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Legal notice to CM Jairam, 7 others in controversial HPPSC appointments 

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Notice in HPPSC Appointments

The careers of students have been given in the hands of those who were handpicked and appointed to these positions illegally

Shimla: On January 23 this year, an RTI activist had written a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Governor Devvrat Acharya, Chairman of UPSC, and Central Vigilance Commissioner seeking action against gross violations of the Supreme Court’s strict directions while making appointments of the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission Members and Chairman.

After no action came from the PMO or others, now the activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya has issued a legal notice to the Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur,  Virbhadra Singh, former CM, Retd. Major General Dharm Vir Singh Rana, HPPSC Chairman and its Members, Dr Man Singh, Mohan Chauhan, Meera Walia, and Rachna Gupta.

Through his counsel, the activist has sought the resignation of all HPPSC members including the Chairman within 30 days terming their appointments as illegal.

The procedure for filing a contempt petition in the apex court will be initiated on the expiry of the notice period, warned Bhattacharya.

Referring to guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for the selection of the Chairmen and Members of the State Service Public Commissions in a case titled as Govt. of Punjab vs Salil Sabhlok, the activist said,

Through this order, the Supreme Court has expressed its concern regarding the prevalence of arbitrariness in the selection of these officials. To rule out such situations the Judges issued guidelines, which were supposed to be incorporated by 2013.

The activist argued that the order clearly states:

Given the experience in the making of such appointments, there is no doubt that until the State Legislature enacts an appropriate law, the State of (in this case) Punjab must step in and take urgent steps to frame a memorandum of procedure and administrative guidelines for the selection and appointment of the Chairperson and members of the Punjab Public Service Commission, so that the possibility of arbitrary appointments is eliminated.

 

He further added,

But very surprisingly, the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh has ignored the directions of the Supreme Court on this issue, and despite my repeated reminders to them, it failed to implement the said orders.

Earlier too, the complained was made to the former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Governor, and the Advocate General about the violations of the said order while appointing the then Chairman of HPPSC, Sh.K.S. Tomar and Member Meera Walia.

No action was initiated by the then Virbhadra Singh Government. After it, two more members were appointed by the previous Government in violation of the settled guidelines of the Supreme Court,

the activist alleged.

Presently, the new government headed by the CM Jai Ram Thakur went one-step ahead and appointed one Rachna Gupta as the Member of the HPPSC within 15 days of taking over the power.

Although there was no vacancy, still Rachna Gupta was appointed without amending the HPPSC Act, which provides for only two Members and a Chairman.

However, because of the recent appointment of Rachna Gupta, the number of members rose to four, he said.

Again, while selecting Rachna Gupta, the Supreme Court guidelines were violated and the entire matter was dealt with in secrecy, alleged Bhattacharya.  

Therefore, now I have decided to take this matter back to the Supreme Court by way of Contempt Petition because the HP Govt. knowingly violated the settled rules and guidelines of SC India, 

he said.

He further expressed concern over the fate of aspirants/students. A great public interest is involved in this issue because the careers of students have been given in the hands of those who were handpicked and appointed to these positions illegally, he said.

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 9 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 the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Records 81% Turnout in 3rd Phase of PRI Polls, Congress Make a Come Back in Theog MC after 20 Years

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third phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The third phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutes in Himachal Pradesh recorded around 81 percent polling on January 21, 2021. The elections were held in 1137 Gram Panchayats in this phase. The highest 94 percent polling was registered in Lodhi Majra Panchayat of Nalagarh development block in Solan district. This information was released by a spokesperson of HP Election Commission

District-wise, Sirmaur recorded 85% turnout, followed by Solan (85%) Kullu (84%),Chamba (82.8%), Mandi (82.7%), Una (81.1%), Shimla (82%),Una (81%), Bilaspur (80.3%), Hamirpur (78.1%), Kangra (78%), and Kinnaur (70%).

 Further, 48 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation also cast their votes.

The Spokesperson said that the poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state.

Counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on January 22, 2021, at block headquarters.

Congress made a come back to Theog Municipal Council after 20 years. While Vivek Thapar was elected as the Chairman of the MC, Reen Roy was elected as the Vice-Chairman. Congress has already registered wins in Rohru and Rampur MCs and Chopal, Kotkhai and Sunni Nagar panchayats.

