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Yes, mafias active & crime on rise in Himachal, are BJP ruled states doing any better?

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Hp assembly elections 2017

Shimla: On Thursday, the star campaigner of the Bhartiya Janata Party for the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressed a rally in Kangra district.

He said Himachal has become a land of mafias. There are five types of mafia in the state – forest mafia, mining mafia, drug mafia, tender mafia and transfer mafia.

He said the BJP would end all these mafias and eradicate corruption. Other campaigners like BJP chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath are consistently targeting the State Congress over the corruption charges against the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his family.

Here, it is necessary to question the basis on which the BJP wants the people to trust on their promises. The simplest way is to compare BJP-ruled states with Himachal.

The safety of women is another major issue that the BJP is pitching repeatedly.The crimes against women are rising in Himachal, says BJP campaigner.

There are valid points in these allegations. The mafias are active and corruption is also evident from the condition of the public infrastructure like roads.

The Chief Minister had himself rebuked the Public Works Department for its nexus with the private contractors.

Over two dozen people had died and thousands of others were inflicted by the deadly jaundice outbreak in 2016. The reason was that the contractor was releasing untreated sewerage from the treatment plant. The plant was barely working despite receiving about 1.30 crores per year.

Shimla city suffered critical water-shortage just because the government did not maintain the supply pipes and a huge amount was lost in leakage only.

The solid waste management is in tatters. All major towns are grappling with mounting heaps of garbage. Shimla city witnessed no improvement in the working of the sanitation workers despite change in the power after MC elections held this year.

The horrific case of gangrape and murder of a 16-years-old girl in Kotkhai in July this year and the mysterious death of the forest guard Hoshiyar Singh in Karsog division in June raised the alarm over increasing corruption.

The shoddy probe conducted by the HP Police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) and arrest of eight police officials including the Inspector General Zaidi put the faith of people in the government at stake.

It is true that these evils have taken larger forms in Himachal.

For instance, the sitting Congress MLA of Bilaspur Bambar Singh Thakur allegedly thrashed the DFO over encroachment on forest land. A few months later, he was heard allegedly insulting and threatening a senior doctor posted at the district hospital.

The MLA allegedly wanted the doctor to make manipulations in a disability certificate to please one of his supporters. A transfer to remote and tribal area was the ultimate threat that the MLA was allegedly using.

The General Secretary of HP Congress Committee, Ram Lal Thakur, had alleged him of carrying out illegal businesses including mining. Ram Lal had also demanded a CBI inquiry against Bambar Thakur. 

The transfer of the young IPS Officer Gaurav Singh, also called Baddi’s Singham, verified increasing influence of the mining mafia and involvement of politicians and MLAs in patorinizing them.

The BJP has promised to eradicate this corruption and make the State a better place. However, on what basis the BJP is making these claims? Did the crime rate drop down in BJP-ruled states? Did crime against women witness any decline in these states?

A report published by the Fact Catcher in February 2017 said that the BJP-ruled states have higher rates. The report had also alleged that the BJP was trying to manipulate crime related data of Uttar Pradesh.

Crime rate in BJP ruled states

Courtesy: Fact Check

It does not make the Congress or Samajvadi Party any better.

The communalism already existed in the Indian society and the politicians had been making full of it.

However, during the three-year reign of the BJP communalism and religion have again come into lime-light upto such an extent that people were lynched by mobs. Now, the cows holds more value than human lives. 

On the other hand, the big promises made by the Congress in its manifesto prove that the government employees are indeed the deciding vote-bank in Himachal. Transfer near home or to their desired region is one of the biggest temptations for the employees.

Transfer has always been the best way to deal with honest employees or those belonging to opposition.

The details of income and assets given in their affidavits filed by the contesting candidates of both major parties, the infighting for the tickets and shifting loyalty by swapping parties tell us that they are after power and wealth.

Why should we believe the BJP, Congress or any other parties when they are more or less the same behind the curtains?

As a matter of fact, HP BJP leaders in February had submitted a chargesheet with the office of the Governor. The party had level serious allegations against as much as 41 persons including the Congress MLAs, Ministers, Bureaucrats etc. 

Anil Sharma, ex-minister, was also in this list. However, now BJP has inducted him and has forgotten the chargesheet.  

