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Infuriated Shimla Mayor calls Smart City evaluation formula ridiculous, alleges Mission Director of partism mind set

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Shimla Mayor Files FIR against

SHIMLA- In press note, the Mayor of Shimla city said that he was shocked to note some of the reports that appeared in the press regarding Dharamshala being chosen for Smart City from Himachal Pradesh. The qualification for Dharamshala has only come after evaluation by Mission Director and her staff, who are not final authority. He also alleged that the minutes of HPSC have still not been confirmed, therefore, he has raised objection. He also said that as far as the evaluation done by Mission Director it seems they have not learnt any lessons from the past and continue to work with partism mind set. The entire exercise by Mission Director is being done in a slavish manner at the behest of UD Minister, he said.

Based on the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) participation in the Smart City HPSC meeting held on January 7, 2016, the Mayor asserts on the following points:

1) The severe indictment of the Department has come to the fore of fudging the data in past which they have admitted by bringing in a new consolidated Smart City Score for both Shimla and Dharamshala. This amply proves that there has been serious partism functioning on the part of the department as both the score sheets of the past and present does not match. What does it prove?

2) The UD department led by the Mission Director in strong abatement with the Minister have come up with their own imaginative score sheet placing percentile instead of points. What does this mean? According to the Departments evaluation excel with all their concoctions, Shimla score 77 points (though the actual figure is 85) and Dharamshala scores 72.5 (Actual score is 32.5). However, with their own imaginative formula Shimla gets score out of 100 and were as Dharamshala gets score out of 80, which leads to a percentile of 77.5 and 90% for Shimla and Dharamshala respectively. This is utterly ridiculous; firstly this was never brought to the discussion prior to the evaluation and completely contradicts to the guidelines of evaluation format under stage 1.

3) Even if there ridiculous formula is to be accepted, but the actual data and not fudged data (32.5) is to be considered then they score 40.6%, which is nearly half which Shimla scores.

4) He strongly condemned the hell bent attitude of the Mission Director and in case the HPSC to recommends the same evaluation criteria then MC Shimla will be left with no other option but to resort to a legal solution. This is what MC Shimla has to speak on the merits of Smart city score card evaluation.

During the meeting following observations were raised by the Mayor:

1. Total Scoring Pattern
He pointed out that why now the scoring for Dharamshala town is taken from 80, this means that ACS UD and her team have not paid any attention for conducting evaluation earlier and she has just nominated city wrongly and in pressure from Government. It was also agreed by ACS UD that earlier they have made fallacious evaluation.

2. JNNURM Reforms
Dharamshala city has not done any single reform as per UIDSSMT reforms, then how come Dharamshala assigned 10 marks against this earlier. Similarly now why this parameter was not taken for final scoring. Dharamshala is an UIDSSMT town and as per the guidelines of UIDSSMT, Dharamshala has to achieve all the six reforms such as i) Adoption of modern, accrual-based double entry system, ii) Introduction of system of e-governance using IT applications for various services iii) reform of property tax with GIS, so that it becomes major source of revenue for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) iv) Levy of reasonable user charges by ULBs/Para-statals with the objective that full cost of operation and maintenance or recurring cost v) Internal earmarking within local body, budgets for basic services to the urban poor vi) Provision of basic services to urban poor.

Whereas Dharamshala town has not done any single reform which was also supported and agreed by Commissioner Dharamshala town. When the Commissioner Dharamshala was questioned regarding Double entry accounting system, he replied that they are now starting to implement. Similarly Shimla has completed all the reforms which was agreed by the members of Committee.

3. Self Financing of Salaries
Commissioner Dharamshala submitted that they pay their staff salaries from the grants, however as per the parameter of scoring salaries are to be paid by own source of ULB. However, evaluation committee which only comprises ACS UD and Director UD have given full marks. Hon’ble Mayor objected and mentioned that since the salaries are not paid by their own income the marks of Dharamshala town should be 0. The evaluation committee has not adhered to the criteria given in the score card, which justifies their interest for promoting Dharamshala town.

