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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.

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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