Government. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is running the Health Ministry, and the sudden resignation of BJP Chief Rajeev Bindal after a week the scam came to light has already raised several questions.

Also Read: HP Health Dept Scam: There is More to It Than Just Alleged Bribery

The opposition Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have been expressing fears of biased investigations in which justice won’t be served. Both had been demanding transfer of the case to the State High Court. Congress has already submitted a memorandum regarding the same to the Governor. On June 3, 2020, Theog MLA Rakesh Singha with a delegation of CPI(M) also met the Governor with a demand of transferring the case to the State High Court for a fair probe.   

In its memorandum, the party said that there is prima facie evidence to establish the failure of the government to prevent corruption in the purchase of vital health equipment required to combat corona pandemic. 

Also Read: HP Health Dept Issues Clarification Over Alleged Irregularities in ‘Ventilator Purchase’

In the memorandum, the party cited several reasons to convince the Governor that the Vigilance Inquiry instituted by the HP Government is just an eye wash.

Following are the reasons/facts cited in the memorandum:

(Note: The below-given information has not been edited by Himachal Watcher and published as mentioned in the memorandum)

  1. The Vigilance investigation failed to take steps between 21.05.2020 and 25.05.2020 to siege relevant documents, question the possible chain of culprits, and take relevant persons in their custody when one of the accused Dr. AK Gupta was allowed admission in IGMC. In fact, it is with the tacit approval of the Vigilance that the accused was permitted to avoid investigation at the earliest point of time and opportunity was given to the “Medical Mafia” to destroy relevant evidence available. Political Powerful of the ruling party are remote controlling the Corruption Gangsters.
  2. It is indigestible that Mr. Prithvi Singh the Marketing Manager of Apex Diagnostics and Former President (SC Morcha) BJP, District Sirmour was not taken into custody under the provisions of Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption (Amended) Act 2018. He has been given preferential treatment for obvious reasons.
  3. The of the Vigilance team is determined to exonerate the accused, which is evident from the fact that by examination of the purchase of various items essential for dealing COVID19 pandemic would have unearthed another corruption deal of the 10 ventilators purchased by the Health Department. Which, as per the report of the Danik Jagran, the so-called ventilator were purchased for approximately Rupees Ten lacs each while the same ventilator cost approximately Rupees 3 lacs only. Had it not been for the vigilante media, this vital fact would also have been brushed under the carpet.

Moreover, historically the organ of Vigilance department has been used as a tool by successive governments:

(i) To dilute the obvious resentment of the people whenever corruption cases are brought to light by the media, by competing groups attempting to corner the fruits of corrupt practices, or unearthing corrupt deals by progressive forces in the society.

(ii) To shield the corrupt but at the same time create illusions amongst the people that the government is serious on the issue of corrupt practices and the culprits would not be spared.

“ You are also well aware under the era of crony capitalism the nexus of the corporate, bureaucracy and politicians needs to be smashed to save the system from a total collapse which is heading towards given the depth and intensity of the crises which is the visible world over,”

the memorandum stated.

Therefore, the party requested the Governor to intervene under the special  powers bestowed  on his honorable office  by the Constitution  of India to direct the government  on specific  issues i.e.:

  1. To direct the Government to hand over the corruption case of purchase of medical items and equipment (e.g. Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), sanitizers etc.) being investigated by the Himachal Pradesh Vigilance department to the Hon’ble High Court for appropriate directions as well as investigations.
  2. To direct the Himachal Pradesh Government to place all fund collections received by it for combating COVID-19 pandemic in the public domain by publishing a white paper.
  3. To advice the Government to constitute an Ethical Committee for approval of all medical equipment purchased for dealing with COVID-19 as mandated per the Medical Devices Rules, 2017 and abide by the guidelines of the Drug Controller General of India in relation to items which fall within its purview. The system should be placed to put all the details of purchases, tenders and stock be placed in the public domain, preferably on Government web site.

 

 

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Patwari Recruitment: High Court Dismisses Petition Alleging Irregularities in Holding Exam

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Himachal PRadesh Patwari Recruitment Cleared by High Court

Shimla-While hearing a petition, the State High Court, Himachal Pradesh, on June 3, 2020, cleared the State Government of allegations of irregularities in the recruitment of Patwaris.

More than three lakh candidates had applied for appearing in this examination and about three lakh candidates appeared in it for approximately 1200 vacancies.  As many as 1150 candidates passed the examination but the further process remained pending due to the petition.

On November 17, 2019, a written examination was conducted through various Deputy Commissioners in different districts. Some candidates challenged the recruitment of the Patwaris in the State High Court, alleging irregularities in the recruitment.

State Government filed a detailed reply on this appeal and stated that there was no irregularity. One of the candidates, who had challenged the appeal had not even appeared in the examination, the State Government said.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh and Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that on January 8, 2020, State High Court asked to further investigate the matter.  CBI filed a detailed investigation report in this regard on May 29, 2020. High Court observed that as per CBI’s report, nothing objectionable was about the conduction of the examination and selection process. The court then dismissed the petition.

“The leaders of the opposition were raising unnecessary hue and cry in this regard, which was completely baseless,”

said Mahender Singh and Suresh Bhardwaj in a joint statement.

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Kinnaur Reports Its First Two Cases, 10 Others Reported from Five Districts  

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 cases on June 3, 2020

Shimla– According to the daily COVID-19 bulletin (5:00 PM) released by the Health Department for June 3, 2020, 12 cases were reported from Kangra, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Shimla, Mandi, and Kinnaur district, taking tally for the Himachal Pradesh to 357.

Kinnaur entered the list of COVID-19 affected districts as it reported its first two cases – a man and his wife who had returned from Delhi. Their 10-year-old son also accompanied the parents during the travel but was tested negative.  They were under institutional quarantine. Now, Lahaul-Spiti is the only district where no case has been reported so far.

Kangra district reported four new cases. While Hamirpur reported two new cases, Bilaspur and Shimla reported one case each. Shimla reported its 10th case as a returnee from Delhi who belongs to Rampur tested positive. He was under institutional quarantine at a centre in Juri.

In Kangra district, the COVID-19 tally has reached 96 with four new cases. One of the persons, a resident of Golwan village in Fatehpur, was said to have no travel history, which has become a matter of worry for the district administration. Another person out of these four, who had returned from Delhi in an Air India flight, also tested positive. The Superintendent of Police, Vimukt Ranjan, has confirmed the report. Further, a girl from the Shahpur area was also tested positive. She had returned from Delhi in a Spice Jet flight. The fourth person had returned from Madhya Pradesh on May 27. He was identified as a resident of Fatehpur.

District-Wise COVID-19 Cases in Himachal Pradesh Till June 3, 2020 (5:00 PM)

Himachal Pradesh First COVID-19 cases in Kinnaur

Mandi also reported two cases in which 23-year-old and 26-year-old residents of Sundernagar testes positive for COVID-19.

In Hamirpur, two persons who had returned from Delhi and Chandigarh were tested positive. Both were under institutional quarantine. With these new cases, the total number has risen to 114 in Hamirpur, of which 74 are active.

In Bilaspur district, a 31-year-old tested positive. The person was identified as a resident of Solan, who was stopped at Bilaspur-Punjab border while he was returning from Delhi in his vehicle and was placed under institutional quarantine at Swarghat.

Further, eight patients – two in Una and six in Kangra district – have recovered. So far, 144 patients have recovered and 204 cases are still active. Result of 1061 samples sent for testing on Wednesday was awaited.  

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