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Rs 250-cr Kol Dam water supply scheme for Shimla to ensure supply for another 100 years: HP Govt

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Kol Dam Himachal

SHIMLA- Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh yesterday said that Government had approved new lift water supply scheme for Shimla town amounting to Rs. 250 crore from Kol Dam. The State would take loan from Asian Development Bank or World Bank through the Government of India to complete this ambitious scheme. The scheme would solve the water problem of the town and its surrounding areas and would ensure regular water supply for another around 100 years.

The Chief Minister was addressing a public meeting at Ganj Bazar here after laying foundation stone of Sanatan Dharam Shala-cum- Multipurpose Hall to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore.

He said that the Shimla town was being beautified and various basic facilities were being developed to facilitate the local people as well as tourists. The Government was spending Rs. 150 crore on beautification of the town by financial assistance from Asian Development Bank besides its own resources. He said that Anaj and Sabzi Mandis would be shifted to some suitable place to decongest the Lower Bazar. He lauded the efforts of Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Shimla for its humanitarian initiatives.

Earlier, the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of new building of GSSS Sanjauli to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 10 crore. He directed to construct a playground on the top of the Sanjauli Car Parking to facilitate the children of the school and directed to complete the entire work in a stipulated time period by working in two shifts.

The Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of Multipurpose Stadium in Engine Ghar ward of the Sanjauli area to be developed by the Youth Services and Sports department at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.86 crore out of which Rs. 50 lakh had already been released. He announced to open a Primary Health Centre at Sanjauli and directed the authorities to find out some suitable place for construction of PHC building which would also have residential accommodation for its staff. He also directed for preparing a comprehensive plan to widen the roads in Sanjauli area besides constructing new roads and developing civic amenities.

He also laid foundation stone of new building of GSSS for girls, Lakkar Bazar which would be completed at a cost of Rs. 7.72 crore. He directed to improve the entrance, main gate and widen the path of the school. He thanked the H.P. Wakf Board for providing land on lease for construction of five storyed school building.

He also announced a sum of Rs. 1.5 lakh from his discretionary fund to the school children of GSSS Lakkar Bazar and Rs. 21,000 to children of GSSS Sanatan Dharam Ganj Bazar for promotion of cultural activities.

Chief Minister said that keeping in view the importance of education in the overall development of society, the State Government had accorded top priority for expansion of education sector. The Government had given emphasis on opening degree colleges in the remote and rural areas so as to benefit the youth in getting higher education nearer to their homes. Today the literacy rate of the State was one of the best and it would not have been possible without opening schools and colleges in rural areas.

He said that the strength of students was constantly going up in these colleges and particularly the girls have been most benefited as parents were not willing to send their daughters to far- off places for getting higher education.

CM also said that many educational institutes of repute like IIT and IIM have been opened in the State and added that the Government was strengthening the network of educational institutes.

Local MLA Suresh Bhardwaj thanked the Chief Minister for taking up various developmental projects for the Shimla town. He urged for taking necessary steps to develop Shimla city as Satellite city and to direct the Municipal Corporation Shimla for not charging extra billing on water besides unnecessary sewerage cess.

Vice Chairman, HP Tourism Development Corporation Harish Janaratha, Mayor Sanjay Chauhan, Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar, Chairperson State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Kiran Dhanta, and other prominent persons were also present on the occasion.

Photo: TNS

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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