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Himachal’s MLAs and ex-MLAs now get 36 bighas prime land in Shimla in addition to cheap loans, allowances



free land to HP MLAs

Very recently, the government had told the Disabled Student Association of Himachal that it does not have funds for their scholarships despite official provision. But giving away land to MLAs is not at all a problem.

Shimla: The Congress government in the debt-ridden state of Himachal Pradesh has again taken the poor and landless people for granted and announced giving away 36 bighas prime land in Jubbarhatti to MLAs and former-MLAs before the next assembly polls at very cheap rates.

It appears like the Congress government is insecure and lack the conviction to repeat itself in the next elections.

It is really ironical that the most basic public infrastructure and facilities always remained in tatters irrespective of ruling governments. People don’t have good hospitals, old-age homes, child homes, facilities for disabled, quality education at schools, roads, rain-shelters, sufficient toilets, dustbins even at the most crowded places.

Very recently, the government had told the Disabled Students Association of Himachal that it does not have funds for their scholarships despite official provision. But giving away land to MLAs is not at all a problem.

According to the Socio-Economic and Caste census of 2011, about 22 percent has no land in rural areas of Himachal. Instead of distributing public land to poor and needy people of the state, the lawmakers are grabbing precious land again and again.

Irrespective of these grieve issues, the politicians not only maintain the fleet of their luxury vehicles bought from public tax money, bungalows, and free facilities but also keep increasing their salaries and allowances. They receive instant advance or subsidy on loans.

It was not sufficient and the politicians felt deprived and unsatisfied, so they formed a sort of union which they called the society of Members of Legislative Assembly. This society comprises of MLAs and former MLAs from both Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party. The said land was kept aside by the government for this society. 

Clearly, politicians are making mutual efforts to do everything they can to make their future secure even if they don’t come into power.

So far, only MLA Neeraj Bharati had criticised his own government for ignoring people of the state who actually need land to build small houses.

Considering it an opportunity to create a positive image, a couple of BJP leaders are also criticising this step.

The former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, also lashed the government for this decision.

He said the government in the recent cabinet meeting took a decision to give additional prime land at Jubbadhatti, the place where new expansion of Shimla City is taking place.

Keeping in view the commercial prospects of this area, State government want to appease MLAs and Former MLAs of both Congress Party and BJP who are members of the society. 

The state government has already given 12 Bighas 16 Biswas of prime land to this society in Heera Nagar and Panthaghati. MLAs have constructed houses here and most of these houses are rented and getting hefty amount as rent.

Almost all the sitting and former MLAs have their own houses and these are built by availing cheap loans facilitated by the government, said Chauhan.

It’s evident that about 85 percent land is still owned by the government. Moreover, 87 percent of the total population in Himachal lives in rural area and most of them are small and marginal farmers having land less than a hectare. This much land is not sufficient even to meet their both the ends, he added.

Both Congress and BJP Governments had been promising that houseless in rural areas will get 3 biswas and in urban areas will get 2 biswas of land but both the parties are not interested to keep their promises made to poor. More than 5000 houseless families have applied to get land in this scheme but the government is not doing anything to help these people, said Chauhan.

It’s very strange that both Congress and BJP have a mutual understanding when it came to grabbing land in the name of society formed by Legislatures. The party presidents and MLAs of both parties Congress and BJP are members of this society.

Now Congress government in the state has taken a decision to give additional land to this society and BJP members are also beneficiaries.

He mocked at BJP saying that keeping elections in view the party leaders are making a hue and cry against this decision but they are also part of this beneficiary society also.

If they are really sincere they should return land already taken as society members to the government to come clean,

said Chauhan.

The government should perform its duty and give land to poor houseless and landless people of the state, he said.

The CPIM has threatened to launch protests against the government if the decision is not reversed to give away land to MLAs and Former MLAs society.

