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Himachal CM rubbishes Hindi Daily’s ‘Shillai girl trafficking report’,  editor summoned, SDM transferred

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Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh lashed out at a Hindi Newspaper for alleged “defamatory and deceptive ” series of stories it had published about alleged trafficking/sale of girls on the name of marriages in Shillai region of district Sirmaur. 

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Shillai, Vikas Shukla, who had reportedly ordered the survey, was immediately transferred to Arki and the Editor of the daily was summoned for alleged fabrication of facts that hurt the sentiments and self-esteem of the people of Shillai region. The CM called the report as completely deceptive.  He has also claimed that the Women Commissioner, who visited the region after the matter came to limelight, and the district administration did not find any truth in the news reports published by the Hindi daily.  

The conspiracy to defame the state and its daughters won’t be tolerated at all and the officials should have taken action to prevent attempts to bring disrepute to the state,

said the CM.

Reportedly, the SDM had highlighted the issue based on a survey conducted under Integrated Children Development Scheme. (ICDS) in which startling revelations were made that raised questions over efforts of the government for socio-economic development of the region. The news was covered by not only Hindi dailies, but English newspapers like Times of India, Hindustan Times, Statesman etc.

According to findings of the said ICDS report, during last two decades, nearly 1,000 girls were married outside the state, mostly in Haryana. It was alleged that as sex ratio in Haryana is very low (879 females per 1000 males), men take to tempting parents of this poverty-stricken and isolated region of Himachal.

The Tribune had also published a finding of the ICDS survey in which it was reported that 391 girl students dropped out of school prior to matriculation in just one year.

What doesn’t appear to a co-incident is that Peoples’ Action for People in Need (PAPN), an organization had also reported the prevalence of the trend in the region including child marriages.

Himachal Watcher had also compiled major facts reported from various sources including the official statement of the SDM and the Director General of Police, Sanjay Kumar. DIG had also rejected the report refuting registration of any such complaints from the locals.

Apparently, such revelation, if true, would damage the reputation of the current government ahead of HP Assembly Polls 2017. Reported poverty and lack of employment opportunities are directly associated with governance and concern of the political leaders about development of remote regions of the State.

The CM rubbished the news saying no such conspiracy by media would be tolerated that brings bad name to the State.  The CM clarified that the region is well connected with good roads and 100% homes have electricity. The number of school and college going girls was higher than boys (600 out of total 918 students are girls), claimed the CM.

He further added,

Fabricated and frivolous series of news of the so-called trafficking has hurt the sentiments of the people of the state, particularly the residents of Sirmaur district, as no such case has come to the notice of the police and no case has been registered.

Reportedly, people from Paonta Sahib and Shillai region staged a protest in front of the SDM Office alleging maligning image of the region by highly derogatory and unethical reporting.

He further defied the reports about backwardness of the region.

Students from the Shillai area are studying among others in the three colleges at Shillai, Kaffota and Aanj Bhoj and the percentage of girls studying in these colleges is about 80 per cent.

the CM claimed.

However, the ICDS survey report, statements of the SDM, and the agreement of a non-profit organization with these reports still requires logical explanation before they could be rejected entirely.

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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.

Misc News/Press Release

Scrub Typhus in Himachal: Death Toll Reaches 8, Over 800 Tested Positive

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Scrub Typhus deaths in himachal Pradesh 2019

Shimla- Scrub Typhus death toll in Himachal Pradesh has reached eight, while 801 have been tested positive so far. One of the deaths were reported on September 21, 2019, at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla. A 16-year-old girl, who was taking treatment at the hospital for the past 10 days, reportedly died today.

So far, among the deceased, five belonged to Shimla, two to Mandi and one to Bilaspur district. All of these victims were receiving treatment at the IGMC Shimla.

As per the data released by the HP Health Department on September 18, a total of 801 cases of Scrub Typhus have been reported from the state. The rise in the number of cases is reported to be steep as by September 10, this number was 622. Maximum cases were reported from district Bilaspur (240), followed by Hamirpur (159), Shimla (107), Kangra (96), Mandi (77), Solan (54), Una (11), Chamba (9), and Kinnaur (1).

Amid the alarming rise in Scrub Typhus cases, the public has been advised that all patients, who complain of high fever, body ache and restlessness, should immediately reach the nearest health centre or start taking medicine for Scrub Typhus (doxycycline) as a precautionary measure. 

As per the health experts, if Typhus goes untreated for two to three days, it becomes fatal. The doctors at the IGMC Shimla cited the delay in treatment as the reason for deaths.