4. Contribution of internal revenue sources ((self-generated) used for capital works
How can Dharamshala MC spend more than 20% of their own revenue on capital works when there revenue is equal to their salaries? Total salary of Dharamshala MC per month is Rs 22.60 lakhs as per the given figures, and total revenue of MC Dharamshala is Rs. 2.74 crore. This means that entire revenue gets exhausted for disbursement of salary of Rs 2.71 crore.

Further, how Dharamshala city can justify utilisation of its funds for capital expenditure. Similarly if they are utilizing the revenue for capital expenditure, than how the Dharamshala MC is self financing its salaries. They are only left with Rs. 3 lakhs as per there revenue statement. Hence the ACS UD and Director UD have not made serious thoughts while evaluating. The total score of Dharamshala MC for this parameter is also 0.

5. Other Points raised

1. The Mayor requested to the Committee to show supporting documents of Dharamshala town. However, Dharamshala Municipal town and ACS UD had no document to produce against the parameters defined in score card, which showed that the marks are given in whims and fancies for promoting Dharamshala town.
2.
Similarly Shimla city had all substantiate documents against all the parameters, the copies of same were also supplied to the committee.

This clearly indicated that ACS UD has simply promoted city for her own interests, he said.

3. With dissatisfaction from the scoring and evaluation including no supporting documents from Dharamshala city, he submitted the score card of Dharamshala town to the Steering Committee which showed the actual evaluation of Dharamshala MC. The total score of Dhramshala as per actual scoring is 32.5 out of 100 and Shimla MC is 85 out of 100.

4. The evaluation committee even after the directions from Hon’ble High Court has not undertaken the exercise seriously and the entire exercise is again done for formality. The evaluation is done in non transparent manner concealing the actual facts. The Committee was required to evaluate based on guidelines and score Card, the committee has not given any heed to read the score card and its parameters carefully.

5. In light of this, he requested the Committee for fair evaluation and insisted that there has to be reason why only Dharamshala town is selected for Smart city. Whereas if Dharamshala can qualify than any other town in Himachal such as Rampur, Kullu, Mandi, Talai, Solan etc qualify equally. He insisted that Committee should give serious thoughts to his suggestion.

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Shimla Police Nabs Escaped Murder Accused from Tara Devi Forest After Two Days

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escaped accused from shimla captured

Shimla Police has nabbed the undertrial accused of murder who had escaped from the custody of policemen on Wednesday. The accused was re-captured from the forests near the Tara Devi temple after a search operation of two days. The teams of police used drone cameras and search dogs in this search operation.

On November 17, 2021, Dadi Ram aka Sagar (37) – a Nepalese who was booked for the rape and murder of his mother-in-law on July 31, 2020, in Theog, Shimla district, and was kept at the Model Central Jail Kanda – had ditched two policemen near Tavi mod (curve) while he was being taken to the court for a hearing. He had jumped down the forest and was at large since then.

CCTV footage from a nearby building had also appeared in which the accused was seen escaping the custody of policemen. The incident had drawn flak for the Shimla Police, and several questions were raised on the working of the police. The people raised various questions; like why a murder accused was not handcuffed? Why the police didn’t use a vehicle to take him to court?

According to the district police, after the accused escaped, teams of police from Boileauganj and other concerned police stations were formed and deployed in re-capturing him. The teams also included jawans from the 6th India Reserve Battalion and Rapid Action Force. Alongwith search operations in Forests around Taradevi and Shoghi, checking of buses and vehicles at barriers and trains was also conducted regularly.

As per the police, on November 19, 2021, the accused was spotted in the forest near Tara Devi through a drone camera. The teams of police cordoned the forest and searched for the accused. Eventually, the teams succeeded in capturing the accused. He has been brought to the Boileauganj police station.  

 

 

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Negligence of HP University in Mark-Sheet Evaluation Allegedly Costs One Year Loss to Student, HC Issues Notice to Varsity on PIL

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HP University pil in high court

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh University is again in the news after a student of Government College, Hamirpur, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the State High Court alleging loss of one year to his career due to negligence of the varsity in evaluating his answer sheet.

