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Sex racket busted in Manali hotel named ‘Dev Bhoomi’, 2 arrested, 2 rescued

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Manali sex racket busted

During past couple of years, police have busted over a dozen alleged sex rackets in Kullu and Manali region. The racket thrives with the onset of tourist season.

Manali: A week after a sex racket running in a hotel located in Shimla’s Dhalli area was busted, Kullu Police has now reportedly busted an international sex racket running in a hotel named ‘Dev Bhoomi’ in Manali.

As per the initial report, the police nabbed four persons including the hotel manager and 2 females of Tanzania and one of Uganda.

The Superintendent of Police, Kullu, Shalini Agnihotri, confirmed that police acted after receiving a tip-off about ongoing flesh trade at the said hotel.

The police used a decoy customer approached the hotel. A deal was finalized after which a team of police headed by the SSP Kullu nabbed the culprits red-handed.

Though initial report said two of them were arrested and two females of foreign nationality, who are said to have been forced into flesh trade, were rescued.

The manager was identified as Manjish Kumar of Mandi district.

The police initiated an investigation after registering cases against the culprits.

Rise in Cases of Flesh Trade

During past couple of years, police have busted over a dozen alleged sex rackets in Kullu and Manali region. The racket thrives with the onset of tourist season.

In July this year, local police had busted an online sex racket in which three persons were arrested while two girls were rescued in Manali. Through this online racket, girls were supplied to the hotel in Manali on demand.

The local police had also busted a sex racket in Manali in April this year in which five women, including a pimp, were arrested. In the same month, police had busted a sex racket in Mcleod Ganj in which arrests were made from Manali.

Similarly, a sex racket was busted in December 2016 in which two persons, including a woman, were arrested following a midnight raid at a hotel.

Before it, a manager of the hotel and two other persons were arrested from Manali in May 2015.

In most of the rackets, the majority of females involved hailed from neighboring states.

Misc News/Press Release

HP Cabinet Decisions: Approves 4 schemes, filling up several posts including 123 of Forest Guard

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HP Cabinet Meeting Sept 24, 2018

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in its meeting held on September 25, 2018,  launched four schemes including Vigyan Gram Scheme in five districts of the State,  Jal Se Krishi Ko Bal Yojna, Aaj Purani Raahon Se, and Dev Bhoomi Darshan Scheme. It also gave its approval to fill up various posts including 123 vacant posts of Forest Guards in Forest Department on a contract basis.

Bio-Methanation Plant in Kufri

The Cabinet gave its nod to engage M/s Bijson Innovations Pvt. Ltd., with Bijson Biofuel agency on PPP mode to Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain a Bio-Methanation Plant of 2.5 MTPD capacity using Horse dung/biodegradable waste to bio-fuel on turnkey basis on end to end basis (waste collection till elimination) at Kufri in Shimla district.

It decided that now entire power from the hydroelectric projects upto 25 MW capacity shall be mandatorily purchased by HPSEBL at the generic levelized tariffs as determined by H.P. Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Common Effluent Treatment Plant in Paonta Sahib

It provided 4412 sq. meter land of Industries Department at industrial area Gondpur in Paonta Sahib of Sirmaur district for setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plant to M/s Sirmaur Green Environ Limited as Special Purpose Vehicle on the lease of the token price of Rs. one by relaxing industrial policy.

Govt Jobs

Other than filling of 123 vacant posts of Forest Guards, the Cabinet gave its approval to fill up 35 vacant posts of Assistant Professor/equivalent in Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to start two new steams of B.Tech. Electrical Engineering and Diploma in Mechanical Engineering besides filling up of 21 posts of different categories in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Engineering College, Pragatinagar in district Shimla.

It also decided to create and fill up 10 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on a contract basis and fill up four vacant posts of Peon in Sainik Welfare Department on a daily wage basis.

It also gave its nod to fill up 14 posts of different categories in Himachal Hospital of Mental Health and Rehabilitation Shimla for its smooth functioning.

It accorded its approval to fill up two posts of Station Fire Officer, three posts of Driver cum Pump Operator and 20 posts of firemen on a contract basis in State Fire Department.