Theog MC Polls 2021

Congress After Registering Victory in Theog MC Elections

The HPCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore, while speaking to media persons yesterday, said that of the total seven Wards of the Theog MC, Congress has claimed victory on four wards while remaining three Wards went to independent candidates. Congress alleged that BJP had left no stone unturned to pressurize, lure, and threaten elected members to gain their support. 

Rathore mocked at the defeat of BJP MP’s bother in Mandi district. Further, the candidate in Ghumarwin of Bilaspur – home district of BJP Chief Jagat Prakash Nadda-  had also faced defeat, Rathore said. BJP candidate in Sujanpur – home to Union Minister for State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur-could also not register a victory and lost, he said.

Congress also registered a victory in elections to Parwanoo MC. Kuldeep Singh Rathore, said that winning candidate Nisha Sharma joined Congress yesterday. She had won twice from the same Ward on BJP ticket. This time, she was denied ticket and fought the elections as an independent candidate. 

Parwanoo Counciloor Nisha sharma

Nisha Sharma Joins Congress

Rathore alleged that the government has been trying to threaten Nisha by registering a fake case of illegal construction. Similarly, husband of Chandrawati – another Congress councilor in Parwanoo- who runs a depot was fined wrongfully yesterday, Rathore alleged.   

While BJP has been making claims of victory on the majority of seats, Congress had been terming it as a bluff.  Also, it had been alleging BJP of misusing government machinery. Independent candidates are being bought and allurements are being given to winning Congress candidates, Rathore alleged.  

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Himachal: 80% Voter Turnout in 2nd Phase of Panchayat Polls

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Second phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Election Commission informed that the elections for 1208 Gram Panchayats were held today in the second phase in which around 80 percent polling was registered.

Overall, 75 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation cast their votes as per the standard operating procedures.

The highest polling has been registered in Nandpur Gram Panchayat of Nalagarh developmental block of Solan district where the voter turnout was reported to be 96 percent.

The poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state. The counting of votes for Pradhan, Up-Pradhan and members was under the process and the results were awaited till late evening. The counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on 22 January 2021 at block headquarters.

Election-related process and results have been uploaded for the general public on sechimachal.nic.in.

The election for third and final phase for 1137 Panchayats would be held on 21 January 2021.

The first phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions in Himachal Pradesh was held in 1228 Gram Panchayats on January 17, 2021. The overall polling percentage in the first phase was reported to 77.50%.

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Bird Flu Confirmed in Dead Poultry Dumped Near Himachal Borders, Ban on Poultry Products Extended   

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Himachal Pradesh Extends Ban on poultry

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government has temporarily extended the ban on entry of poultry and poultry products into the State from neighbouring states for one more week. A notification to this regard was issued on January 18, 2021.

 The Government said that during the past few days, there had been incidences of dumping of dead poultry in the border areas of the State. Samples were collected from these dead birds, and disposed of the remaining birds as per protocol, it said. NIHSAD Lab, Bhopal, has confirmed Avian Influenza-H5N8 in the dumped birds.

Hundreds of dead poultry birds were found dumped along the Parwanoo-Solan stretch on the National Highway. The police was yet to identify culprits responsible.

However, the State Government said that the Flu has not been detected in the local poultry.

The State Government said that a “Bird Flu” outbreak was notified on January 6, 2021, in Pong Dam wetland of district Kangra. The count for migratory bird death due to the Flu had mounted to 4936 till January 18, 2021. On January 17, only 21 migratory birds died in the Pong Dam wetland area.

The State Government said a sharp decline was reported in death of migratory birds due to avian influenza outbreak in the Pong dam lake wildlife sanctuary.

Ten Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) of Wildlife Wing would continue to work in the wetland for collection and safe disposal of dead birds as per protocol till no mortality is recorded. 

Till January 18, 2021 outbreaks of Avian Influenza have been confirmed in 5 States for poultry birds and in 9 States for crows, migratory and wild bird.

Culling of poultry birds had to be taken in all the affected epicentres including CPDO, Mumbai. Culling operation of poultry in Haryana was also underway. The outbreak has is causing losses worth crores to poultry farmers. 

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