It’s pertinent to mention that, varsity administration, especially Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikandar Kumar, is already under fire for allegedly tweaking rules to allow admission of his ward and wards of a couple of other officials to PhD by bypassing mandatory entrance exams/NET/JRF.

In the current case, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina issued notices to the Registrar and the Controller of Examination of  HP University, Shimla.

As per the petitioner, Keshav Singh, he was a student of B.Sc (Maths) in the Government College, Hamirpur, for the session 2017-2020. He appeared in the examination for the 5th semester in November 2019.  In February 2020, he appeared in IIT Jam and scored 40.33 marks out of 100 and became eligible to get admission in M.Sc(PG Course) NIT.

However, in June 2020, the results of the 5th semester were declared and he was given only 5 marks out of 70 in one of the subjects, due to which he could not get admission to the NIT.  He has further said that he had a good academic record and attempted most of the questions in this exam. He applied for rechecking of his paper.  After re-checking, 42 marks were enhanced and he scored 47 marks in that subject. But the re-evaluation result was declared after counselling for the M.Sc. By that time, all the seats were filled up and he couldn’t get an admission.

Though he again cleared the exam for  IIT Jam, 2021, the student alleged that the mental harassment and mental distress he faced was irreparable. He lost one year during the era of this cut-throat competition and thousands of people overtook him, he said. He also alleged that due to negligence of the respondent University, he remained deprived of investing his one year for making his career bright as he could not attend any counselling of IIT/NIT JAM and could not fill up any forms for any competitive exam. For this loss,  the varsity is liable to pay compensation to him, he pleaded.

The petitioner has prayed in the court to direct the respondents to pay him adequate compensation and to adopt a fair and proper manner of checking the answer sheets so that in the future no one faces the same situation as has been faced by him.

The HP High Court directed the respondents (varsity) to file their reply within three weeks and posted the matter for December 8, 2021.

 

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The Himalayan Expedition “Silk Route – Chapter Hatu” Trek & Run Competition Concludes Successfully

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himalayan silk route trekking and run

Shimla-As a joint venture, ‘The Himalayan Expedition Silk Route’ – a new trek and run competition- was organized at Narkanda, Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh on 14th, November 2021. Organized by Adventure North, Kawasaki Advertisers, Deodar Cottage, and Homeland Himalaya; the inaugural event was entitled ‘Chapter Hatu’. During this first trek, the participants had to trek 4.5 km uphill to the Hatu Peak – at an altitude of 3400 meters. Followed by a downhill trek of 9 km for the Adventure category.

However, the competitive runners, including two girl athletes, had to run another 14 km to Khadarala to complete the race.

A total of 31 people, from children aged 8-years-old to senior citizens, participated in the inaugural leg.

hatu trek competition

The event was flagged off from the Sili Kandli at 8:19 am.

The race was organized in two categories; “Adventure” for the trekking enthusiasts and the “Competitive” category for the endurance challengers.

himalayan silk route chapter hatu

Along the entire route, 13 teams were available at hydration desks placed at every two kilometers. Also, a well-equipped ambulance with a medic team of three, including a female, was in place.

Rahul Beakta of Theog, Shimla, won the competition by completing 26.5 km in 2 hours 56 minutes. He was followed by Bappan, Shimla, and Captain Vineet Sharma, Kathlee Ghat. The entire competitive and adventure leg was completed successfully, without any injury.

winners of silk route trekking

“It was the first promotional event for a trek and run of 300 km to scale the old ‘Silk Route from Narkanda to Namgia (near China border)’ with a minimal carbon footprint. We plan the second chapter with an additional 60 km in 2022,” the organizers informed.

“This marathon goes through the apple belt of the mid-Sutlej region all along the silk route to Shipki La. Be a part of this heritage and run along the paths and trails of this lost era, ‘The Silk Route’, which has lost its prominence in the modern world, the organizers further added.

The second leg of The Himalaya Expedition is scheduled for October 2022.

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