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HP Govt Cabinet decisions: Separate ring-fenced Water Supply and Sewerage Circle for Shimla

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HP-Govt-Cabinet

Decides to create Greater Shimla Water Supply & Sewerage Circle,Nod to Government Degree Colleges at Majheen in Kangra District & Govt. College at Kotli in Mandi,About 580 posts to be filled

SHIMLA- The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet in its meeting held on June 22 decided to create a separate ring-fenced Water Supply and Sewerage Circle to be headed by Superintending Engineer (IPH), with a separate name ‘Greater Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Circle’ (GWS & SC), having separate account, under the Municipal Corporation, Shimla for delivery of all integrated services related to supply of water and sewerage disposal.

A Technical Monitoring Group (TMG) will be headed by the Chief Secretary, as its Chairman besides Secretary IPH as Member Secretary with other 10 members.

The meeting was presided over by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

The Greater Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage System will be amalgamation of the existing structure available with Municipal Corporation Shimla and the IPH Water Supply & Sewerage Circle Shimla. The SE (IPH) of GWS & SC will be on secondment basis along-with his required staff to the MC.

The Circle will have two divisions viz: Water Production and Sewerage Treatment and Water Distribution and Sewerage Network.

The Health Officer of the corporation would be in-charge of the water quality monitoring and surveillance and would control the water testing labs being transferred by IPH to MC Shimla.

A MoU would be signed between State Government and MC Shimla. The World Bank Identification Mission during its recent visit of Shimla in June, 2016

had also agreed that the IPH Department will hire services of a sector specialist to draft the MoU /service agreement between the MC and the IPH for ring-fenced WSS services to be established at the MC Shimla.

The Cabinet approved enhancement of the rates of honorarium to the office bearers and staff of Panchayati Raj Institutions as per budget announcement for the year 2016-17. The Members of Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samitis will be paid honorarium at enhanced rate of Rs. 3500 and Rs. 3000 per month respectively.

The Cabinet approved to convert more than 663 Takniki Sahayaks who have put in ten years of regular service, as daily wagers. It was also decided to re-name the Panchayat Sahayaks who have completed six years of contractual services as to Panchayat Secretaries (on contract). It decided to regularize in Zila Parishad cadre, the services of as many as 165 contractual Panchayat Secretaries, who have completed five years regular services on 31-03-2016.

The Cabinet approved to set up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of Smart City Mission at Dharamshala. The main reason for the creation of SPV for the Smart City Mission is to ensure operational independence and autonomy in decision making and mission implementation.

The SPV will approve and sanction the projects and will execute the Smart City proposals and mobilize the sources. It will have a Governing Body for taking all major policy decisions with Divisional Commissioner, Kangra as its Chairman or any other person authorized by the State Government including one nominee from Government of India besides Mayor and Deputy Mayor and others.

The SPV at the city-level will be a limited company incorporated under the Companies. Act, 2013 at the City level, in which the State and the ULB will be the promoters having 50:50 equity share-holding.

HEALTH SECTOR

The Cabinet decided to take over ESIC Medical College and Hospital Ner Chowk in district Mandi by accepting the terms and conditions of the agreement. The Government will reimburse the interest free balance liability of Rs. 285.83 crore in five installments.

The Cabinet accorded approval for opening Health Sub Centre (HSC) at Yangpa-II in district Kinnaur.

It also approved to open Primary Health Centre at Chhitkul and Nigulsari in Kinnaur district.

Approval was accorded to open Health Sub Centers at Village Deothi Majhgaon and Village Taali Bhujjal in Sirmour district and also opening of HSC at Chnaal Mazra in Solan district.

EDUCATION SECTOR

The Cabinet decided to open new Government Degree College at Majheen in Kangra district along-with creating and filling up of as many as 18 posts of different categories on contract basis. It also approved Govt. College at Kotli in Mandi.

