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Shimla bypass turns into illegal muck dumpyard, Ne’er-do-well bureaucrats in deep slumber

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Illegal muck dumping sites in Shimla city

The illegal dumping is mostly carried out during night hours by tempo-trucks and pick-ups with fake, partially visible or no number plates.

Shimla: A rise in illegal muck dumping in Shimla’s urban area is understood as the generation of construction waste is distinctly correlated with the rate of construction. Similarly,the inaction of the ne’er-do-well government departments including the Shimla Municipal Corporation, Himachal’s Public Works, Forest, and Police Departments do not surprise us.

There are strict rules and regulations defined in the MC of Shimla (Control and Regulation of Muck Dumping By-Laws, 2012) regarding the muck dumping. Unfortunately, the Corporation find comfort in ignoring their implementation.

The owners of the construction sites or the contractor are indulged in illegal dumping of muck on the roadsides of the urban Shimla.

Before moving on to more details, take a look at the picture below that shows a heap of illegally dumped muck at the gate of the MC Abattoir near Lal Pani:

Illegal muck dumping in Shimla

Tempo-trucks/pickups transport and dump the construction waste at the same spot after it gets dark. Himachal Watcher had highlighted the issue previously too. These tempo-trucks and pickups freely move in the city at night like the police do not exist.

The illegal dumping is mostly carried out during night hours by tempo-trucks and pick-ups with fake, partially visible or no number plates.

shimla muck generation

File Photo HW

The entire Shimla-Dhalli bypass road has become an open dumpyard. As the violators do not attract any legal action from any department, they have become so fearless that they dump construction waste anywhere.

shimla muck dumping

Illegally dumped muck obstructs the Shimla-Dhalli bypass road

The SMC and HP PWD do not bother to remove the waste that, in some cases,cause partial obstruction in the traffic lanes.

The muck has blocked the drains and posse risk to drivers as it spreads onto the road as well. There are several such small heaps of muck that are distinctively visible to all except the responsible departments. 

Several such heaps are lying on the roadside for several months as the HP PWD or the SMC also ignored them.

Illegally dumped muck on Shimla-Dhalli bypass road

The bureaucrats might have pass the tough competitive examinations to join the State or Indian Civil Services, but their attitude towards public service and sense of commitment remain strikingly below average.

It doesn’t mean there are no honest and hardworking bureaucrats and government employees. Therefore, without any intention to hurt the sentiments of honest bureaucrats, we refer only to the lousy leeches feeding on the blood of taxpayers.

The construction activity is only increasing in the urban Shimla despite intervention of the National Green Tribunal. However, the bureaucrats are not ready to move a muscle.  

Shimla-Dhalli bypass

As per the National Green Tribunal in its recent Judgement in the Yogendra Mohan Sengupta Vs. Union of India case,

The Promoter shall submit the muck/ debris disposal and management plan and ensure that the muck/ debris is disposed off at the designated muck/ debris disposal sites.

It also said,

Construction waste arising due to earthwork during construction shall be used for landscaping within the premises and no debris is allowed to be disposed outside the premises.

If we take a look at various rules described under the MC By-Laws 2017,  movement of the vehicles carrying muck is prohibited after the sunset and before the sun rise except in some special cases. The normal timings for dumping muck in the dumping site are between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

No one is allowed to carry the digging and excavation of plot or land after sunset and before sun rise, says the By-Laws

The person, after obtaining the sanction of building map from the competent authority or before raising the construction at site, is required to install a painted board of the size of 3′ x 2′. On this board, the person is required to clearly indicate the name of dumping site allotted to him for the purpose of dumping muck  alongwith the number and date of the sanction, commencement of construction and hours during which construction can be carried out, time when excavation can be done,  nature of sanction, the area of construction sanctioned on each floor and the telephone number of the Control Room set up by the Corporation to address the grievances.

On being found violating these rules more than once, the By-Laws has a provision to impose a penalty ten times of the original rate at the first instance and twenty times at the second instance.

If the violation is reported for the third time or more, the amount of penalty would be thirty times of the actual rate of dumping as fixed by the Corporation as per Clause 5 of these Bye-laws.

In case of repeated violation, in addition to penalty, the corporation can withdraw facilities like water, electricity and others civic amenities, and withdraw recognition and registration. (Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 read with Section 260 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.)

It is a symptom of corruption when despite existence of several strict laws, majority hardly follow them. In fact, why anyone would follow these rules when the monitoring authorities can be easily deterred from their duty by offering direct or indirect benefits.  The culture of corruption is not unknown to anyone. Rather, people have accepted it as a permanent tradition. 

Sadly,the government is ignoring the consequences that will follow such a destruction of fragile ecology and beauty of Shimla. The environmental protection, afforestation, conservation etc. are still alien to our bureaucracy and public.

Himachal Watcher requests its readers/ citizens to report instances of illegal dumping to the concerned authority or share it with us (with photographs/videos.)