It decided to select 30 employees for posts of SAS-I &II from departments/boards, corporation etc. for training in Himachal Pradesh Public Administration Institute, Shimla through a competitive examination to be conducted by Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.

The Cabinet put its seal on the creation and filling up of 14 posts of different categories in Municipal Corporation Dharamshala on a secondment basis.

The Cabinet gave its nod to increase the financial assistance (Old age Pension) of ex-servicemen and their widows from Rs. 500 per month to Rs. 3000 per month.

It also decided to provide 13 motorcycles to the Police Department for maintaining smooth plying of vehicular traffic in Shimla city.

It also decided to release Good Performance Incentive to employees of Himachal Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation @ 8.33 percent of pay, subject to a ceiling of Rs. 35,000 for the financial year 2016-17.

The Cabinet decided to provide forest/government land measuring 1-22-28 hectare on a lease basis in favour of M/s Shakti Hydro Electric Company Pvt. Ltd. for setting up of 3.5 MW hydroelectric project in Mandi district.

The Cabinet also decided to enhance the honorarium by 20 percent per month from August 1 2018, of different categories of teachers appointed by the School Management Committee in various schools of the State Government.

Govt’s 4 Approved Schemes

Vigyan Gram Scheme will improve the yield of farm produce, income generation from off-farm activities as well as conservation and management of existing natural resources. It was announced for Gram Panchayat Chanju, Development Block Tissa in Chamba district, Mohani Panchayat in Banjar Development in Kullu district, Ghat Panchayat in Seraj Development Block in Mandi district, Piplidhar (Bainsh) Panchayat in Basantpur Development Block of Shimla district and Matal Bakhog panchayat in Rajgarh block of Sirmaur district.

The Cabinet decided to start ‘Dev Bhoomi Darshan Scheme’. The scheme envisages 50 percent concession in bus fare to senior citizens with age 70 to 80 years and above 80 years, it will be free.

The Cabinet gave its approval to launch ‘Jal Se Krishi Ko Bal Yojna’ in the State for water harvesting and runoff recycling of rainwater. It would increase the crop yields and farm income by optimum use of stored rainwater by constructing water conservation and harvesting structures such as Check Dams and Ponds. An outlay of Rs. 250 crore has been made for five years duration.

It also approved to start ‘Aaj Purani Raahon Se’ Scheme in the State saying it would boost cultural tourism and help in preserving the cultural identity of the State.

It also gave its consent to launch individual/Beneficiary Group Handpump Subsidy Scheme in the State. Under this scheme, 75 percent cost shall be paid by the beneficiary and the balance 25 percent shall be paid by the IPH Department.

The Cabinet gave its approval to rename Government Degree College, Sunni as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Degree College, Sunni in Shimla district.

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HP Govt hikes bus fare by 24.44%, fixes minimum fare at Rs. 6

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bus fare hike in Himachal pradesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in its meeting held today, has decided to increase minimum bus fare in the State. Now, the minimum bus fare will be Rs. 6 and the maximum distance for this fare will be three kms.

The decision has come as a major financial burden for the people dependent on public and private transport. The government was facing pressure from the private bus operators, who had also staged a protest by going on strike a couple of weeks ago.

At the same time, the public groups and several organizations had warned the government of dire consequences if the fares were hiked.

The government said that the fare approved are comparable  with those prevailing  in neighbouring states of Punjab (for plain areas Rs. 1.10 paisa per km for ordinary) and Uttrakhand (for hilly areas Rs. 1.72 paisa for ordinary), which were  fixed by Uttrakhand in 2017 (October) and about 3 months back in Punjab. 

The government justified that the bus fares were increased in the years 2010 and 2013 in the past. The percentage increase in the year 2010 compared to the previous fare was 33.33 percent and in the year 2013, the increase was 30.63 percent, it said.

The government said that the time span during which the fares were increased was only 3 years. However the present hike has come after a long period of 5 years and the percentage increase in the fare is 24.44 percent in plain areas and 20.69 percent in hilly areas in all categories of services i.e. Ordinary buses, Deluxe buses and Volvo buses.

