SHIMLA- In disproportionate asset case against the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, Delhi High Court had rejected the plea for relief last week. The interim stay on his interrogation or arrest was removed by the court. Now, Mr. Virbhadra’s farmhouse in New Delhi worth Rs. 29 crore was seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED made it clear that the FIR in this case was not the result of any political vendetta, as the CM had claimed in his plea for relief.
The farmhouse was purchased by a firm, Maple, owned by Singh’s son. As per the ED, Rs. 5.47 crore was paid in cash while the market price of farmhouse was shown Rs. 1 crore.
The CM has begun to experience the heat of politics as the opposition continue to gain victory in India other states of India including the largest State. The opposition BJP now has some solid matter to ignite protest against the octogenarian Congress CM. The demand for resignation on ethical grounds is also gaining momentum. Moreover, the Comptroller Attorney General (CAG) has also pinpointed massive rise in debts on the hill state.
The Communist Party of India (M) has also opened attack against the CM. The party, in a statement, said that the recent drubbing given by the Delhi High court has prima facie proven that Virbhadra Singh was involved in money laundering while holding important post as the then cabinet minister. Already a charge sheet in this regard has been filed by the CBI and today the ED has even sealed his Delhi farm house. All this demands an immediate stepping aside from the official post so that further investigations can carry out, the CPI (M) said. Therefore, the party asked for immediate resignation of Virbhadra Singh from the chief ministership of the state.
Instead of attending to the grievances of public, the Chief Minister’s office is being used to protect Virbhadra Singh. Further, the cases registered against Virbhadra Singh and his family does not pertain to his struggle for people’s cause and comes out of his sheer greed to earn money using his official position, alleged CPI(M). Hence the cases should be fought individually and not at the behest of the people’s office, officialdom and the money from the state exchequer. Hence the Congress party must remove Virbhadra Singh from the chief minister immediately, said the statement.
The CPIM further said that both the BJP and the Congress are indulged in incorrigible corruption and shows their outlook towards politics and service to the people. The politics has become an arena of minting money where a strong nexus exists in between the ruling class political parties, the bureaucracy and the big business houses, who apparently rule the roost, the party said.
Video: Fire in Shimla’s Gumma devours Rs. 40 lakh property
Shimla: In a tragic incident of fire breakout in Gumma area of Kotkhai region in Shimla district on Saturday, about six rooms of a three-story building were lost. The fire brigade saved the two storeys and buildings adjacent to it.
No loss of life was reported, but the estimated loss of assets was initially assessed at about 40 lakh rupees.The owner of the house was identified as Rohit Chauhan.
Rohit’s mother was alone at the house when the fire broke out at about 3 PM. His mother called for help. However, the fire gutted six rooms on the third storey along with all belongings by the time the fire service reached the spot.
The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit.
While the other two stories housed shops, the third one was Rohit’s home.
The district administration has given Rs. 20,000 as a relief to the victim family.
Sirmaur Tragedy: 7-year-old mauled to death by pack of stray dogs
Shimla: In a spine-chilling incident, a pack of about half-a-dozen stray dogs on Saturday attacked and mauled a 7-year-old boy in Amarkot village in Paonta sub-division, Sirmaur district, Himachal Pradesh. As per the initial reports, the brutal attack by the dogs inflicted severe injuries on the head, throat, and neck.
On hearing the cries of the boy, the nearby people rushed to rescue the boy. However, dogs were so aggressive that they bit a couple of these people too.
The boy succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital. The boy was identified as Vikki, son of a migrant labour of Uttar Prades. The family was heart-broken after their piece of heart died a horrible death.
The head of the Amarkot village, Rakesh Mehraloo, said repeated complaints were made regarding the growing stray dog menace to the administration. Rakesh told media that some incidents of attack by stray dogs were also reported previously, which were also brought to the attention of the administration.
The administration, however, turned a blind eye towards the complaints and did not take any measure to solve this grieve issue, he said.
If the administration had acted timely, such a horrific incident could have been prevented.
It is pertinent to mention that the state government has also ignored the provision of dog-shelters and showed lackadaisical attitude in regular sterilizing of stray dogs.
Rest, the littering of food waste attract stray dogs and facilitate their reproduction, leading to such a nightmare.
The incident has created panic among the residents about the safety of their children.
Drought-like situation haunts Himachal as no rain, snow in stock, HP DM holds emergency meeting
Shimla: As snow and rain continue to evade the peak winter season in Himachal Pradesh, which is already facing 49 percent post-monsoon rain deficiency, the State Disaster Management called a meeting to embraces for the impact of the drought-like situation in the State.
Today, the maximum day temperature in the capital Shimla was recorded at 19 Degree Celsius while the day was hottest for Una at 27 Degree Celsius.
While a debate over the role of global warming behind erratic changes in the weather can also be heard, the Met Department blamed the western disturbances, which, it said, are not strong this year, hence, there is no precipitation.
The nigh temperature in winters remains close to seven to nine Degrees Celsius, which is four to five notches above from the average temperature witnessed during this time of the year. If the same pattern continues for the next two weeks, then it will not only hit the Rs. 20,000-crore apple industry but the tourist influx too.
The apple growers need moisture and several hundred chilling hours to ensure ample apple crop, and this year they are short of the required chilling hours.
The apple production, which was over 850 metric ton in 2011, has already been reducing.
Other crops like green almonds, tomatoes, pears, apricots, cabbage, cauliflower etc will also be affected due to dry weather.
The hoteliers and ski resorts are witnessing fall in tourist influx as the chances of snowfall are scarce.
Meeting of HP Disaster Mangement
In wake of the drought-like situation, the Principal Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) Onkar Chand Sharma held a meeting with senior officers of various departments including the Deputy Commissioners of all 12 districts video conferencing.
Onkar Sharma said the government has analyzed entire rainfall data of all districts. It was found that there is a deficiency of 49 percent in the State (post-monsoon).
The meteorological department has predicted chances of scattered to moderate rainfall during 23-24 January 2018. Except that, the weather is likely to remain mostly dry until January 22 and January 25 onwards.
However, the government said that the state has received ample rainfall during December 2017, therefore, the Rabi crops and the drinking water supply are unaffected so far.
The Disaster Managment will prepare a contingency plan to combat the drought-like situations, said the Secretary.
There are 45 labs of the IPH department for the testing of drinking water supply, he informed.
The Deputy Commissioners were asked to ensure water quality testing randomly up to the subdivision level and arrange water tankers in water-scarce areas as well as fodder for livestock.
All the districts were also directed to take remedial measures to stop contamination of drinking water sources. Besides it, the Secretary directed super chlorination in all districts to prevent water-borne diseases like Jaundice.
Special Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Shri D.C. Rana, Director, Indian Meteorological Department Shri Manmohan Singh, Chief Engineer of IPH Department, senior officers from Horticulture and Agriculture also attended the meeting.
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