Full Text: MUNICIPAL CORPORATION SHIMLA (CONTROL AND REGULATION OF MUCK
DUMPING) BYE-LAWS, 2012

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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Ruling Govt taking cover of Congress misdeeds to justify Karnataka episode

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https://himachalwatcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Karnatak-governor-decision.jpg

Shimla: Congress party in Himachal Pradesh today staged a protest against the capricious decision of the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, to invite Bhartiya Janata Party to form Government despite the written statement of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) alliance claiming a clear majority. It has created a constitutional controversy.

If that was not enough, Yeddyurappa swore as the Chief Minister without proving a majority and had even announced waiver of all farm loans of up to Rs 100,000. Governor even appointed the BJP’s K G Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker.

This action of Governor has shattered the belief of those who honoured the constitution and political ethics.

A valid point that the Congress has raised here is that the ruling government did not play by the same rule in Manipur elections. In the 2017 elections, Congress won 28 seats in the 60 member House, BJP had managed to win 21 seats. However, governor Najma Heptulla invited the BJP leaders to form the government and denied Congress a chance to form the ministry.

What’s the biggest security a common man has in a democracy like India? It’s the constitution. This single weapon can set the entire country back on track if the people knew how to use it.

Anyway, politicians are taking care of it for you now. The ruling government has just over-rode the constitution, which is going unnoticed because the majority of the public has no idea about the business going on at the top level of governance.

In the present case, the Supreme Court of India intervened and overruled Governor Vajubhai and asked B S Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the assembly at 4 pm on Saturday. Otherwise, the Governor had given BJP 15 days for horse trading. The Supreme Court only followed the constitution. The court has also proved the decision was unconstitutional.

It is not that opposition parties have always played fair, but the ruling party is taking unfairness to the next level.

There are only three ways in which BJP can form a government in Karnataka: by convincing elected lawmakers of Congress or JD (S) to resign or make them disappear today before floor test or create defection through horse-trading. Sadly, the Governor listened to the high-command and opted to be part of this game.

Another ironical fact is that BJP is trying to counter the resistance to its game plan by referring to Congress’s decades-old controversial decisions like the emergency imposed in 1975 and taking down BJP governments in four states including Himachal using tactics of defection. This is what the Spokesperson of BJP in Himachal, Shashi Datt Sharma said in a press statement on Friday.

The BJP followers are saying that the party is taking revenge from Congress.

Sharma alleged that Congress has always used politics of repression and at the same time the party is adopting the same tactic.

Why is the ruling government criticising as well adopting the same tactics at the same time? Why take the shield of bad deeds of past governments to justify own misdoings? What would be the difference between two parties then? Why is the public ok with it?

This trend of over-riding the constitution will take a toll on the public. No one is supposed to be above the constitution in India. However, this seems no more a rule of the political game.

One should wonder who will protect honest RTI activists, journalists, judges, or anyone resisting against government’s dictatorship when the constitution mo more has their back.

But, for now, no one is even close to understanding why they should be scared about it.

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Findings of magisterial probe into Nurpur Tragedy exposes HPPWD’s blunder

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Probe report of Nurpur school bus accident

Kangra: The Additional District Magistrate (ADM) has completed the magisterial probe ordered into the school bus accident in Nurpur on April 9, 2018, and submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner.   

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led State Government had ordered the inquiry after unrest broke out among the people following the tragedy, which caused loss of 28 people including 24 children.  While 23 had died on the spot, one succumbed to injuries a few days later at a hospital. 

While Hindi and English Dailies told an altogether different story related to the report of the magisterial probe, a Government spokesperson today made some of the original findings public.   

Findings of the magisterial probe into Nurpur School Bus Mishap

1.   The driver was never challaned/charged even once for the offence of over speeding, drunken driving and rash driving. 
2.   The accident did not seem to happen due to any mechanical failure.
3.   The site of the accident was a black spot with loose soil and damaged edges abutting a landslide zone with cliff and did not have any crash barriers and the road formed sort of craters.
4.   The bus should have been on the left-hand side but due to the absence of eyewitnesses, it couldn’t be ascertained how and why the bus went to the right side of the road.
5.   As per a survivor, a 10-year-old, who was sitting on the right side window seat, divulged that a motorcyclist came from opposite direction after which the bus rolled down
6.   Since there was no eyewitness of the accident,  it is believed that just to save the motorcyclist, the driver, in a reflex action,  had negotiated the bus to the right-hand side, misjudging the space on the right-hand side road. He could not have been able to control the bus which had reluctantly rolled down. 
7.   The accident has occurred under unverifiable circumstances. The road was straight, not sloping up or down 
8.   The driver was never seen driving bus in a rash manner and reported to be a mature person
9.   The road on this point is in very poor condition, uneven and forming fatal craters. The edges of the road on this spot are badly broken supported/reinforced with no crash barriers/parapet.

