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Shimla Prisonbreak: HP Police nab all 3 accused within 48 hours

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Kanda Jail prisoners captured

Shimla: In a major breakthrough, all three undertrial Nepalese accused, who had escaped from the Model Central Jail Kanda on the intervening night of December 5 and 6, have been arrested from the forests of Sayari in Kunihar, Solan district today.

The swift action of the police is gathering praise for from people in a time when the police department was facing embarrassment in the Kotkhai’s Guidya rape and murder case.

The Director General of the Police, Himachal Pradesh, Somesh Goyal and the Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Soumya Sambasivan, confirmed the arrests. The DGP appreciated the joint efforts of the Shimla and Solan Police.  He also appreciated the support extended by the locals.

As per the initial reports, the police first nabbed Prem Bahadur (22) from the same area. By evening, with the clues provided by the captured accused, the police succeeded in tracing the Pratap Singh (27) and Leela Dhar (22).

After the police circulated the photographs of the three accused, some locals spotted them in the area. The local informed the police after which an extensive search operation was launched in the area on Friday.

After the first arrest last night, the police teams led by the SP, Shimla, Soumya Sambasivan, were hopeful of finding the remaining two accused in the same area.  While the first accused was captured easily from a roadside, the police had to chase the other two.

As per the police, the two accused jumped over the bushes but were caught in barbed wire fences.

All three accused were barefoot, and said to have sustained some injuries while scaling the 16-feet high wall that surrounds the Jail. It slowed down their pace, said the police.

Kanda Jail Break

One of the accused is said to have bought some biscuits from a shop, which aroused suspicion of police about possible aid from some other person.  Otherwise, the accused had no resources, money or contacts to get out of the state.

The accused had managed to cut the iron bars of their barrack with a steel cutter and cross the wall with the help of some pipes/rods that were lying inside the premises for the ongoing construction of a new block.

Bahadur is facing trial in a rape case, Pratap Singh for raping a minor girl, and Leela Dhar for an alleged murder..

Two sentries were suspended right after the jailbreak, but no one has questioned the higher officials of the Jail staff yet.  

The DGP admitted that it was a case of sheer negligence of the jail staff.  The incident also exposed the lethargy of the department in installment of sufficient CCTV cameras for the purpose of surveillance. The spot from where the prisoners scaled the wall had no CCTV. More revelations regarding the jailbreak would be available after inquiry, said the police. 

      

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Art & Culture

Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman 2017-18 Announced, These 4 Persons Would be Honored

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Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman 2017-18

Shimla– ‘Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman’ Award has been announced for the year 2017-18, informed the Secretary Academy Dr. Karam Singh on June 6, 2020.  

The recommendation of the jury the winners have been announced, he said, adding that four Shikhar Samman (awards) would be given in the field of language, culture and literature for two years and Rs. one lakh each would be given to each awardee.

He said that for the year 2017, Prof. Keshav Sharma would be honoured for contribution in Literature and special achievements. Folk Singer Mohan Rathour would be honoured with Language and Culture Shikar Samman.

For the year 2018, Dr. O.C. Handa would be honoured with Sahitya Shikhar Samman, whereas Dinesh Kumari of Kangra would be honoured in Art and Culture sector.

The ‘Shikhar Samman’ is given to the Himachali writers in the field of art and culture and to littérateurs from the country who worked for the promotion of Himachali language, traditions and culture.

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Health Dept Scam: One More Person Arrested by Vigilance

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Himachal-PRadesh-Health-department-scam

Shimla-In the alleged scam related to the purchase of medical equipment including PPE kits by the Health Department, Himachal Pradesh Government, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau has arrested another person – Prithi Singh – the man who had accepted to have recorded telephonic conversation with the ex-director Ajay Kumar Gupta.

Gupta was arrested on May 21 after the said recording appeared in media. Later, he was granted bail by a special court, Shimla (forest). The vigilance had questioned Prithvi Singh earlier but had not arrested him. Prithi had claimed that he recorded the audio because his payment worth a crore was put on hold. Gupta, Pritiv had told Vigilance, was demanding a bribe to release the payment. It wasn’t clear what charges have been labelled against Prithvi – an employee of the firm which had supplied equipment to the Health Department.

About the Case

Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajay Gupta was suspended after a 43-second-long audio clip leaked in the media on May 21, 2020. In the audio, two persons can be heard talking about bank accounts and transactions of Rs. 5 lakh. The charges are that the Director was allegedly asking for a bribe in purchase-related to health equipment in wake of the pandemic.

Additional Chief Secretary RD Dhiman had to hand over the case to the Vigilance department soon after the audio clip appeared. Ordering immediate probe is something that BJP is presenting as proof of State Government and Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s innocence.

Just after a week of an audio clip of an alleged deal between the Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajay Gupta and an employee and close aid of a politician appeared; Dr. Rajiv Bindal resigned from the position of State BJP Chief. His resignation was also accepted almost immediately. He claimed that he resigned on “moral grounds” as he was hurt after the party’s name was associated with the alleged scam. 

The opposition, some senior leaders of the ruling party, MLAs, and activists in the State have been demanding a probe under a sitting judge of the State High Court and the resignation of the Chief Minister as he holds the charge of the Health Ministry. They are of the opinion that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is just another tool under the State Government. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is running the Health Ministry, and the sudden resignation of BJP Chief Rajeev Bindal after a week the scam came to light has already raised several questions.

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Himachal- Unemployed Rural Persons Allowed to Work on Own Land Under MGNREGA

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Himachal Pradesh MGNREGA sceme for umemployed rural

Shimla-The State Government has allowed the unemployed rural persons in Himachal Pradesh to work on their own land under MNREGA, even if the work was not in the shelf of projects approved by the Gram Sabhas. The decision was taken during a review meeting of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department on June 6, 2020.

The State Government informed that total expenditure of Rs. 859 crore have been incurred thereby generating 260 lakhs person-days during last financial year whereas Rs. 54 crore has been spent and 22 lakh person-days were generated under MNREGA during the current financial year so far.

The Government informed that to ensure transparency in the works of MNREGA, the department has implemented SECURE software. Hundred percent payments regarding works under MNREGA has been implemented through DBT.  For worksite facilities, homemade protective face cover, soap and water were being provided to MNREGA workers. About 12835 MNREGA workers registered with Buildings and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board had completed 90 days, the Government informed.

Further, the Government informed that under the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojna 610 houses have been constructed during the last financial year and the target has been fixed to construct 998 houses during the current financial year. The department was also planning to impart rural mason training to the interested persons, the Government informed.

HP Government has launched Mukhya Mantri One Bigha Scheme recently by the convergence between National Rural Livelihood Mission and MNREGA.  Over 2000 Self Help Groups of women have applied under this scheme till date. The government claimed that it was laying special focus on skilling and placement in the formal sector for rural poor above the minimum wages. Under the Project UNNATI, a target has been fixed to train youth in various new trades such as Fashion Designing, Assistant Hair Stylist, Multi Skill Technician, Dairy Processing Equipments etc.

The State Government said that, under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, Rs. 23.70 crore have been released to the Jal Shakti Vibhag for the establishment of Sewerage Treatment Plants on a pilot basis in Thunag, Dharampur and Janjehli in Mandi district and Bangana in Una district. Projects of wayside amenities have been sanctioned in four districts viz. Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur and Una for Rs. one crore each.

The Government also said that the panchayats should enhance capacities to raise their sources of revenue.

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