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16-years-old girl dies of poverty despite widowed mother’s pleas to HP Govt for help



poor Solan girl dies of kidney failure

CM had reportedly assured that the girl would be provided with the needed relief. He had told the delegation of journalists that he had made contact with the PGI asking it to begin the treatment of Deepika.

Shimla: Almost every day, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, appears in photos receiving checks worth lakhs of rupees and even crores as a donation to the CM Relief Fund. The SJVNL had donated Rs. 1 crore to the Fund in January 2018.

SJVN donation towards HP CM relief Fund

Unfortunately, the State Government allegedly failed to grant a trivial part of it for the timely treatment of a 16-years-old girl, who had met a complete kidney failure a couple of weeks ago. The girl died on early Saturday morning at the PGI, Chandigarh. 

The government, however, did not issue any official statement regarding the status of the release of the fund.  

Her widowed mother had spent a couple of lakhs she could arrange. The mother was left penniless by the time the girl was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The mother, Sukhdai, a resident of Kashlog panchayat of Solan district, came ahead as the donor – the best she could do to save her daughter. Despite having a donor, the widowed mother found herself unable to arrange this gigantic amount required for the transplant.

The call for help first appear on social media and made rounds of Facebook and WhatsApp before reaching the Hindi dailies. A couple of social organizations and individuals did extend monetary support, which proved to be insufficient.

The Government was supposed to take cognizance of the media reports instead of waiting for someone to guide the mother. 

The mother had made several pleas to the people and government to save her daughter who was then about to die. A group of local journalists had also met the Chief Minister on March 18, 2018, to bring the matter pertaining to the life and death of the said girl to the attention of the CM.  

Himachal Watcher had also talked to the mother and had published a story regarding the Chief Minister’s intervention.  

The CM had reportedly assured that the girl would be provided with the needed relief. He had reportedly told the delegation of journalists that he had established contact with the PGI asking it to begin the treatment of Deepika immediately.

However, in reality, she did not receive any relief (at least not timely) and succumbed to her poverty this morning.  

Here is what the RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya alleged in a social media post:

As a heartbreaking ending, a poverty-stricken, widowed mother ended up watching her daughter die in front of her eyes while their misery mocked at both of them. The ‘Beti Bachao’ campaign of the State Government failed her.

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Shimla MC allegedly makes insensitive comments over mishap caused by its carelessness




Shimla MC JE

Shimla: The change of power in Himachal Pradesh, as well as in the local bodies, has now begun to manifest itself through the attitude of government staff. Keeping with the trend, the staff of Shimla Municipal Corporation House also seems to have emboldened.

An aggrieved citizen brought to our attention his bitter confrontation with one of SMC’s Junior Engineers, who showed complete indifference to a risk that his own carelessness posed for the public safety.  

On March 8, 2018, a lady had fractured her leg after she stepped on an uncovered ‘water valve box’ or road box of the SMC. right outside the gate of Auckland House School for Boys. She was returning home after attending a parent-teachers’ meeting.

Another man, a father of two kids who attend nursery classes at same school witnessed the accident and was one of the first to come to help the woman. The fractured leg had left her groaning in pain.

It would be a mistake to consider it a trivial and isolated incident as several other spots in Shimla town pose the same threat to the public. While several road boxes are uncovered, some others are placed in a haphazard manner.

As a matter of fact, despite being a public safety concern, none of the local journalists found it worth highlighting.  

Himachal Watcher, in its previous article, had also tagged the Mayor, Kusum Sadret, to apprise her of this safety issue. 

After the lady was taken to the Indira Gandhi Medical College for treatment, the father made a complaint to the SMC on its helpline number 1916.

He requested the SMC to take up the matter immediately and cover the said box to avert further mishaps, especially with the nursery kids. Moreover, similar mishaps have been reported due to this carelessness of the Corporation, he told the SMC.

However, the SMC still not fixed it properly, rather, did a ‘Jugaad’ job (as shown in the picture below). 

