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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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HIPA launches Online registration portal for trainees and to map digital literacy of officials handling online services

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HIPA Online Registration Portal for trainees

Shimla: On the 12th Civil Services Day, Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) today launched an online registration portal for registration and nomination of trainees.

The NIC has developed this portal for the Department of Training as the technical agency for facilitating the trainees.

HIPA has also developed an online registration platform for trainees to map digital literacy of the officials, who are handling the online services notified by the Department of Administration Reforms.

Other than this, an e-Newsletter named ‘Fairlawn Updates’ and the new issue of HIPA Journal were also released along with the compendium on RTI Act, 2005, and H.P. Public Services Guarantee Act – an initiative taken by the Department of Administration Reforms.

The digital services are expected to help departments to reduce footfall and deliver better services with transparency.

The Chief Minister, who was present on the occasion, appreciated the initiatives and also released the report on District Governance Indices, Department of Administrative Reforms.

jairam thakur releases hp district index

The report on H.P. District Governance Index 2017 has examined ten broad themes of governance, 26 focus subjects, and 82 specific variables to arrive at the findings, informed the Secretary, Administrative Reforms, Dr Purnima Chauhan.  

It will help in assessing the quality of governance in the districts through examination of the available data in about 50 aspects of governance and will be aggregated into a single scoring and ranking instrument, she further added.

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Himachal needs ropeways, sky buses, monorails as State has insufficient land: Govind Singh

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monorail in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: Transport Minister Govind Singh Thakur today participated in the meeting of Group of Ministers (Transport) held in Guwahati.

He presented the case of Himachal Pradesh on issues like taking preventive measures to check road accidents in hilly states, road safety, unification of taxes, provision of national permits for buses and uniformity in vehicle registration and driving license.

He said that despite tough topographical conditions, the state has been improving citizen services by use of modern technologies and special steps are being taken to minimize the road accidents.

 He said that considering the special conditions and insufficiency of land, there is need to develop alternative modes of transport like ropeways, sky buses etc. in Himachal.

 A Sub-Group was constituted under the chairmanship of Transport Minister of Assam Chander Mohan Patwari.

The Sub-Group would give its recommendations to the Group of Ministers in a stipulated time, which is not mentioned.

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Kangra: Miraculous escape for a family of 4 including 2 children

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Weird accident in Himachal PRadesh

Kangra: A storm yesterday hit some parts of Himachal Pradesh. However, in Kangra district’s Jwali constituency, it led to a horrid encounter which could have given a family of four including two children a gruesome death.

A couple with their two children was travelling in their Santro car when strong winds felled a Eucalyptus tree on the Jwali-Jasur road and fell on the moving car. As the car was in motion, the tree broke through the windshield to pierce through the car.  

car accident in Kangra

Pic: Punjab Kesari

The bewildering picture above describes the intensity of the impact.

However, in what can be said a miraculous event, only the husband, who was driving the car, sustained non-lethal injuries on the head while his wife and children were completely safe.

The injured was relieved from the Civil Hospital, Jwali, after receiving minor treatment.

The picture makes everyone wonder how it happened, and how all passengers survived it.

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