The minimum fare has been fixed as Rs. 6/- and the maximum distance for which this fare will be applicable shall be three kms.

 The government said the fare hike is justified in view of the sharp increase in diesel prices. The diesel prices increased by about 44 percent after October 2017, it further added.

The decision is likely to face opposition from the public as well as oppositions.

List of New Rates Applicable

are Rates Area Present bus fare (per km) New    approved bus fare (per km) % Increase
Ordinary Buses Plain Area 90 112 24.44
  Hill Area 145 175 20.69
Deluxe Buses Plain Area 110 137 24.44
  Hill Area 180 217 20.69
Volvo/AC Buses Plain Area 220 274 24.44
  Hill Area 300 362 20.69
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Himachal witnesses fury of parting monsoon, claims 8 lives, triggers flash-floods, landslides

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Flash floods in Kullu

Shimla: The parting monsoon season has hit Himachal Pradesh hard as continuous rains caused flash floods and an alarming rise in water levels in Beas and Ravi Rivers along with their tributaries during last two days. About eight persons were said to have died in different regions while a half-dozen others were said to be missing. The government has issued a high-alert warning in Mandi for September 25 considering a prediction of heavy rainfall.

As per the Meteorological Department, the rains could continue on Tuesday as well. The State Disaster Management Authority has issued an avalanche warning in vulnerable areas of Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, and Kinnaur districts.

In Kullu, the tourism industry took a hit while farmers  in Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti faced losses as snow and rain destroyed their crops. All private and government schools in eight districts remained closed on Monday.

The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway (NH) and Pathankot NH were blocked at various points due to landslides and landslips. In Kullu, several bridges were said to have washed away as water level in Beas and its tributaries were recorded above the danger mark.

Kullu, Mandi and Chamba were worst hit as the furious Beas and Ravi swept away vehicles, habitats, and livestock. The people residing along river banks had to evacuate their homes.

The district administrations had to call the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to undertake rescue operations to get stranded locals as well as tourists in Kullu district to safety. The gates of Pandoh and Largi dams were opened to release excess water that also added to overflow in rivers.

In Shimla, the NH-5 and other roads were disconnected from upper parts of the district due to landslides. The Theog-Hatkoti and Narkanda roads were blocked on Monday as rain continued on the third day.

On Sunday, a truck union office at Bashing in Kullu was hit by gushing water of Beas and washed away two vehicles. The newly built helipad at Bahang near Manali is said to have been damaged as well.

As per the review meeting of the Cabinet held on Monday, 120 stranded persons were rescued from Koksar in Lahaul-Spiti, 23 from Marhi and 31 from Rohtang (Kullu). Apart from, it, 33 persons stranded at Phojal in Kullu were also rescued. Out of these, 21 persons were rescued by Air Force and 14 persons were rescued by adopting other means.

A chopper of the Indian Air Force was deployed in Kullu region to carry out rescue work in emergency situations.

As many as 45 vehicles were retrieved from Koksar in Lahaul-Spiti. Similarly, 600 students and teachers were shifted from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Chamba and 100 students from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Mehla in Chamba district. In addition to this, three families of Rakh in Chamba district were also shifted to PWD Rest House.

Twelve tourists from Sikkim State were evacuated from Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti to a Hotel at Keylong.
Due to heavy rains on 23rd and 24th September, 60 sheep/goats were buried alive due to a landslide at Bharmour.

In Chamba, the Chamba-Tissa, Salooni and Pangi road was closed to traffic. Deputy Commissioner Harikesh Meena estimated the losses at over Rs. 100 crores so far. The Pangi valley was also cut off following heavy snowfall at the Saach Pass. The Rohtang Pass also witnessed snowfall that led to the closure of the traffic.

Yesterday, the videos showing a Volvo bus and truck being swept away in Beas went viral on social media, creating a stir among the people. As per reports, water entered a truck union and washed away vehicles as well as three shops.

The government is assessing damages sustained in two days to be over Rs. 1200 crores. The government has written to the Centre for the release of funds considering the damage caused by natural disaster.

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