It decided to open new Block Primary Education Office at Ransar (Jangla) in Shimla district and approval was given to open new Primary School at village Ropa in Banjar and at Phalyani in Kullu.

In view to strengthen the Directorate of Technical Education, the Cabinet gave its node to re-designated existing one post of Head of Department (CCDC) as Deputy Director (TE), One post of Deputy Director (TE) to be created and four posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) to be created/filled up on contract basis.

The Decision was taken to establish Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology at Balla Kharot (Parour) in Kangra district.

POSTS CREATED/FILLED

The Cabinet gave its approval to fill up 244 posts of Assistant Professors (College Cadre) on contract basis, and also for creation of posts of Music Teachers in all colleges of the State.

It approved to fill up 159 posts of Supervisors in Social Justice and Empowerment Department on contract basis.

Approval was give to fill up 24 posts of Clerk in Transport Department on contract basis.

The decision was also taken to keep 18 Data Entry Operators on outsource basis in Transport Department.

It approved for creation and filling up twenty posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in CSK HP Agriculture University Palampur on contract basis. and to create 17 posts of various categories in HP Vidhan Sabha.

It approved to create ten posts of Law Officers (English) in HP Secretariat, to filling eight vacant posts of Junior Scale Stenographers on secondment basis from amongst eligible Steno Typist of various Departments.

It approved to create and fill up 12 posts of District Coordinators and 12 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on outsources basis in Social Justice and Empowerment Department. It also approved to fill up ten posts of Mali/Beldar on daily wage basis in Sericulture wing of the Industries Department.

The Cabinet approved to fill up six posts of different category in fisheries department and six posts of different categories reserved for the Ex-servicemen and one post of Dark Room Attendant in Printing and Stationary Department on contract basis. The Cabinet approved filling up of six vacant posts of Drivers on Daily Wage basis in State Vigilance & Anti Corruption Bureau.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fill four posts of Tehsil Welfare Officers on contract basis through Direct Recruitment on contract basis in Social Justice and Empowerment Department.

The approval was gven to fill up four posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in HIPA, four posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) and One post of Driver in Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission.

The Cabinet approved to create and fill two posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in Local Account and Audit Department. Approval was accorded to create and fill up one post of Assistant Programmer (IT) in Treasuries, Accounts and Lottery, two posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis and nine posts of Part-time Sweeper in Social Justice and Empowerment Department.

The approval was accorded to create one post of DIG in the Department of Prisons & Correctional Services, to fill one post of Assistant Director (Chemistry/Toxicology Division) in Regional Forensic Science Laboratory, Dharamshala and to fill one vacant post of Craft Teacher in Institute for Children with Special Abilities, Sundernagar, one post of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in HP State Women Commission.

It approved creation of one post of Driver in the office of Advocate General and to fill one post of Junior Scale Stenographer in the office of District Attorney Kinnaur at Rampur.

OTHER DECISIONS

The Cabinet gave its nod to provide Rs. 10,000 as ex-gratia (in lieu of bonus) to the officers/officials of H.P. State Civil Supplies Corporation not covered under the payment of bonus Act for the 2014-15.

It approved transfer of land in favour of Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI for construction of office-cum-residence building at Up-Mohal Baag in Una district.

It approved the change the name of Govt. Polytechnic Banikhet to Rajiv Gandhi Government Polytechnic Banikhet at Kanda in Chamba district.

It decided to open Sub-Tehsil at Saach (Pangi) and to upgrade Sihunta Sub- Tehsil to Tehsil in Chamba district.

It approved the proposal regarding sanitation/cleaning services on outsource basis in Rajiv Gandhi Government Engineering College, Kangra at Nagrota-Bagwan. Besides, it also approved for services of two mates on outsources basis.

The Approval was given to enhance share capital from Rs. 10 crore to 13 crore and Block Government Guarantee from Rs. 15 crore to Rs. 20 crore in favour of H.P. Minorities Finance and Development Corporation Shimla

It decided to revise Monetary Benefits to Gallantry Award Winners.

