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Shimla MC allegedly makes insensitive comments over mishap caused by its carelessness

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Shimla MC JE

Shimla: The change of power in Himachal Pradesh, as well as in the local bodies, has now begun to manifest itself through the attitude of government staff. Keeping with the trend, the staff of Shimla Municipal Corporation House also seems to have emboldened.

An aggrieved citizen brought to our attention his bitter confrontation with one of SMC’s Junior Engineers, who showed complete indifference to a risk that his own carelessness posed for the public safety.  

On March 8, 2018, a lady had fractured her leg after she stepped on an uncovered ‘water valve box’ or road box of the SMC. right outside the gate of Auckland House School for Boys. She was returning home after attending a parent-teachers’ meeting.

Another man, a father of two kids who attend nursery classes at same school witnessed the accident and was one of the first to come to help the woman. The fractured leg had left her groaning in pain.

It would be a mistake to consider it a trivial and isolated incident as several other spots in Shimla town pose the same threat to the public. While several road boxes are uncovered, some others are placed in a haphazard manner.

As a matter of fact, despite being a public safety concern, none of the local journalists found it worth highlighting.  

Himachal Watcher, in its previous article, had also tagged the Mayor, Kusum Sadret, to apprise her of this safety issue. 

After the lady was taken to the Indira Gandhi Medical College for treatment, the father made a complaint to the SMC on its helpline number 1916.

He requested the SMC to take up the matter immediately and cover the said box to avert further mishaps, especially with the nursery kids. Moreover, similar mishaps have been reported due to this carelessness of the Corporation, he told the SMC.

However, the SMC still not fixed it properly, rather, did a ‘Jugaad’ job (as shown in the picture below). 

Photo 1.0

Shimla MC JE

The man clicked a fresh photo on March 14 and made another phone call to the SMC to file a verbal complain about the poor job done by its field staff. The official on the other end could not give a satisfactory answer to the queries of the father.

Therefore, the SMC office further diverted him to the concerned Junior Engineer, who looks after the area. The father approached the JE phonically and expressed concern over the safety of his own children as well as several others who use this road.

The father told the JE that the field staff did not take this safety concern seriously despite the said accident and covered the road box with a damaged lid, which was still posing threat to children and pedestrians. The gap in the lid was still large enough to trap foot of a nursery kid. (See photo  1.0)

When questioned about the issue, the JE said the SMC don’t have a proper arrangement to cover it. He said it will be replaced later. The man, however, told the JE that even the temporary arrangement was made with equally irresponsible manner.

He reminded the JE that this box must be covered on priority bases as it is a matter of safety of the public, especially the school kids. The JE tried to wash his hands of saying it will be fixed later but did not give any readdressal period. He asked the JE to define an approximate deadline for the replacement.   

The father apprised the JE of the mishap with the lady, who had fractured her leg.

The JE, however, allegedly made a very rude and insensitive comment in the following words,

To logon ko bhi jameen par dekh ke chalana chahiye (People should walk with their eyes on the ground).

The complainant again asked the JE to at least provide an approximate time that the SMC would take to fix the box.

The complainant asked the JE,

Who will take the responsibility if a kid gets injured meanwhile SMC delay replacement of the damaged cover?

To the dismay of agitated father, the JE once again repeated,

Admi ki bhi jimedari hai ki wo jameen par dekh kar chale (It is the responsibility of people to keep their eyes on the ground while walking).

The father was not only offended but also stunned at the insensitivity shown by the JE towards the safety of kids and public in general. 

 

In a way, he told me to apply same to nursery kids. Is it a sensible thing to do to leave the kids on their own and turn a blind eye towards his own error,

the father told HW. 

It’s the height of irresponsibility. Despite being the responsibility of JE, he showed indifferent towards the safety of children and ignored his duty he is paid for. To make things more ugly, he did not hesitate to make offensive comments and insult a citizen, who had approached him with a valid complaint. 

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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Kotkhai Gudiya case solved, says CBI claiming it was not a gang rape

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Kotkhai gudiya case solved says cbi

Shimla: In yet another mind-boggling development in the Gudiya case, the Central Bureau of Investigation today, while submitting its status report in the Himachal Pradesh High Court, reportedly claimed that it has cracked the case.

The CBI told the court that it was the last status report in the case and that it would file a charge-sheet against the accused within 90 days.

The news has begun to appear in national media where it is being claimed that the agency has finally cracked the blind case of rape and murder.

The PTI reported that the CBI has changed the theory given by the local police and claimed that it was not a case of gangrape. As per CBI, the lone accused, who was identified as Anil Kumar, has been arrested on April 13 based on the DNA reports that matched with the sample taken from victim’s body. The accused was said to be a lumberjack.

The report further said the CBI had found that the accused had been hiding all this time and that he also has a criminal background.

The agency used new DNA percentage matches and lineage matches to crack the case. The agency further claimed that it was after getting multiple scientific pieces of evidence that the accused was identified and arrested.

The investigation was done quietly and away from public scrutiny to ensure culprits don’t escape. Accused was arrested on 13 April and produced before designated Court today. He has been remanded to judicial custody till 7 May,

Abhishek Dayal, CBI Chief Info Officer, told ANI.

However, the court was not satisfied with the status report and asked the agency to file an affidavit on the behalf of its Director.

The next hearing will be conducted on May 8. The court said it would decide whether the CBI Chief to be summoned or not. The CBI defended its Director saying he had been carefully monitoring all the status reports filed in the court.

The CBI counsel tried to convince the court that there was no need to direct the Director to be personally present in the court.