Scrub typhus is caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi. It is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). These mites could be found in grass fields and bushes, which is why people who visit grassy fields to fetch fodder for cattle are more vulnerable to get infected. This is why Scrub Typhus is also known as bush typhus.

Most common symptoms of this disease include fever and chills, headache, body aches, and muscle pain, and appearance of a dark, scab-like region at the site of the chigger bite (also known as eschar).

People with severe illness may develop organ failure and bleeding, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Scrub typhus should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age. Antibiotics are most effective if given soon after symptoms begin. People who are treated early with doxycycline usually recover quickly.

 

 

 

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Misc News/Press Release

HP By-Election 2019 Dates Announced, Model Code of Conduct Comes Into Effect

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Hp By-Elections 2019 Dates

Shimla-The dates for the by-elections to two Legislative Assemblies of Himachal Pradesh – Dharamshala and Pachhad- were today announced by the Election Commission of India.  The polling would be held on October 21, 2019, in both constituencies. The counting would be done on 24 October 2019.

After sitting MLAs Kishan Kapoor (Dharamsala) and Suresh Kashyap (Pachaad) were elected to the Lok Sabha, these two seats fell vacant.

With the announcements of the dates for the by-polls, Model Code of Conduct has also come into force in Kangra and Sirmaur districts of Himachal.

The EC said that after taking into consideration various factors like local festivals, electoral rolls, weather conditions etc., the Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill two seats in Himachal that lie vacant as per the following schedule

  1. Date of Issue of Gazette Notification 23.09.2019 (MONDAY)
  2. Last Date of Nominations 30.09.2019 (MONDAY)
  3. The date for Scrutiny of Nominations 01.10.2019 (TUESDAY)
  4. Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures 03.10.2019 (THURSDAY)
  5. Date of Poll 21.10.2019 (MONDAY)
  6. Date of Counting 24.10.2019 (THURSDAY)
  7. Date before which election shall be completed 27.10.2019 (SUNDAY)

The Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in the by-election in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines, the EC said.

With this announcement, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and HP Congress are expected to declare their candidates on both seats in next couple of days. While BJP is struggling in selecting candidates due to infighting, Congress has also not zeroed in on any candidates. BJP had sounded the bugle for by-elections prior to Congress and the Chief Minister has even visited both constituencies twice. While BJP would be fighting to maintain its popularity with which it was voted to power in the general assembly elections in 2017, Congress would try to revive the dying spirit of the party.

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Environment

HP PCB Urges Education Deptt to Educate Children About Air, Noise Pollution Caused by Firecrackers Ahead of Diwali

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HP PCB notice on Diwali 2019

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, ahead of Diwali festival, has urged the department of education to educate children about the harmful effects of air and noise pollution caused due to bursting of firecrackers and also to encourage them to celebrate pollution-free Diwali.

The board has also urged the people of the State to celebrate this festival of light in an eco-friendly way and say no to firecrackers.

The HP PCB said that to access the impact of the bursting of firecrackers during the forthcoming Diwali festival, it will conduct a special monitoring drive in the state. During this drive, the board will assess the ambient air and noise quality in the State.

HP PCB said that necessary directions have been issued to all the regional officers and laboratory In-Charges of the State Board to conduct extensive ambient air quality monitoring derive with effect from October 20 to November 3, 2019.

Ambient noise monitoring will also be conducted during pre- Diwali October on 21 and on the day of Diwali (October 27).  

During this monitoring drive, apart from general parameters like particular Matters (PM10, PM 2.5), oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen, Carbon Monoxide and Ammonia some additional parameters like Lead, Nickel, arsenic, Barium, Iron and Strontium will also be monitored, the PCB said.

PCB said that all the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendent of Police have been directed to ensure that no firework of firecrackers should be allowed to burst in the 100 meters vicinity of the silence zone such as hospitals, educational institutions, courts etc. as per the provision of law.

 Sales and use of firecrackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dBA is also prohibited.

Ironically, the Board has no check on various other activities that cause air pollution throughout the year. For example, garbage burning is rampant in the state. While the practice is regular in rural areas and municipal councils, the Municipal Corporation of capital Shimla is also not far behind.

Moreover, there is no check on vehicular emissions as both HP PCB and the State Police refuse to take responsibility for it. The ‘No Honking’ campaign to reduce noise pollution in the state has also failed miserably as no steps were taken to create awareness or to deter people from honking unnecessarily. Considering these facts, it sounds odd that the PCB would actually be striving to check air and noise pollution ahead of Diwali.

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