The decision was taken to cancel Small Hydro Power Projects on Tirthan River, its tributaries and sub-tributaries.

It approved to open Sub-Jail at Nalagarh (Deronwal) in Solan district and Sub-Tehsil at Bihru Kalan at Mandli in Una district.

Decision was taken to open regular Veterinary dispensary at Nurpur along-with the requisite posts on contract basis as Sub divisional Veterinary Hospital was shifted to Matholi. It also decided to open regular Veterinary dispensary in Village Niyal and village Sikhnara in Kangra alongwith staff.

It also approved to upgrade Veterinary Dispensary Suhani, Balugaloa, Rajhiyana in Kangra disitrict and Taryambli in Darang Mandi district to Veterinary Hospital. It decided to open new Veterinary Dispensary at Village Ogli and Shanot and to upgrade three such dispensary at Khalag, Dargi and Madawag to Veterinary Hospitals in Shimla district.

ACTS & RULES

It gave its approval to amendment in Himachal Pradesh River Rafting Rules, 2005.

It approved amendment in Appendix-III under Rule 10(1) and Clause © of Appendix-V under Rules 10(3) of H.P. Administrative Service Rules, 1973.

Approval was given to make amendments in Skill Up gradation with Job/Outsourcing Guarantee (SUJOG) Scheme.

The Cabinet approved proposed amendment in the Rule of Mukhya Mantri Kanya Daan Yojna 2006” wherein the marriage grant to the guardians of destitute women/girls is enhanced from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 40,000. In case of inmates of Nari Seva Sadan, the marriage grant is enhanced from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 51,000.

Approval was accorded to framing the H.P. Anand Marriage Registration Rules, 2016 amendments in the Interim Development Plan (IDP) for Shimla Planning Area.

It approved Himachal Pradesh District Mineral Foundation Trust Rules, 2016 and amendment in HP Factories (Amendment) Rules, 2004.

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After 15 Years of Passing of Forest Rights Act, Implementation in Himachal Still in Doldrums, Jeopardizing Ecological Conservation

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Forest rights fight in himachal pradesh

Shimla-‘Planting a tree to celebrate World Environment Day has been reduced to a symbolic tradition. But is this enough for the conservation of our ecology? The efficacy and use of plantation drives are being questioned all across the world today. These drives, especially when conducted by the government tend to be a wastage of resources due to poor survival rates, said environmental and community groups in Himachal Pradesh in a joint statement released recently on World Environment Day.

Further, trees are just one part of our ecosystem which comprises soil, grasslands, scrubs, wetlands, wildlife and even human beings, the statement said.  

In India, especially in the Himalayas communities have co-existed with nature since times immemorial – dependent on it for day-to-day life and livelihoods, the groups said. Because of this connection between forests and local livelihoods and culture-communities across the landscape fought to protect the ecosystems they inhabit from destruction – be it the Chipko movement in Uttarakhand 50 years ago or the recent struggles in the tribal district of Kinnaur to highlight the ill-effects of dams and hydropower projects – indigenous and forest-dependent people have protected forest resources, they said.

“It is unfortunate then that these historical custodians of forests were labelled ‘encroachers’ and ‘thieves’ as their livelihoods were displaced from forests sometimes to build dams, highways and cities and at other times in the name of conservation were restricted from using the forests citing forest laws,” the statement said.

The groups said this has happened in Himachal too, where communities like pastoralists and farmers are slowly getting alienated from the forests. This jeopardizes their capacity to protect the forests too – whether from natural calamities like fires or indiscriminate felling. 

Forest revival and afforestation programs, it is understood the world over, are only successful when local communities are made in charge and are given full access to use the forest and make decisions about its management.