 

What caused misreporting?

Surprisingly, the Dailies reported that the inquiry found a human error on the part of the driver Madan Lal (67).  These reports further said the driver was looking back as children were making noise or suggested that the driver might have dosed-off on a duty, which is not hectic in nature and includes boarding-off children after every 10 minutes.

The road was tip-top and was not in poor condition, these reports said.  It is not clear who fed the media this story.

However, the findings of the report have made it clear that the Public Works Department shares the responsibility for the massacre.

That’s why the government has haphazardly tarred the patch of over one kilometre and constructed new parapets on the spot from where the bus had skid-off the road.

Now, the PWD is also installing crash barriers too.

magisterial probe report in Nurpur Bus accident

Photos: Amar Ujala

Take a look at the two pictures. One of them was taken on the day of the accident and the second one clicked recently and published in the Hindi Daily Amar Ujala in its May 9, 2018, edition. The picture speaks itself. 

At the same time, the parents, based on the said media reports, questioned the findings and demanded a separate, most preferably a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The shattered parents of the 24 children including some who had joined the school a day ago killed in the perhaps one of the most tragic and heart-breaking road accident in Himachal Pradesh.

Most of the kids aged between five years to 10 years and some families lost more than one child, which was the worst part of it. It is too early for children of this age to die a horrible death, which cannot be called an accident in a literal sense.

The mass cremation of small pyres weighed heavy on everyone who keeps a heart.

However, it is to be seen whether the State Government would take a action this time or will opt to save the skin of responsible bureaucrats and just move on like the governments have been doing in previous cases. 

If the Government would not deliver justice to the victims of this massacre by taking action this time, there would be more such tragedies.

In fact, the reason the people keep dying in road accidents or due to jaundice outbreaks is that no action is ever taken against the responsible government officials, especially the bureaucrats.

In case the Government chose to patronize the sinful officials, the public must not remain silent this time.  

We believe the mass cremation of small pyres is too heavy to be overlooked for anyone who keeps a heart.   

Top Photos: Amar Ujala

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Amid Shimla city’s water-crisis, MC alleged of putting people on hold for Hotels, VIP areas under central zone

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Shimla city's water crisis

Shimla: Amid Shimla Municipal Corporation’s poor response to acute water crises in the city, the allegations have appeared that the VIP areas and hotels under the central zone are being given priority in the distribution of water. The tanks in VIP areas and hotels were full while the commoners were put on hold for them.

Opposed to equal distribution of the available supply, on Tuesday, as per the May 09, 2018, edition of a Hindi Daily and other media reports, the SMC supplied water to localities under central zone like the Mall Road, Ridge, Lower Bazaar, Ram Bazaar, Middle Bazaar, and some areas of Sanjauli. The reports alleged that these areas house majority of hotels, VIP residents, and officials.

Even BJP’s own Ward Councilors are now feeling agitated over the poor management of the SMC under the command of new Mayor. The people are questioning whether the Mayor and Deputy Mayor possess enough knowledge about managing a city with 1.70 lakh population?  

However, these Councilors are not able to muster enough courage to criticize their own party.  

The manifesto of the Bhartiya Janata Party for the SMC elections in 2017 had promised betterment in the water supply. It was one of the most important agenda before the elections.  

However, the situation has become so ugly that public toilets in the city were locked as there was no water for cleaning.  The government, as well as private offices, are also bearing the brunt of SMC’s miss-management.

For last two weeks, the people have no option but to buy water even for drinking. The SMC is receiving over 50 calls per day seeking supply through water-tankers.

The peak tourist season has begun on a bad note for Shimla. The hospitality industry is also surviving on either SMC’s alleged favouritism or through private tankers.

Betterment of Water-Supply in BJP’s Manifesto for SMC Elections  

The party had promised in the manifesto that the leakage in the main pipelines of the water supply schemes would be fixed to improve water supply. Natural resources would be cleaned and used to supplement the main water supply. The BJP has promised to cut water-bills and that the water would be lifted from Kol Dam to fulfil the demand of water in the city.

Unfortunately, a large amount of water is either wasted due to leakage in pipelines that awaits repair and water-tanks in the city including those of residential, commercial and government buildings. The water-tanks of the SMC can still be seen overflowing.

The State High Court has also noted that either water is waste in leakage in supply pipelines or being stolen through illegal connections. 

The supply to the city has dropped down to 23 – 27 MLD per day against the demand of about 45 MLD per day.  About 10 MLD is wasted due to the leakage.  In times of water-crisis, there is no effort to encourage people to not overlook leakages in their tanks or pipelines.

Rainwater harvesting is not even in the SMC books. 

The SMC has faced water crises earlier too, however,  but nothing was learnt to deal with water-shortage in future. Moreover, the formation of Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited (SJPNL) will take its time.     

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