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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.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 69 New COVID-19 Cases Including 27 from Solan, 10 from Shimla

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Shimla-The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday crossed the 2700 mark with the appearance of 69 new cases. These cases include two policeman, army personals, migrant labourers and some other locals.The number of active cases has now risen to 1115.

According to the State Health Department, Solan reported the highest 27 cases. Majority of these include workers in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area and contacts of COVID-19 positive persons. Most of these 27 persons weren’t quarantined, which is a matter of concern.

The capital Shimla reported 10 cases, of which five were said to be migrant labourers in Rampur. Shimla city reported three cases including an employee of the General Post Office, Shimla. What’s worrying about this case is the fact that the sample of this woman was taken in flu OPD after she visited the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla. The woman has been mobile and used public transport too. Her travel history is yet to be traced. The CMO, Shimla, Surekha Chopra confirmed the report. There was no report regarding the sealing of the GPO or other places the woman had visited. But her residence at crowded Sanjauli locality was sealed. Two other cases were reported from Kasumpti and Bharari areas. Details regarding the remaining two were awaited. The COVID-19 case tally of Shimla has now reached 178 with two deaths.

Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (8), Chamba (4), Hamirpur (6), Mandi (11), Sirmaur (1), and Bilaspur (2).

So far, Solan has reported the highest 690 confirmed cases, followed by Kangra (476), Sirmaur (346), Hamirpur (313), Una (217), Shimla (178), Mandi (183), Bilaspur (101), Kinnaur (45), Kullu (37), and Lahaul-Spit (4).

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin August 2, 2020 (9PM)

 New cases in Shimla

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios Re-shuffle – Reward to Loyalists, Warning to Dissenting Voices Within Party

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Shimla: The portfolios of Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers were re-shuffled extensively along with the induction of three new Ministers – Rakesh Pathania, Sukh Ram, and Rajinder Garg. Newly inducted Ministers in the HP Cabinet had taken the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan on July 30, 2020. 

Sukh Ram Chaudhary, MLA from Paonta Sahib Assembly constituency, Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur, and Rajinder Garg of Ghumarwin constituency took oath as Cabinet Minister.

While the shuffle is being justified by claiming that it was a punishment for not performing well, this opportunity has also been used to discourage dissent within the party and reward loyalists. Earlier governments have also re-shuffled portfolios during their reign, but not upto the extent it has been done this time.

Also Read: HP Cabinet’s Three Newly Inducted Ministers Take Oath

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur was heard warning ministers earlier regarding the possible changes, but the possible resentment did not allow it. However, the opportunity to fill up all positions in the Cabinet has also been used to re-shuffle portfolios of other ministers as well.

The Ministries of  Education, Forest, Health & Family Welfare, and Transport are some of the most important portfolios which have been shuffled. Further, the Chief Minister has decided to retain other important portfolios and all others that are not allocated to anyone.

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios After Re-shuffle

Name

Ministry 

Departments 

Jairam Thakur Chief Minister Finance, General Administration, Home, Planning, Personnel, Public Works Department, Tourism, Excise & Taxation, All other departments not alloted to any other minister.
Mahender Singh Thakur Jal Shakti Minister Jal Shakti, Revenue, Horticulture, Sainik Welfare
Suresh Bhardwaj Urban Development Minister Urban Development, Town &Country Planning, Housing, Parliamentary Affairs, law & Legal Remembrance, Co-operation
Sarveen Chaudhary Social Justice & Empowerment   Social Justice & empowerment
Ram Lal markanda Technical Education Minister Technical Education, Vocational & Industrial Training, Tribal Development, Information Technology, Redressal ofPulbic Grievances
Virender kanwar Rural Development & panchayati Raj Minister Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries
Biram Singh Industries Minister Industries, Transport, Labour & Employment
Govind Singh Thakur Education Minister Higher Education, Elementary Education, Language, Art & Culture
Rajiv Saizal Health & Family Welfare Minister Health & Family Welfare, Ayurveda
Sukh Ram MPP & Power Minister MPP & Power, Non-Conventional Energy Sources
Rakesh Pathania Forest Minister Forest, Youth Services & Sports
Rajinder Garg Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Printing & Stationary

 

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