Shimla: The fever of assembly elections is now receding after formation of the new government in Himachal Pradesh. However, to the dismay of the hospitality industry, the Christmas passed without snow, and now the sun haunts remaining three days of the year 2017. As per the Meteorological Department, the sun will be shining till January 2, 2018.
The maximum temperature in Shimla on December 28 was recorded at 17 degrees Celsius, 16.8 degrees in Dharamsala, 9.1 in Dalhousie and 14.5 degrees in Manali.
The last two weeks of December used to be all about the ‘New Year’ celebrations. For tourist towns like Manali and Shimla had become synonymous with white Christmas and New Year eve. Snowfall and mountains were what attracted tourist towards Himachal in chilling winters,
said a well-established hotelier of Shimla
Sadly, the unsustainable concocting activities of humans are upto destroying both of them.
However, the pattern of snow has become more or less erratic with a decrease in the snowfall. However, as per the feedback from the Tourism Department and hoteliers, this year tourist are enjoying the sunny days too. In other words, the hospitality industry might not suffer much due to the absence of snow.
As per the Tourism Department, 153.52 lakh tourists visited Himachal up to September during this year. Out of the total, 150.05 lakh were domestic and 3.77 lakh foreign tourists. This year, tourism contributed 6.8 percent to the domestic product of the state.
However, the agriculturists and those dependent on horticulture know only too well the significance of rain and snow. As per the scientist, the increase in the maximum and minimum temperatures has led to a reduction in overall precipitation and snowfall. The scholars suggest that the drop in apple production is a clear reflection of the decrease in snowfall.
The table given below shows the results of a study titled “Analysis of Total Precipitation and Snowfall Pattern over Shimla” published in the Journal of Agro-Meteorology in 2011:
The total precipitation and snowfall data of Shimla for 20 winter seasons from 1991-92 to 2010-11 was considered for the study. The winters in Himachal usually start during November and last upto March.
As per the results, it was found that both total precipitation and snowfall have decreased during last two decades. While the snowfall was found to be stable during January and February, it particularly decreased during the beginning of the winter season.
Abnormal climatic factors during winters, flowering and fruit development stage have lowered apple productivity of the state. The highly suitable apple production areas are now restricted only to higher hills of Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, dry temperate zones of Kinnaur and Spiti areas. The moderately suitable areas have now become marginal for apple production in the state,
says Prof S K Bhardwaj of Department of Environmental science, YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.
Further, the scientists suggested that glaciers were direct indicators of climate change.
The rate of retreat of glaciers in Baspa and Parvati basins has also been fast since 1962, in some cases as high as 172 meters per year. Area under snow cover too has changed between October to June in six basins,
says a Senior scientific officer at Himachal Pradesh Council of Science and Technology Dr S S Randhawa.
The official data also shows that the apple growers are taking to cultivation of vegetables and ‘low chill’ fruits like pomegranate and kiwi due to an erratic trend of snow in low and mid-altitude (1200-1800 metres) regions of Kullu, Shimla and Mandi districts. Others have begun to try intercropping in apple orchards with other crops or vegetables.
Image: File Photo Himachal Watcher
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.