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Fresh case of ‘water tank poisoning’ in Sirmaur village stirs panic

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SIRMAUR- The series of intentional poisoning of drinking water supply tanks in Himachal Pradesh continues as another incident created panic in a village of district Sirmaur. Since September 2016, there have been over five such attempts to contaminate water mainly with pesticides. The Subathu region in district Solan had witnessed terror of unknown culprits who had first mixed pesticide in Kakkadhatti School in Subathu and later moved to other regions like Kunihar. The miscreants had poisoned water tanks at four different locations in four days.

After revelation in Yug-murder case, in which a 6-year-old was abducted for ransom and later murdered by drowning in IPH water supply tank in Shimla, it appears, miscreants have extracted a way to poison people by targeting water supply.

In the current incident, according to sources, on Friday, a family in Toka Nagla village under Kudiyon (कुडियों)Panchayat in Poanta Sahib tehsil of district Sirmaur, was alerted by pungent odor arising from tap water that had turned completely white in color. The odor resembled to pesticides used in agriculture. The news stirred panic among villagers. Last year, too, in the same village, some unknown person had mixed poison with fodder due to which two cows had died.

A team of police arrived at the scene and collected sample of water. The sample would be sent for forensic testing to identify exact chemical composition of the used toxin.

Earlier, during September and October month, unknown antisocial had contaminated the water tank of Kakkadhati Government School with pesticide ‘Nivaan’ along with a nearby IPH water tank that supplied water to an entire village.

Similar incidents of water-poisoning were reported from Chaprauli region and in Jadla village where private tank of panchayt Patwari was poisoned.

A day after it, unknown culprits targeted thousands of devotees at Radha Swami Satsang by poisoning one of the water tanks inside its premises.

In all instances, hundreds of people including school children had narrow escapes and no loss or damage of human life was reported. These people were fortunate that used pesticide emits pungent odor and turns water milky, which alerted users as soon as they opened their taps.

Health Hazards

Cases of accidental ingestion of common pesticides used in farming have shown mild to lethal effects. Depending upon the amount consumed, period of exposure and toxicity level of the chemical composition, consuming a pesticide can cause skin diseases to total collapse of nervous system and reproduction capacity.

Police Still Clueless

Hands of district police Solan are still empty and the culprits remain unidentified so far. Police claims that it had detained several people as suspects for questioning. However, the questioning didn’t yield any solid evidence that could lead to the actual culprits. The fresh case in Sirmaur has further raised concern over safety of people.

These cases had further exposed that IPH department hasn’t done much to arrange security at its water supply tanks even after Yug-murder case and directions of the honorable High Court of Himachal Pradesh. However, people are advised to sure their private water storage arrangements with fencing and locks considering the eminent threat of miscreants, who are targeting individual families.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Special Campaign for Issuing Golden Card under Ayushman Bharat Yojana Launched

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Golden Card under Ayushman Bharat Yojana

Shimla-Secretary Health Himachal Pradesh, Amitabh Awasthi, informed that under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana a special campaign has been launched to issue Golden Card. He said that under this campaign, camps have been organized to issue cards and the department is also issuing cards by visiting the houses of eligible candidates.

He said that under this special campaign that started from 19th November 2020, Golden Cards have been issued to 29660 families (67520 persons). Golden Cards have been issued to 74.2 percent of families whereas in India this figure is 49.6 percent. The Health Department has targeted to issue Golden Cards to the remaining families by 31st March 2021, he informed.

Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana was launched by the Government of India on 23rd September 2018. This scheme is also being implemented in Himachal Pradesh from 23rd September 2018. Under the scheme, there is a provision of free treatment facility of upto rupees five lakh on hospitalization.

At present 200 hospitals in the State are registered under this scheme, out of which 64 are private hospitals, he informed. Beneficiaries can also avail free medical treatment facility anywhere in the hospitals registered by other states or Union Territories across India.

He said that for this scheme families have been selected based on the social, economic cast census, 2011 and National Health Insurance scheme (2014-15) and about 1579 representation have been included for free treatment. Day-care surgeries have also been included in it. Under the scheme, the eligible families have been selected by the Government of India and about 4,78,985 families are eligible in the State out of which Golden Cards of 3,56,372 families have been made.

He said that under the scheme 81,898 beneficiaries have received the benefit of free medical treatment worth Rs. 87.26 crore in the State.

Amitabh Awasthi said that under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, issuing Golden Cards is a routine process and eligible families can prepare their Aadhar Cards and Ration Cards at the nearest Lokmitra Kendra.

He said that due to COVID-19 pandemic the work of issuing Golden Card has been affected and the Cards could not be issued to the eligible families as the beneficiaries needed to visit the nearest hospital or Lokmitra Kendra to prepare the Cards. He said that under this scheme, if the beneficiary has not prepared Golden Card, then the hospital issues him the Golden Card immediately at the time of treatment so that they could avail the benefit of free treatment. He said that to know about eligibility one can contact on toll-free No. 14555 and can log in to the website (mera.pmjay.gov.in.)

 

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Nod to Extend Engagement of SMC Teachers, Modify Penalties/Fines for Vehicles, Amend Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojna

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HP Cabinet Decisions Feb 23, 2021

Shimla-Apart from giving nod to carry out amendments in Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Elections Rules, 2012, to carry out this year’s elections on party symbols, the Cabinet also gave its nod to the Governor’s Address to be delivered during the budget session of H.P. Vidhan Sabha.