Rest, the public had given PK Dhumal two chances to prove it is better than Congress. The point is to make these facts count on the polling day.

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 7 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 world around him in his DSLR lens.

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BJP leasing out Govt land in Shimla worth crores to RSS-linked organizations at a throwaway price: CPI(M)

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HP Govt leasing out land in shimla to rss

Shimla: One day ahead of the Shimla Municipal Corporation’s meeting on June 29, Bhartiya Janata Party-led state government is facing criticism over the proposal to lease out government land to organizations associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a throwaway rate.

At a time when the city needs land for public facilities like playgrounds for children, parking lots/complexes, community buildings etc., the government is being alleged of losing focus on the priorities.

The former Mayor of Shimla city and leader of the CPI(M), Sanjay Chauhan, on Thursday said the state government has decided to lease out two pieces of land owned by the HP Public Works Department worth crores to two of RSS’s organizations at a throwaway price, which is a complete misuse of the public property and resources, he said.

He said the current government has decided to lease out 22669.38 square meter land in Tutikandi in Shimla city to Matrivandana – an organization linked to the RSS.

Similarly, he further alleged, a piece of land measuring 257.15 square meters is being given to Vivekanand Kendra in Nabha at a throwaway price.

The government is rendering landless farmers homeless and snatching away their livelihood by evicting them from forest land and felling apple-laden trees, but at the same time, it is offering land to organizations which would use them to expand their propaganda, Chauhan said.

He further pointed out that the government has not provided even two Biswa piece of land to poverty-stricken, homeless families to build homes, however, it did decide to provide land worth crores in the middle of the city to the said organizations.

The party said the government is working on the direction of the RSS and deviating from its constitutional duties. The party has demanded a roll-back of these decisions at the earliest or to face public protests.

The land belongs to the people of Shimla and it must be utilized for their facilities instead of gifting it to organizations which are working to promote disharmony among the people.

Chauhan said.

Further, the SMC has proposed a hike in the honorarium given to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Ward Councillors. A proposal to buy a new car for the Mayor is also on the list. The Deputy Mayor has also asked SMC to provide him with an official vehicle.

The SMC House is expected to witness a ruckus in tomorrow’s meeting as half a dozen of BJP’s Ward Councillors had demanded the removal of Mayor and Deputy Mayor following their failure to run the city efficiently.

Earlier, the Councillors had also submitted a written complaint regarding the duo to a minister. Some of them had even threatened to boycott the meeting if the demand was not met. However, no notice was served to move a dissolution motion.

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A dozen of BJP Councillors demand removal of Kusum Sadrate as Mayor, warn of boycott

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MAyor kususm sadret

Shimla: The Shimla city is facing more neglect from the Municipal Corporation as it continues to be in a defunct state owing to the internal feud between the Ward Councilors and the current Mayor Kusum Sadrate and Deputy Mayor Rakesh Sharma.

The Mayor was seen running after the annoyed Councillors to save her seat while the Deputy Mayor has no say.

A couple of days ago, about 11 BJP Councilors had reportedly expressed their disappointment with the performance of the Mayor by submitting a written complaint to the government.

The Councillors have warned the government that they will boycott the upcoming monthly meeting of the SMC House if the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were not removed.

The Sadrate has completed one year in the office of the Mayor on June 20, which made the situation more awkward for the party. 

In order to avert an embarrassment, the duo would have to make sure that majority of BJP Councillors attend this meeting.

The Councillors alleged the Mayor of displaying arbitrary attitude while conducting the business of the house. They also complained that majority of the developmental projects in their wards are either stuck or progressing at a snail’s pace.

The Councillors say they are not able to face the people of their respective wards, especially after what happened during the water-paucity.

Moreover, the Councillors were not happy with Mayor’s decision to leave the city for about a week to attend a conference in China amid an acute shortage of drinking water supply.

If that was not enough, she denied the suffering of the people by rejecting reports of a water-crisis situation in the town. According to the Mayor, the crisis was just a media hike and propaganda of the opposition.

At the same time, the Councillors are complaining that despite such clamour in the city, the Mayor is still not available even for them as she hardly stays at the office.

The Mayor reportedly joined the Chief Minister’s visit to Sawada while the Councillors were waiting for her to arrive at the office.

The Councillors said the Mayor is seen attending events or photo-shoots with Chief Minister or the Ministers, and rest of the time is spent in visits to the party office and Secretariat.