“We have examples of community forest management like Gramya Jungles of Orissa and Van Panchayats of Uttarakhand. This became part of the Forest Policy in 1988 which is why programs like Joint Forest Management were planned for participatory governance of forests. However, in these too the forest department retained their control and communities were used as labour to plant trees,” the groups highlighted.

Based on these experiences and the repeated evictions of forest-dependent people from their rightful use it became apparent that there was a need for a law that recognised the community’s right to both use and protect/ govern the forest, they said.

It was after years of struggle that the Forest Rights Act 2006 was passed by the parliament of India. The Act recognises individual and community rights over any kind of forest lands for those dependent on these for their bonafide livelihood needs before 13th December 2005. The act also recognises development rights and community management rights. Himachal, where 2/3rd of the landscape is legally classified as ‘forest’ – there is a tremendous need and potential to implement this law to secure the land and livelihood rights of people on forest lands be they for fuelwood, fodder, pastures as well as farming and shelter. 

The statement said today it has been 15 years since the passing of FRA but in Himachal, its implementation is in the doldrums.

“While 20 lakh forest rights claims have been accepted all across the country in Himachal only 164 claims have been recognised whereas 2700 are pending with the administration at various levels. The key reasons for the poor implementation include – lack of political will, misinformation about the act amongst the line officials, distrust of the people leading to non-filing of claims and inadequate awareness amongst common people,” the statement said.

It further said that, ironically, the state government has shown great enthusiasm in using this act to grant forest land for village development activities, the rest of the rights namely individual and community forest use and management rights are languishing due to state negligence and actively blocking the granting of these rights. 

The groups further highlighted that in the last 5 years, community voices from Kangra, Chamba, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Sirmaur and Mandi have been raising the demand for the implementation of this law in the state.  It was after this that the state government was forced to announce that it would implement the Forest Rights Act in a mission mode in the state in 2018. The tribal department also worked on training and making educational material on the act. However, these are yet to be properly distributed at the village level.

The joint statement further added that in March 2020 post the pandemic led lockdown the FRA implementation process received a setback. Even as gram sabha meetings and FRC processes came to a grinding halt the economy too got hit. During this time, it became evident more than ever that it is the land and forest-based livelihoods that are available to rural communities to fall back on for survival. 

“Whereas the Government should be focused on strengthening land and nature-based livelihoods for the local communities. However, the focus of the state remains on pushing destructive commercial ventures in ecologically fragile areas and valuable farmlands of the state,” the groups said.  

The coronavirus has taught the world what the climate crisis had already indicated – that we will continue to be victims of such crisis as long as the ecological destruction continues unabated, the statement said.

“This calls for a change in the model of ‘development’ which prioritises the basic needs and services rather than run blindly after economic growth which is meant to profit companies and contractors”, the groups said.

The statement also said that it is the communities who will now have to believe in their own capacity to manage lives and resources and also call the government to account if our natural resources have to be protected for future generations. 

Signatories

  • Ajay Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Advocate Dinesh, Bhoomiheen Bhoomi Adhikar Manch, Himachal
  • Birbal Chaurhan, Shamlat Sangharsh Samiti, Sirmaur
  • Gulab Singh and Dhaniram Shamra, Sirmaur Van Adhikar Manch
  • Joginder Walia Balh Ghaati Kisaan Sangharsh Samiti, Mandi
  • Jiya Negi, Van Adhikar Samiti, Kinnaur
  • Kulbhushan Upmanyu, Himalaya Bachao Samiti, Chamba
  • Lal Hussain, Ghumantu Pashupalak Mahasabha, Chamba
  • Meera Devi, Nekram,Shyam Singh Chauhan, Paryavaran evam Gram Vikas Samiti, Karsog, Mandi
  • Himshi Singh and Prakash Bhandari, Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective
  • Prem Katoch and Kesang Thakur, Save Lahaul Spiti, Lahaul
  • Tenzin Takpa and Sonam Targey, Spiti Civil Society, Spiti  

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

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Himachal: Report Forest Fires on Toll-Free Numbers 1077 and 1070

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helpline for Forest Fires in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Forest fire is a recurrent annual phenomenon in Himachal Pradesh and causes losses worth several crores every year. Dry spell and summers make forests, especially chir pine forests, highly vulnerable to forest fires. These forest fires not only damage the forest wealth but also hit wildlife and biodiversity in general. The forest department attributes most fires to human factors.

