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Drought-like situation in Himachal PRadesh Drought-like situation in Himachal PRadesh

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Drought-like situation haunts Himachal as no rain, snow in stock, HP DM holds emergency meeting 

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Shimla: As snow and rain continue to evade the peak winter season in Himachal Pradesh, which is already facing 49 percent post-monsoon rain deficiency, the State Disaster Management called a meeting to embraces for the impact of the drought-like situation in the State.

Today, the maximum day temperature in the capital Shimla was recorded at 19 Degree Celsius while the day was hottest for Una at 27 Degree Celsius.

While a debate over the role of global warming behind erratic changes in the weather can also be heard, the Met Department blamed the western disturbances, which, it said, are not strong this year, hence, there is no precipitation.

The nigh temperature in winters remains close to seven to nine Degrees Celsius, which is four to five notches above from the average temperature witnessed during this time of the year. If the same pattern continues for the next two weeks, then it will not only hit the Rs. 20,000-crore apple industry but the tourist influx too.

The apple growers need moisture and several hundred chilling hours to ensure ample apple crop, and this year they are short of the required chilling hours. 

The apple production, which was over 850 metric ton in 2011, has already been reducing.

Other crops like green almonds, tomatoes, pears, apricots, cabbage, cauliflower etc will also be affected due to dry weather.

The hoteliers and ski resorts are witnessing fall in tourist influx as the chances of snowfall are scarce.

Meeting of HP Disaster Mangement 

In wake of the drought-like situation, the Principal Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) Onkar Chand Sharma held a meeting with senior officers of various departments including the Deputy Commissioners of all 12 districts video conferencing.

Onkar Sharma said the government has analyzed entire rainfall data of all districts. It was found that there is a deficiency of 49 percent in the State (post-monsoon).

The meteorological department has predicted chances of scattered to moderate rainfall during 23-24 January 2018. Except that, the weather is likely to remain mostly dry until January 22 and January 25 onwards. 

However, the government said that the state has received ample rainfall during December 2017, therefore, the Rabi crops and the drinking water supply are unaffected so far.

The Disaster Managment will prepare a contingency plan to combat the drought-like situations, said the Secretary. 

There are 45 labs of the IPH department for the testing of drinking water supply, he informed.

The Deputy Commissioners were asked to ensure water quality testing randomly up to the subdivision level and arrange water tankers in water-scarce areas as well as fodder for livestock.

All the districts were also directed to take remedial measures to stop contamination of drinking water sources. Besides it, the Secretary directed super chlorination in all districts to prevent water-borne diseases like Jaundice.

Special Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Shri D.C. Rana, Director, Indian Meteorological Department Shri Manmohan Singh, Chief Engineer of IPH Department, senior officers from Horticulture and Agriculture also attended the meeting.

Misc News/Press Release

CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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