SHIMLA- From September 19, 2016, vehicles registered outside Himachal Pradesh will have to pay Green Tax on entering into area under Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) radius.
After failed attempt in 2012 to implement Green Tax policy on entry of outside vehicles, SMC has again come out with plans for extraction of Green Tax, mainly from tourist vehicles. Initially, the program will be run for a period of three months for observations, based on which further policy will be formulated. Earlier, SMC was rebuked by the Honorable High Court of Himachal Pradesh during a decision on objection filed by HP Public Works Department. HPPWD had objected that SMC did not seek its permission before erecting barriers and posts on National and State Highways, which had also led to hours-long traffic congestion. SMC was asked by the court to rectify and frame the structure and process of the Green Tax Policy again. .
Rates for Various Vehicles
SMC has finalized Rs. 50 for two wheelers, 200 for small cars, and 300 for SUVs, and 500 for trucks.
Who is exempted?
All vehicles carrying daily commodities like milk, bread, eggs etc. are exempted to avoid increase in rates of these commodities, which doesn’t agree with public. Trucks carrying apple crop have also been spared. Vehicles belonging to Union and State Governments and defense are also exempted. Also, local residents who own a vehicles registered in other states will have to submit an application to get exemption from paying tax.
How You Can Pay Green Tax?
Unlike last time, no barriers will be erected on entry points to extract payment of tax. According to SMC, tax can be paid through its mobile app, which is in process of synchronization with banks, or online from computers. Those who are not tech-savvy can pay the tax at counter in Parwanoo to be set up by a private contractor or at the Sugam Centre in Shimla.
Penalty for Violators
A receipt will be generated on payment that will be valid upto seven days. Any vehicle caught travelling without paying green tax will be imposed a penalty of Rs. 5000. Vehicles belonging to Union or those owned by locals but registered outside Himachal must submit their residence proof or Aadhaar card copy, registration number and other details with SMC. If a person fails to submit these details and he is somehow questioned, he would be released if he shows his residence proof to the authorities.
Monitoring to Check Tax Evasion
Dedicated field staff, claims SMC, will conduct regular surprise and random checking at MC Parking lots, Hotels, and popular tourist places to catch tax evaders. Also, a ward councilor can verify payment of any outside vehicle through SMC’s mobile app that will be connected to entire database.
SMC’s Expected Earning
SMC has estimated generation of revenue worth 12-15 crores per year by extracting green tax, which, it claims, will be spent on developmental activities or on environmental protection measures,afforestation, beautification, parking spaces, toilets, accelerators and other basic facilities in areas under its jurisdiction.
Shimla has around 80,000 vehicles registered locally, while it has parking space for only around 1,000 vehicles. During peak tourist season, around 5,000 tourist vehicles enter the town daily. Shimla hosts tourists twice the amount of its original population each year. MC feels that the green tax would not only fill its coffers, but also act as deterrent against overcrowding of tourist vehicles in the city. They said it would help decongest the areas which otherwise remains choked with tourist vehicles.
Also Read: Shimla – The capital yearns for even basic public facilities
However, the claims of spending collected revenue in public facilities and environmental protection lack conviction considering the ignorance SMC has shown toward waste disposal, littering, sewage leakage that results in drinking water contamination, garbage burning etc. Also, SMC’s beautification hardly passes beyond the Shimla Mall and Ridge. Shimla city’s most crowded bus stoppages have no rain-shelter, public toilets, and even a single dustbin. Over revenue generation, environment is hardly any concern for administration. Moreover, for now SMC is conducting an experiment and fate of Green Tax policy isn’t fixed yet.
HPTDC’s Online Service for Ordering Food for Takeaway and Home Delivery Launched
Shimla-An online facility to place orders of food was launched by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation on July 21, 2020. It was informed by the HPTDC, Managing Director Kumud Singh. She said the Corporation has introduced a facility to place an online order of food for takeaway and home delivery at its selected properties.
“The public can place orders for a variety of tasty, hygienic and healthy cuisines at their homes by placing online orders,”
Consumers can place online food orders at these properties by visiting its website (www.hptdconwheels.in). Currently, the orders can be placed from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The HPTDC staff has been imparted special training to take all necessary steps for prevention of COVID-19, she said. The food is prepared by trained Chefs of the Corporation in safe and hygiene environment, she added.