Like every year, the forest department has claimed that it is all geared up and ready to combat forest fires this year too. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Dr. Savita on Monday held a virtual review meeting with Forest Circles on preparedness for forest fires in the state.

She said that the Forest department was well prepared to fight the forest fires and a rapid forest fire fighting force and rapid response teams had been set up at forest division and range levels.

“Approximately 40,000 man-days of fire watchers would be engaged by the department in addition to existing frontline staff for preventing and combating forest fires,” she said. The state disaster control room with toll-free number 1077 at the state level and 1070 at the district level were operational for reporting of the forest fire by the local community, she informed.

Dr. Savita said messages regarding forest fire had been shared with the members of the rapid forest fire fighting force, in which approximately 50,000 volunteers had already been registered. Awareness to the community was also conducted through Nukkar Nataks, songs, speeches and other activities at different locations in the state. Besides, a massive state-level awareness program was also conducted at 45 places from 10 to 17 March 2021

She said that the department had created forest fire lines and did control burning and also constructed water storage structures in the forest areas to combat forest fires. Additional multi-utility vehicles and water loaded tankers in 80 fire-sensitive ranges had been engaged for three months. She that matter regarding Standard Operating Systems (SOPs) for requisition of helicopter services for dousing the forest fires had been sent to the Government for approval. 

Feature Photo: Unsplash@Thematthoward

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Himachal Counts 108,578 Waterbirds of 96 Species This Year With Increase in Habitat

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Annual Bird Count in Himachal Pradesh 2021

Shimla-The habitat of migratory and resident water-birds in Himachal Pradesh has gradually improved, said Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania.

The annual water-bird count at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was conducted in the first of February, 2021 and the exercise was conducted under restrained conditions due to the prevailing Avian Influenza outbreak in Pong Dam Lake as well as the COVID-19 Pandemic, he said.

The exercise was conducted by Wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh by deploying 57 staff members in 26 sections of the sanctuary for counting the water-dependent birds.

Total 108,578 birds of 96 species were counted during this year. Out of the total number, 101,431 of 51 species are water-dependent migratory birds and 6,433 of 29 species are water-dependent resident birds. As many as 714 birds of 16 other species were also recorded. The total population of the flagship species, Bar-Headed Geese, is 40,570.

The other species which have higher population count during this year are Eurasian Coot (24,163), Northern Pintail (12,702), Common Teal (8,444), Little Cormorant (3,649), Great Cormorant (3,410), Grey Lag Goose (2,297), Northern Shoveler (2,275) and Common Pochard (2,138). The species which find noticeable mention are Red Necked Grebe, Great Bittern, Lesser White-Fronted Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Pied Avocet, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon etc. During the counting exercise, one Bar-headed Goose and one Grey Lag Goose with collars were also spotted.

This year the Annual bird count exercise assumes significance, considering the Avian Influenza outbreak in the Wildlife Sanctuary. Further, the Minister expressed satisfaction over the timely and effective containment measures taken by Wildlife Wing to control and contain Avian Influenza outbreak in the Wildlife Sanctuary.

PCCF (Wildlife) Archana Sharma and CCF Wildlife (North) Dharamshala Upasana Patial also participated and supervised the Annual Water Bird Count.

The total population of birds, as well as number of species, counted this year are marginally less as compared to last year, probably due to the impact of Avian Influenza outbreak which was first reported on 28th December 2020.

Although the total population of water birds declined during the peak of the Avian Influenza outbreak, there is a gradual increase in the total population of birds, the Minister informed.

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