Connect with us

HW Community

Along with ecology, Shimla‘s traffic cops worst hit by vehicular emissions while apathy of HP Govt. and Police Department continue



SHIMLA- Before we began with our lecture on ecologically disastrous phase through which the capital city Shimla is going through, we would appeal people to watch the irony of traffic policemen on duty. We realize that these cops are victims of government apathy as they are worst hit by toxic vehicular emissions. They are exposed to it all day long, daily. Literally, does government have any idea that it’s toying with physical health of the traffic cops on Shimla roads?

The issue is not limited to just one bus or one HRTC bus. These cops spent their entire day on roads and are mocked at by variety of vehicles including private bus operations and transporters.

The Shimla Police SP, DW Negi, is equally apathetic to men under his command or may be, he is just too ignorant to understand the intensity of the issue. We are extremely sorry to say this but for such a responsible position in a city that is getting crowded and expanding day by day, the government must choose educated people with a little relation to scientific approach.


As we approached the HP Pollution Control Board, it put all the blame on Police Department and Transport Ministry. PCB said it doesn’t check vehicular emission and it’s entirely on the traffic police to keep a check on it. So, the PCB has nothing to do with air pollution caused by vehicular emission. That is very interesting for the pollution control board to say that.

When the complaints were repeatedly brought to the notice of GS Bali, the transport minister of Himachal Pradesh and HRTC, we received following response defending their inability to rectify the situation:


Both the minister and HRTC think we are following these buses for about two years for fun, inhaling all that emissions. They think, it’s our over-reaction and the situation is ok.

We would avoid criticizing the DSP traffic and the traffic cops – they are the victims. The bureaucracy in Himachal is extremely ignorant and lethargic. We wonder how Delhi Govt. managed to take so many steps to curb pollution, even connect every pollution-check centre a central server that is controlled by the government, and not by the centers. The certificate will be printed only after central servers receive actual data from pollution test. There have been so many other measures that the government has implemented in Delhi without a second thought, like temporary ban on sale of diesel SUVs, Odd-Even formula, replacing corporate cabs with dedicated CNG shuttle buses, huge fine on burning garbage in open, and so on.

In Himachal, despite National Green Tribunal’s ban on diesel and petrol including all commercial activities responsible for rising air pollution, the government denies that it has never taken any serious measures to curb air pollution. Rather, it says there is air pollution and that the decision of the NGT will be challenged in the Supreme Court. People think NGT is the villain here, depriving thousands of locals of their livelihood.

The NGT is not responsible for the loss of employment and businesses in Manali, NGT isn’t the villain here, but it is the government who was given repeated warnings, directions and time to frame policies to gradually handle the problem of rising emission.

The decision came after the HP state government failed to implement previous guidelines passed by NGT to introduce CNG buses for tourists. This harsh decision has now destroyed livelihood of a large number of private cab service providers and other small businesses dependent on tourism.

The Transport Minister had announced replacement of buses older than 10 years with new ones. The announcement to introduce electric buses was also made.

However, we wonder, why there is no measures to check visibly polluting vehicles (private & government). What’s government’s strategy to deal with pollution-check centres that are literally selling ‘OK’ certificate for Rs. 100, even less? What about maintenance of buses which are not as old as 10 years but are still visible spraying emissions? What about creating awareness among individual vehicle owners about their responsibility towards maintenance of ecological balance and effects of emissions? Where are we in terms of infrastructure for electric buses/CNG buses?

Although, we are more than sure that our ignorant representatives and highly irresponsible departments will ignore it with 100 percent commitment, like always, we would demand some action, formation of some comprehensive plan to check vehicular pollution in Himachal. Isn’t it what the government is supposed to do?

We would request our readers and citizens of Himachal to help us highlight rising vehicular pollution in different regions of Himachal due to neglect of government and individuals. If you come across any such visibly polluting vehicle or any practice that causes air pollution, please, do capture it and share it with us. We can’t reach every corner of Himachal, but we can connect to people who are willing to play a part in creating environmental awareness in the state.

You can write to us at editor [at]himachalwatercher[dot]com or connect with us on social media.