She informed that this service has initially been started at Hotel Peterhof Shimla, Goofa Ashiana Restaurant Shimla, Hotel Kunzam Manali, Cafe Monal Kullu, Cafe Raviview Chamba and Cafe Satluj Rampur. She said that this service will be extended to other properties in a phased manner.
Photo: Himachal Watcher
Fursat Se- Shimla Based Cultural Community to Plant 550 Trees on 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji
Shimla-On the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, Fursat Se, a cultural community based in Shimla plans to plant 550 trees. The founder of Fursat Se, Amrita Bhasin, is working towards creating safe spaces for promotion of art, literature and open dialogue through the medium of events.
“We invite 550 people (&more) to pledge and plant one tree each and help us initiate a Green Movement by the people and for the people,”
Anyone interested in this, can pick a local tree sapling and plant it in allowed areas of the neighborhood and pledge to take care of it, and send the information on the same with a picture and hashtag #TreeTalesIndia to Fursat Se. For pledging, volunteering and becoming a part of this initiative you can contact them, and Fursat Se will share the pictures from their social media handles.
The initiative is organized by Fursat Se- A Cultural Community in association with- Swach Himalayas, a Himachal based NGO started by Savitoj Singh, that works towards spreading awareness about various environmental issues, undertakes initiatives like regular visits to old-age homes, orphanages through numerous community driven events and Unbox Himachal valley- a Himachal based start-up by Shivee Sirmauri, working towards empowerment of rural women by providing employment opportunities and reviving old cultural handicrafts.
Himachal’s fitness enthusiast shines at Indian TV Reality Show
Shimla: Sachin Sharma, a handsome man of 26, is currently a person who stands in contrast to Himachal Pradesh’s ill-famed youth struggling with drug and substance abuse – a crucial issue that has sounded an alarm in the State. Sachin is the one who joined a gym at the age of 19 – an age at which teenagers are struggling to escape from the jaws of drug/substance abuse, especially Heroin (Chitta).
Sachin, born in a middle-class family of Deha village, Theog, Shimla district, recently appeared in what could be called India’s first fitness reality show “Indian Fitness League.” It wasn’t a bodybuilding show, but the challenge was to undertake tasks designed to check who is the fittest. Sachin was the only one from Himachal to have made through the auditions. He was selected as one of the 40 fittest people of India. He earned the special attention of the hosts of the show as well as among other competitors.
The next episode of the TV show would be telecasted on October 6 on Discovery Sports at 4 PM.
To know more about him, Himachal Watcher interviewed him (Watch Video). We found that his story is inspirational in its own way:
Far from ill and unhealthy habits, he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink or take anything that would toy with his physical and mental fitness. He definitely doesn’t take steroids. Since last seven years, he has followed a strict discipline in diet and habits. He didn’t compromise with his studies either. He completed his schooling from Dayanand Public School in Shimla.
In 2018 he completed his post graduation in Masters of Business (MBA) from Himachal Pradesh University and had procured a placement for himself too.
He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth so placement did matter for him. His father Mohan Lal Sharma and mother Subhadra Sharma are both serving with the Crime Investigation Department (CID), HP, as Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and Head Constable respectively. It wasn’t easy to manage an additional expenditure of Rs. 15,000 – 20, 000 on his protein diet for seven years.
At this point, his decision-making ability was put to test. He had to choose one of the two: job placement and passion for fitness. He listened to himself and decided to seek a career in the fitness industry.
Though Sachin’s body is in good shape, he isn’t actually a bodybuilder. He is a fitness enthusiast, who has trained without a professional trainer or a mentor. He made ample use of YouTube to learn. He didn’t take up fitness as his passion because he was inspired by someone. He was his own inspiration.
He first received an opportunity to get on a stage at annual Mr. Himachal competition. Later he won the Maruti Suzuki Devils Circuit held in Chandigarh.
Now, after his tremendous performance at the IFL, Sachin has received sponsorships and was inducted in the TG Athlete group. Opportunities in the fitness industry have begun to appear before him. He believes that someday, he would extend support and guidance to other fitness enthusiasts of the state, which he could hardly receive for himself.
He is an idol for the youth of Himachal, especially because fitness is an antonym to drug/substance abuse and indiscipline. In the majority of cases filed under the Narcotics, Drugs & Psychoactive Substances (ND&PS) Act, the accused are reported to be between 20-25 years. A couple of days back Shimla Police arrested a 22-years-old local boy with a packet of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) stamps.