Further, these Councillors have been maintaining that the Mayor was not able to run the business of the MC House properly. The meetings of the House were not conducted regularly, and whenever they are conducted, there was hardly any time to debate the issues of the public interest. The last meeting did not last for even half-an-hour, said one of the offended Councilors.

Councillor Arti Chauhan has asked the Mayor to resign by taking moral responsibility of failure to fulfill the commitments made to the people before the elections.

Another Councillor said they had not elected Sadrate to enjoy tours and photo-shoots.

While the Mayor was in China, for the first time, Councillors and the Deputy Mayor of the ruling party had staged a walked out from a meeting when they were cornered by the opposition over the issue of failure to respond properly to the water crisis.

The rebel Councillors also expressed concern over degrading state of sanitation as the workers remained on strikes as many as four times during last one year. Further, the workers are now annoyed with the MC for its decision to out-source the door-to-door garbage collection in five Wards to a private contractor.

The Mayor, however, said she has done the best she could do. She showed faith in the government and her organization by denying news of revolt among the Councilors.

In the 34-member SMC, BJP had managed to grab power of the civic body for the first time in the elections held in 2017. While BJP has a support of 19 Councillors including two independent, Congress is not far behind at 14. The CPI (M) has one elected Councillor in the house too.

Earlier, the opposition Congress had almost convinced one of the BJP’s Councillor to support a motion to dissolve the MC and dethrone the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The Councillor was reportedly offered the Deputy Mayor’s chair as an incentive. The opposition had even taken signatures of 14 Councillors who were supporting the dissolution of SMC.

However, the party high command had somehow managed to silence this Councillor as well others protesting against the current Mayor.  As it turned out, the situation has now become more complicated as the Councillors report no change in the attitude of the Mayor. 

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BJP MLA deceiving CM Jairam and people by re-laying foundation stones: Congress

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Narendra Bragta re-laying foundation stones in shimla

Shimla: Ahead of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s Kotkhai visit on June 20, 2018, the elected legislator of Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency, Narendra Bragta, has been alleged of duping the Chief Minister as well as the public by re-laying foundation stones of the projects which were already sanctioned and the foundation stones of which were already laid.

It would be Chief Minister’s first visit after being elected in 2017 elections to the legislative assembly, and he is expected to lay foundation stones of various projects.

These allegations were labelled by the members of the Executive Committee of Congress in Jubbal-Nawar-Kotkhai division including the President Moti Lal Derta, Vice-President Ravindra Chauhan, and General Secretary Rakesh Chauhan in a joint media statement on Monday.

Not only this act of deception is denting the dignity of the CM’ chair but the people are also making fun of it.

The Committee has counted about six such projects, some of which are said to be in the list of foundation stone laying ceremonies in the constituency.

The Committee asked Bragta whether it is true or not that the foundations stone of the Kotkhai bus stand was laid on August 9, 2012, by the then-Transport Minister Mahendra Singh Thakur in his presence.

Similarly, the foundation stone of the Darkoti-Garavag irrigation scheme was already laid by then MLA Rohit Thakur in September 2017. The Committee pointed out that Himachal had received total funds of Rs. 338 crores and the Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency was given highest funds worth Rs. 63 crores for nine irrigation schemes. However, the current BJP government could not even complete the process of their tendering in last six months, said Congress.

The Committee further said the funds for the construction of an additional block of the State Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) in Kharapathar were also sanctioned in 2014 during the tenure of Congress government. The tender for the same was already awarded in November 2014, and BJP had played no role in it.

In 2008, Rs. 3 crores were sanctioned for the Saraswati Nagar stadium. These funds were, however, misused indiscriminately by near and dears of the MLA. Bragta had made claims of making it a world-class stadium, which did not happen, said the Committee, adding that all sports activities of the college were hit as the site of the proposed stadium remained in tatters until the previous MLA Rohit got another Rs. 35 lakh sanctioned to make it even.

Similarly, the Committee said, funds for the Pragtinagar Engineering College were also sanctioned during the previous Congress government in 2016-17 and the work was going on a war footing, and it does not make any sense to lay the foundation stone of such project.

These were the efforts to cover the failures of the government during last six months of its tenure while the people of the constituency still awaited deliverance of basic amenities, said the Committee.

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