Photo 1.0

Shimla MC JE

The man clicked a fresh photo on March 14 and made another phone call to the SMC to file a verbal complain about the poor job done by its field staff. The official on the other end could not give a satisfactory answer to the queries of the father.

Therefore, the SMC office further diverted him to the concerned Junior Engineer, who looks after the area. The father approached the JE phonically and expressed concern over the safety of his own children as well as several others who use this road.

The father told the JE that the field staff did not take this safety concern seriously despite the said accident and covered the road box with a damaged lid, which was still posing threat to children and pedestrians. The gap in the lid was still large enough to trap foot of a nursery kid. (See photo  1.0)

When questioned about the issue, the JE said the SMC don’t have a proper arrangement to cover it. He said it will be replaced later. The man, however, told the JE that even the temporary arrangement was made with equally irresponsible manner.

He reminded the JE that this box must be covered on priority bases as it is a matter of safety of the public, especially the school kids. The JE tried to wash his hands of saying it will be fixed later but did not give any readdressal period. He asked the JE to define an approximate deadline for the replacement.   

The father apprised the JE of the mishap with the lady, who had fractured her leg.

The JE, however, allegedly made a very rude and insensitive comment in the following words,

To logon ko bhi jameen par dekh ke chalana chahiye (People should walk with their eyes on the ground).

The complainant again asked the JE to at least provide an approximate time that the SMC would take to fix the box.

The complainant asked the JE,

Who will take the responsibility if a kid gets injured meanwhile SMC delay replacement of the damaged cover?

To the dismay of agitated father, the JE once again repeated,

Admi ki bhi jimedari hai ki wo jameen par dekh kar chale (It is the responsibility of people to keep their eyes on the ground while walking).

The father was not only offended but also stunned at the insensitivity shown by the JE towards the safety of kids and public in general. 


In a way, he told me to apply same to nursery kids. Is it a sensible thing to do to leave the kids on their own and turn a blind eye towards his own error,

the father told HW. 

It’s the height of irresponsibility. Despite being the responsibility of JE, he showed indifferent towards the safety of children and ignored his duty he is paid for. To make things more ugly, he did not hesitate to make offensive comments and insult a citizen, who had approached him with a valid complaint. 

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Woman fractures leg after stepping onto Shimla MC’s trap of negligence



Shimla: The Carelessness on the part of Shimla Municipal Corporation today led to an accident in which a woman fractured her leg. The woman was taken to the Indira Gandhi Medical College where the fractured leg received a plaster cast.

It implies that the woman’s mobility will be restricted for at least one month, affecting her entire routine. In addition, she will have to bear the pain inflicted due to the negligence of the civic body and pay the bill for treatment.  

This little gift from the SMC to the lady on the Women’s Day resulted in both physical and mental harassment. The woman can actually sue the civic body and demand compensation for her injury if she wants. 

The woman, who was identified as Anjana Janartha, told Himachal Watcher that she had come to attend a parent-teacher meeting at the Auckland House School for Boys.

After the meeting, she had barely taken a few steps when she suddenly stumbled. A few meters away from the school-gate, an uncovered water valve of Shimla MC, which was located in the middle of the road, waited for her.

The woman fell a victim to it as her step landed in the uncovered cavity around the valve, and she stumbled. The other parents present on the spot helped the woman. However, the accident twisted her leg badly.

Some of the parents, who talked to HW, complained that the cover of the valve is missing for years now. The absence of a stop tap cover turned it into a dangerous trap.

It was not an isolated incident. Last year, a woman had stumbled after stepping onto the same trap, but fortunately did not receive major injuries.

The parents said there had been occasions when children either stumbled or had narrow escapes. The children upto primary level are more vulnerable to this trap of ignorance.   

There are innumerous underground water valves in Shimla, which are lying without any cover or closure.  It is a matter of safety of the public and no compromise should be made in this regard.  

The SMC needs to take stock of such spots and cover them properly to avert any future mishaps.    

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