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Shimla jaundice outbreak : Blame game after thousands hospitalised, 7 dead

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SHIMLA-  The recent outbreak of jaundice in the State capital that resulted in the hospitalisation of thousands with hepatitis-E cases and the subsequent downplaying of the epidemic by the Congress-led government has snowballed into a game of passing the buck from one department or ministry to another with varied political interests.

While the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of the local Municipal Corporation belong to the CPI(M), the majority of the councillors represent the BJP and the Congress. The Shimla MLA also belongs to the BJP.

The entire water sources of the State are managed by the Irrigation and Public Health Department, while the distribution of water is handled by the Municipal Corporation. The blame game started after drinking water from Ashwani Khad was contaminated by leaking sewage water from one of the sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the town. This drinking water source caters to a large section of the population in the eastern areas of the town.

After shifting the responsibilities from one department to another, cabinet ministers also started issuing contradictory statements against each other on water supply and sewage system in the town.

The Urban Development Minister has clearly stated that the STPs being run by the IPH department are redundant, ill-planned and non-functional claimed both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor.

They also termed as “ridiculous” the Urban Development Minister’s allegation that the Shimla Municipal Corporation “did not prepare” any plan to resolve the problem of potable water and sewerage system.

Whereas, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Mission and the State Level Implementation Plans (SLIPS) prepared by the Corporation, the sum earmarked for the purpose is Rs. 52.94 crore for 2015-16, including Rs. 46.28 crore for Water and Sewerage schemes alone, which amounts to 93 percent of the total amount till March, 2016, they said.

The Government of India had released Rs. 15.58 crore for the purpose, but, surprisingly, the money lies with the State government and has not been released to the MC as per the AMRUT guidelines, they alleged.

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor urged the Urban Development Minister to question the IPH minister about the “ill-maintenance and inefficient running” of the STPs, instead of the Corporation. The State government has already withdrawn the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) project from the MC, giving it to the IPH department. However, in a letter written to the Chief Minister, IPH minister Vidya Stokes said the ministry has not received any sanctions for running the project.

The Minister also said the sewage system was run by the Municipal Corporation and that only one-third of the households were connected to a proper system. The government has failed in managing the sewage connections and this water goes to the drinking water sources.

Ms Stokes has demanded that funds released by the Urban Development Ministry be transferred to the IPH department from the Corporation

Expressing surprise at the conflicting statements, the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor have called for the Chief Minister’s intervention for supply of clean potable water for the public. They have also lodged an FIR against erring contractors of the IPH department. About a dozen IPH officials are already behind bars for supplying contaminated water to residents in the State capital.

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Shimla, Manali Receive Season’s First Spell of Snow, Cheers Tourism Industry

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Shimla-First spell of snow in Shimla’s tourist destinations, Narkanda and Kufri, has cheered the tourism industry as it would increase the footfall of tourists. Similarly, higher parts of Manali also reported a light spell of snow on Sunday evening. Lahaul-Spiti, however, reportedly witnessed heavy snowfall and Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, was closed for traffic. Parts of the Kinnaur district also recorded a spell of snow.

Chopal in Shimla had received 2-3 inches of snow, while Dodra Kwar recorded one foot of snow, according to the Met Department.

In Kullu, Jalori Pass had received 3 inches of snow, Rohtang top 2.5 feet, and Atal Tunnel 1.5 feet.

In Lahaul-Spiti, Koksar/Sissu had recorded 18 inches of snow, Keylong 8 inches, Darcha 12 inches, Udaipur 4 inches, Tindi 2 inches, Kaza 1 inch, and Lossar 2 inches of snow.

In Kinnaur, Chitkul had recorded 15.4 cms of snow, Kalpa 5 cms, and Sangla 7.62 cms. Nichar also received a light spell.

This change in weather has triggered a cold wave across the state. Further, the Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department had issued a yellow alert for December 5, 2021. The Met has predicted rain and snow on December 6 too. While the weather is predicted to be dry on December 8, the state could witness more rain and snow on December 7 and December 9, according to the Met Department.

Most roads, except in Lahaul-Spiti, remain open to traffic movement, the district administrations of Shimla and Kullu confirmed. Further, the administrations said preparations are being made to keep the roads clear in case of heavy snowfall.

This tourist season is crucial for the hospitality industry which was worst hit by the pandemic induced restrictions. However, the entry of Omicron – the new variant of Covid-19 that has been termed as a variant of concern by the WHO-haunts the season. India had reported as many as 21 cases of Omicron till Sunday. If the HP Government decides to impose restrictions on the entry of the domestic tourist in view of the spread of the new variant, the hospitality industry could again face losses.  

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Himachal Achieves 100% Vaccination Target, OPD at AIIMS, Bilaspur, Inaugurated   

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh has achieved the 100 percent target of the second dose of Covid vaccination, the State government informed on Sunday.  Himachal Pradesh has become the first State of the country in achieving the target of cent per cent vaccination of targeted eligible age group, it informed.  

According to the HP Government, all eligible 53,86,393 adults have been administered the second dose of the vaccine.

District-Wise Vaccination Details

District

Number of People Vaccinated 

Bilaspur  318150
Chamba 352605
Hamirpur 361954
Kangra 1140439
Kinnaur 68460
Kullu 322643
Lahaul-Spiti 25494
Mandi 738818
Shimla 634019
Sirmaru 410187
Solan 584326
Una 429298

A complete vaccination was performed first in the inaccessible areas and tribal areas of the state and Kinnaur district became the first district in the entire country to administer the second dose of the vaccine to all eligible adults, the government informed.

On this occasion, Jagat Prakash Nadda, the Member of Parliament and National BJP President, also addressed a felicitation ceremony of Covid Vaccination Workers at Bilaspur on Sunday.

Nadda also dedicated the first OPD at AIIMS Kothipura in Bilaspur. The AIIMS Bilaspur would be made fully functional within the next six months, said Nadda.

 

jp nadda at aiims bilaspur

JP Nadda at AIIMS Bilaspur

He said that the foundation stone of this institution was laid about three years back and it would have been completed a year ago, but the pace was affected due to the corona pandemic. He said that Himachal Pradesh has got an Rs. 500 crore Satellite centre of PGI Chandigarh at Una.

He also congratulated the State Government, doctors, health care workers and all the frontline workers for achieving this unique feat. 

Union Minister of Health, Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh were also present on the occasion

 

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Himachal Records Fresh Spell of Snow, HP Met Issues Alert

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Shimla-The weather in Himachal Pradesh has taken a turn with a prediction of rain and snowfall till December 5, 2021. At the time of writing this report, Kaza in Lahaul-Spiti was receiving a fresh spell of snow, cheering the tourists, as well as, the hoteliers. So far, the traffic movement was normal in the region.

This has caused a sharp drop in temperatures across the state.

The District Administration of Lahaul-Spiti has advised the locals and tourists to avoid wandering to high altitude areas unnecessarily.

The HP Meteorological Department, Shimla, has also issued a yellow alert for December 2 and December 5. While the plains can experience light to moderate rainfall at a few places,  the middle and higher hills could witness widespread rain and snow on December 2.   

For December 4, the HP Met had predicted light to moderate rain across the state. For December 5, however, the Met has issued an yellow alert with a prediction of rain and snow at several places.

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