HW Community

Road in Mashobra Ward of SMC in tatters for last 10 years




Shimla: While the new Government of Himachal Pradesh claims that it has achieved all the targets it had set for the first 100 days, the ground reality doesn’t agree with it entirely.

As per the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Rs. 100 crores were sanctioned for repair and maintenance of roads, however, even the urban Shimla did not witness these repairs.

Some residents of Mashobra – Lower Dhalli Ward (Number 21) of the Shimla Municipal Corporation wrote to Himachal Watcher regarding the pathetic condition of the road in their locality algonwith pictures of the Mashobra market.  

The road has not been repaired from last 10 years. The problem of water-logging pertains from past 5 years, but the civic body did not attend to it, 

said one of the residents.

Bhartiya Janata Party’s Shalinder Chauhan has been elected for the second time as counsellor of the Ward. However, he made only promises to solve this problem, which were never fulfilled,

the resident further added.

Mashobra market

This road leads to famous tourist destinations like Talai, Carignano Nature Park along with government offices like the Regional Horticultural Research Station, Mashobra, and HP Panchayati Raj Training Institute.

Despite the frequent movement of government officials in this Ward, the road did not attract the attention of any single of them.

Several Ministers cross this road and, a few days back, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had organized a national level annual meeting near Talai, but the problem remains invisible to everyone except the locals,

a local youth told HW.

The pedestrians face daily trouble due to the large potholes, which turn into pools of water when it rains. Passing vehicles splash accumulated water on pedestrians. During sunny days, clouds of dust troubles the residents as well as shopkeepers and dhabs located in the market, the residents complained.   

The locals are forced to live in dust and mud for last 10 years, but the problems of the locals did not find a place in media, they further complained.

Continue Reading

HW Community

Busted: Hindi Daily exaggerated news about delay in handing over dead bodies of Nurpur accident victims




Tribute to Nurpur school bus accident

Kangra: “If it is published in a newspaper, then the news must be true,” most of the common readers believe.

Unfortunately, journalists do not deserve a blind faith of the people in a country like India where media houses are propelled by profits instead of motives. Journalists often exaggerate and sensationalize reports deliberately, which brings a bad name to the fraternity of journalists.

The most recent reference could be made to a news published by a Hindi Daily regarding the alleged politics over the dead bodies of 23 children who died in the tragic accident of a school bus on April 9, 2018, near Nurpur of Kangra district.

Nurpur School bus accident

Outside Nurpur Hospital on April 10

The Hindi Daily, in  a report published in its April 11 edition, had alleged the district administration of making unnecessary delay in handing over the dead bodies of the victims to their families. The motive, the report alleged, was that the Chief Minister could pay tribute to the bodies as part of a political stunt.

The report went on saying that the bodies of some of the victims, which were already handed over to the families on April 9, were also brought back. The parents kept asking for the bodies while the district administration and a local MLA told them to wait for the arrival of the Chief Minister, the Daily had reported.

It sounds like the cheapest of political stunts. Doesn’t it?

The Chief Minister and the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra, Sandeep Sharma, faced severe criticism after the news was published by the Daily.

pyres of nurpur school bus accident

Pyres of the victims

However, not all the information fed by the reporter of the Daily was factually correct.

Himachal Watcher’s credible friends in media, who were present at the hospital, revealed that there might have been some delay but no dead body was brought back.  The Daily blew the news out of proportion,  we were told.

I was right there outside the mortuary with other reporters and correspondents of news agencies to cover the story. No body was handed over to any of the families on April 9, so there is no question of bringing them back,

a journalist told Himachal Watcher.

Most of the reporters had left the hospital by 10:00 PM, but we stayed there for a while. The gates of the mortuary were locked at about 12:00 PM and no one was allowed to enter thereafter. Therefore, it was a sheer lie, 

the journalist said. 

We also consulted other journalists, who agreed that the news was indeed blown out of proportion.

Such irresponsible and sensational reporting defames the media fraternity, especially the responsible journalists, 

said one of the media persons expressing disappointment with the reporter of the Daily.

The Daily is trying to cover up the matter but the inconsistency in the facts in its follow-up stories is clearly visible.  