The people of Himachal are bewildered as nine police officials including then Inspector General Zahur H Zaidi, SP of Shimla, DW Negi, and DSP of Theog, Manoj Joshi, were put behind bars by the agency on August 29, 2018.

The CBI charge-sheet filed against the nine police officials alleged the accused of hatching a conspiracy, framing wrong people, and even hacking one of them to death in police custody.

The people believed that some influential and wealthy people influenced the police probe to shield the real culprits. There have been rioting like the situation in Kotkhai region and entire Himachal was echoing with protesting voices. However, now a big question that arises here is that why did local police take such a risk? How can a simple lumberjack influence police SIT and fool the CBI for 10 months?

The reactions of the victim’s parents and locals towards the CBI probe are still awaited. Moreover, in coming days, the agency may come out with a public statement to explain the entire episode and clear the doubts of the people regarding the investigation.

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Road in Mashobra Ward of SMC in tatters for last 10 years

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Road-in-Shimla-MC-Ward-21

Shimla: While the new Government of Himachal Pradesh claims that it has achieved all the targets it had set for the first 100 days, the ground reality doesn’t agree with it entirely.

As per the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Rs. 100 crores were sanctioned for repair and maintenance of roads, however, even the urban Shimla did not witness these repairs.

Some residents of Mashobra – Lower Dhalli Ward (Number 21) of the Shimla Municipal Corporation wrote to Himachal Watcher regarding the pathetic condition of the road in their locality algonwith pictures of the Mashobra market.  

The road has not been repaired from last 10 years. The problem of water-logging pertains from past 5 years, but the civic body did not attend to it, 

said one of the residents.

Bhartiya Janata Party’s Shalinder Chauhan has been elected for the second time as councillor of the Ward. However, he made only promises to solve this problem, which were never fulfilled,

the resident further added.

Mashobra market

This road leads to famous tourist destinations like Talai, Carignano Nature Park along with government offices like the Regional Horticultural Research Station, Mashobra, and HP Panchayati Raj Training Institute.

Despite the frequent movement of government officials in this Ward, the road did not attract the attention of any single of them.

Several Ministers cross this road and, a few days back, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had organized a national level annual meeting near Talai, but the problem remains invisible to everyone except the locals,

a local youth told HW.

The pedestrians face daily trouble due to the large potholes, which turn into pools of water when it rains. Passing vehicles splash accumulated water on pedestrians. During sunny days, clouds of dust troubles the residents as well as shopkeepers and dhabs located in the market, the residents complained.   

The locals are forced to live in dust and mud for last 10 years, but the problems of the locals did not find a place in media, they further complained.

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Busted: Hindi Daily exaggerated news about delay in handing over dead bodies of Nurpur accident victims

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Tribute to Nurpur school bus accident

Kangra: “If it is published in a newspaper, then the news must be true,” most of the common readers believe.

Unfortunately, journalists do not deserve a blind faith of the people in a country like India where media houses are propelled by profits instead of motives. Journalists often exaggerate and sensationalize reports deliberately, which brings a bad name to the fraternity of journalists.

The most recent reference could be made to a news published by a Hindi Daily regarding the alleged politics over the dead bodies of 23 children who died in the tragic accident of a school bus on April 9, 2018, near Nurpur of Kangra district.

Nurpur School bus accident

Outside Nurpur Hospital on April 10

The Hindi Daily, in  a report published in its April 11 edition, had alleged the district administration of making unnecessary delay in handing over the dead bodies of the victims to their families. The motive, the report alleged, was that the Chief Minister could pay tribute to the bodies as part of a political stunt.

The report went on saying that the bodies of some of the victims, which were already handed over to the families on April 9, were also brought back. The parents kept asking for the bodies while the district administration and a local MLA told them to wait for the arrival of the Chief Minister, the Daily had reported.

It sounds like the cheapest of political stunts. Doesn’t it?

The Chief Minister and the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra, Sandeep Sharma, faced severe criticism after the news was published by the Daily.

pyres of nurpur school bus accident

Pyres of the victims

However, not all the information fed by the reporter of the Daily was factually correct.

Himachal Watcher’s credible friends in media, who were present at the hospital, revealed that there might have been some delay but no dead body was brought back.  The Daily blew the news out of proportion,  we were told.

I was right there outside the mortuary with other reporters and correspondents of news agencies to cover the story. No body was handed over to any of the families on April 9, so there is no question of bringing them back,

a journalist told Himachal Watcher.

Most of the reporters had left the hospital by 10:00 PM, but we stayed there for a while. The gates of the mortuary were locked at about 12:00 PM and no one was allowed to enter thereafter. Therefore, it was a sheer lie, 

the journalist said. 

We also consulted other journalists, who agreed that the news was indeed blown out of proportion.

Such irresponsible and sensational reporting defames the media fraternity, especially the responsible journalists, 

said one of the media persons expressing disappointment with the reporter of the Daily.

The Daily is trying to cover up the matter but the inconsistency in the facts in its follow-up stories is clearly visible.  

The DC, Kangra, on April 12 had issued a press statement terming the news as a misleading one, which turned out to be true. 

The news not only defamed the Chief Minister but also shook the little faith that common men still have in the government and local administration. The newspaper cutting of the Daily did rounds of social media and attracted the wrath of the people.

The message is clear; there is no space for blind trust on media. We need to be careful while going through such sensitive news.

I have just one request to those people who started to share the news clipping on social media. First, try to cross check the facts before opening critical attack on such sensitive matters. It is not about defaming the government but of humanity,

a journalist associated with an English Daily said.   

It was a total breach of trust of the readers as well as those who came across it on social media. 

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