The Cabinet gave its approval to the proposal to modify penalties/fines under Section 210A of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, as well as to specific authorities competent to compound the offences under Section 200 of the Act.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to extend the engagement of 2555 SMC teachers already engaged under SMC teachers Policy in Elementary and Higher Education Departments for the academic session 2021-22.

The Cabinet gave its approval to provide government land on a lease basis at the rate of one rupee per month for a period of 99 years in Mauja Dhaulakuan Tehsil Paonta Sahib district Sirmaur measuring 122-08 bighas in favour of Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry Nauni at Dhaulakuan for the establishment of Regional Horticulture Research and Training Station for the benefit of the farmers.

It gave its consent to construct additional accommodation at Rest House Sundernagar in Mandi district at a cost of Rs. 3.90 crore to provide better boarding and lodging facilities to the employees and the general public during official tours.

The Cabinet also decided to extend the Special Land Acquisition Unit at Nalagarh in Solan district and also engage staff on a re-employment/ fixed emoluments basis for one year from 1st January 2021, as the land acquisition work in the stretch of Baddi-Nalagarh road length of 18 kilometres under Project Director NHAI Shimla was being done by Land Acquisition Collector Nalagarh.

The Cabinet gave its consent to rename Government Senior Secondary School Manoh in Hamirpur district as ‘Shaheed Ankush Thakur Government Senior Secondary School, Manoh’ as a mark of respect to the Galwan martyr Ankush Thakur.

The Cabinet decided to implement Mukhya Mantri Krishi Kosh Scheme for Farmer’s Producer Organizations (FPOs)-2020 for providing incentives, concessions and facilities for eligible FPOs of the State. Under the Scheme, FPOs could avail seed money upto 30 percent of the total project cost with a maximum ceiling of rupees six lakh or one and half times of equity raised by the FPOs, whichever was less. The Scheme would also ensure Credit Guarantee Cover for Bank Loan, Interest Subsidy etc. 

It gave its approval to transfer land comprising in Khasra No. 60 situated at Mohal Bazar ward Chhota Shimla, which is presently under possession with Police Department, in the name of Municipal Corporation Shimla to shift the existing two shops of the Corporation to Khasra No. 60 so that widening of Sadbhawana Chowk could be undertaken to ease out the situation of traffic congestion on Chhota Shimla to Kasumpti road.

The Cabinet gave its consent to provide reservation of one seat in ANM or B.Sc. Nursing Courses for eligible widows below 45 years of age in each Nursing Institute of the State.

It gave its approval for amendment in Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojna 2019 to reduce the burden of loan on the entrepreneurs and the subsidy would be deposited in the term loan account of the borrower and would be adjusted only after three years. Now after disbursement of 1st instalment of loan by the bank under the scheme, the General Manager, GIC would approve the subsidy amount in two instalments of 60 percent initially and 40 percent after the unit commences commercial production/operation and physical verification of the unit has been done. The remaining 40 percent subsidy amount would be released within 15 days of the verification.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fill up 12 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in the Prosecution Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment.

It also gave its nod to fill up:

  1. Four posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police on regular basis through direct recruitment.
  2. Eight posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in Geological Wing of Industries department on contract basis.
  3. One post of Manager DIC in the Industries Department on contract basis through direct recruitment. 
  4. Two posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in the Information Technology Department on a contract basis.
  5. One post of Assistant Director, Factories (Chemical) on contract basis in the Labour and Employment Department.
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Himachal’s Municipal Corporation Elections 2021 to be Held on Party Symbols as Cabinet Gives Nod

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HP MC Elections 2021 on party symbols

Shimla-Municipal Corporation elections 2021 in Himachal Pradesh would be held on party symbols, the state cabinet decided in a meeting held on today. The elections would be announced during the budget session starting from February 26. 

The municipal corporation elections in, Mandi, Palampur, Solan and  are scheduled to be held next month. There was a growing demand that this time the elections should be held on party symbols.

The cabinet would carry out amendments in Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Elections Rules, 2012.

These amendments would pave way for conducting elections to Municipal Corporations on Party symbols, provide reservation for OBCs, provision of disqualification on grounds of defection, strengthen provisions of no-confidence motion etc.

It’s pertinent to mention that this decision has also come right after elections to panchayats, zila parishads, and block Simitis, which were not held on party symbols. While Bharatiya Janata Party has been claiming that it dominated these elections, the opposition alleged it of misusing government machinery and using unethical means to lure independent candidates in order to display the majority.

Last time, in 2012, when the elections were held on party symbols, the seats of Mayor and the Deputy Mayor had gone to the Sanjay Chauhan and Tikendar Panwar of Communist Party of India (M). 

“CPI(M) is in favour of elections of urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions to be held on party symbol. Elections of Municipal Corporation Shimla were held on party symbol in the past but the government changed it. Left ruled state Kerala is holding all urban body and panchayat elections on party symbol. This will definitely help in curtailing horse-trading by the party in ruling with government influence and using money power in elections and politicize the people will strengthen the democracy,” Sanjay Chauhan told Himachal Watcher in a statement .

The ruling government, according to reports, is also mulling over to put in place an Anti-Defection law to discourage the practice of horse-trading.

The opposition has also been demanding direct elections to the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. But the government was yet to take a decision on it.

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