The DC, Kangra, on April 12 had issued a press statement terming the news as a misleading one, which turned out to be true. 

The news not only defamed the Chief Minister but also shook the little faith that common men still have in the government and local administration. The newspaper cutting of the Daily did rounds of social media and attracted the wrath of the people.

The message is clear; there is no space for blind trust on media. We need to be careful while going through such sensitive news.

I have just one request to those people who started to share the news clipping on social media. First, try to cross check the facts before opening critical attack on such sensitive matters. It is not about defaming the government but of humanity,

a journalist associated with an English Daily said.   

It was a total breach of trust of the readers as well as those who came across it on social media. 

Continue Reading

HW Community

CM Thakur, BJP ridiculed for alleged politics of ‘paying tribute’ to Nurpur accident victims




Politics over Nurpur school bus accident

Kangra: The new Government of Himachal Pradesh and the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur were ridiculed for allegedly playing “politics of paying tribute” over the dead bodies of 23 children killed in the school bus accident near Nurpur in Kangra on April 9, 2018.

The Chief Minister also faced the wrath of the public on social media. The people termed it as the “most degraded level” of politics that the nation has ever witnessed.

This widespread criticism compelled the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra, Sandeep Kumar and the local MLA Rakesh Pathania to come out in their defence. The DC on April 12 released a media statement in which he refuted the allegations labelled against them regarding the deliberate delay in handing over the dead bodies deceased children

The DC termed it as an act of irresponsible reporting. The local MLA Rakesh Pathania also came out with an explanation and said that it was decided to transport all the bodies together to avoid inconvenience due to crowdedness.

However, the Daily, in its April 13 edition, has produced a statement of an aggrieved family member and stood by its report.

politics over Nurpur school bus tragedy

Report from Dainik Bhaskar’s April 13 Edition

As per the daily, Gulshan, a resident of Chamba, alleged that everytime the parents asked for the body, they were told to wait for the Chief Minister’s arrival.

Meanwhile, a video of Gulshan repeating his statement has also appeared on the social media. 

It is an illogical explanation of the administration that the parents of the children were not available early morning, the Daily said. All the parents had rushed to the hospital on the evening the accident took place. They waited till morning at the hospital, added the report.

In its April 11 edition, the Daily had alleged the district administration and Pathania of keeping the parents of the victims waiting for about three hours to claim the bodies.

It was further alleged by the Daily that the bodies which already handed over to the parents were also brought back so that the Chief Minister and the Union Minister JP Nadda could perform a political drama of paying tribute to the victims.

A stage was set and mike was installed for the Chief Minister, the report alleged.

As per the report, the post-mortems of the victims including four adults were completed between 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM on April 10. However, the parents were told that the Chief Minister will be arriving to distribute the cheques of the relief money, alleged the report.

When the Union Minister Nadda was asked about the incident, he denied having any knowledge regarding the delay. He said the local administration and the MLA were responsible for all the arrangement.

While the mourning parents had lined up outside the mortuary to claim the bodies, they were made to wait until the Chief Minister and Union Minister arrived at 10:30.

The daily also alleged that the DC, Kangra, and local MLA Rakes Pathania were seen directing the staff regarding Chief Minister’s reception. While there were only two nurses to look after four survived children during the previous night, all the staff along with the district administration swarmed upon next morning to receive the Chief Minister.

However, on April 12, the DC issued a press statement terming the news as false and misleading one. He said an elaborate inquiry was conducted and it was found that no delay was made deliberately. He claimed that the post-mortems were completed at 10:30 AM, and not at 7:30 AM, as alleged by the Daily.

Opposed to the allegation, the DC further claimed that no post-mortem was conducted on April 9. He said as per the rules a post-mortem should be conducted in daylight, therefore, it was not possible to hand over the bodies to the parents on April 9.

The post-mortems were conducted in the morning only in the presence of the parents and they were not available on the evening the accident took place, the DC claimed.

However, the DC did not say anything regarding legal action against the Daily for publishing such defamatory news. 

If the report was, in fact, misleading, then we will be soon reading an apology published in the same Daily or a legal action by the administration. If none of the two situations appears, then it would suggest the ugly allegations made in the report were true.  

Continue Reading