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DC Shimla catches illegal supply line to BJP MLA’s apartment, was getting 24X7 water supply despite scarcity

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BJP balbir verma's jakhu apartment

Shimla: As a setback for the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, the name of one of its sitting MLAs has appeared in a case of water-theft. The Deputy Commissioner of Shimla on Thursday caught an illegal connection taken from main water supply line to an apartment in VIP locality of Jakhu. 

The Government had been maintaining that there is a severe scarcity of water in Shimla for almost past two weeks as the supply schemes had dried up. However,  this claim appears to be misleading as this apartment was allegedly receiving a 24×7 supply to his apartment.

It was on the complaint of the people that the DC had to visit the spot where he found the allegations to be true. The people alleged that this large pipeline connected to the SMC supply line was drawing most of the water to the apartment, depriving the people of their share of water.  

While the common people of the Shimla City have been lining up for two bucket drinking water for past two weeks now, the apartment was receiving 27×4 water supply despite government’s claims of water scarcity due to drying up of natural resources.

Though the district administration and the Municipal Corporation tried not to reveal the identity of the leader, media reports said the apartment belonged to Balbir Verma, who was recently served a notice by the SMC for due water bill of over Rs. 40 lakh.

When Himachal Watcher contacted the DC, he said he was busy in a meeting. Thereafter, we did not receive any response from him.   

The flats in the apartment have been sold to various people in 2014, the reports said. As per the buyers, they had bought it from Balbir Verma, Chopal MLA. The DC claims he has given the MC Commissioner a time of 15 days to file a report regarding the same.   

As per the District Administration, the Deputy Commissioner, Amit Kashyap, took note of a complaint and images circulated on social media.

The DC has reportedly ordered the concerned engineer of the Irrigation and Public Health Department to disconnect the line and seal it.   

Other than the apartment, the DC also ordered a shut down of a guesthouse being run illegally in the same area.

The people are claiming that the leader was not the only one who had been stealing water from main supply lines. They said the administration had been ignoring such cases deliberately.

However, now as the State High Court has taken cognizance of the matter and is reviewing daily status reports from the SMC, the officials have begun to attend to the complaints of the people.

As a matter of fact, the government is using police to suppress the protests by the distressed people. 

FIRs have been lodged against several protestors and some of them were even taken into custody for protesting.

Amid such chaos, it is ironical that the ruling party’s own leaders are displaying a disregard to the promises made by their party, which is in power currently. It is to be seen what action would be taken against this leader of the ruling party if anything is proved or the matter was not hushed up.  

The protests still continue as the people are claiming they did not receive much relief despite announcements of the Chief Minister.  The district administration is claiming that it has seized some illegal borewells on Wednesday. But reports suggested that these borewells were still active, mostly after the sun goes down. 

Meanwhile, the State High Court, who is supervising the Government’s measures to deal with the water scarcity, was reportedly disappointed as the public was still not relieved.  The court has also summoned Secretary, Irrigation and Public Health, to provide details of the water sources. 

 

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4,145 New Covid Cases, 56 Deaths in 24-Hours; HP Govt Forms Paediatric Task Force to Tackle Third Wave

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covid himachal

Shimla-The death toll in Himachal Pradesh climbed to 2,241 on Saturday after 56 Covid patients lost their lives in the last 24-hours. Meanwhile, 4,145 new cases of infection were reported on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 1,57,862 according to official data released by the state.

Kangra district reported the highest casualties with 19 deaths, while in Shimla, 15 patients died of severe symptoms of coronavirus. 13 patients who lost their lives were below the age of 50.

Daily Covid testing on Saturday reached 15,461, out of which test results of 1,876 samples remain awaited.  According to the state health department, 17,12,566 people have received their first dose of vaccine till Saturday, while 4,34,307 people across the state have received both doses of Covid vaccine.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 15, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

daily cases in himachal

As the rate of new cases and fatality remains high, the corona curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been extended till May 26 after a meeting of the state government cabinet was held on Saturday. The state also announced some rules and provisions to curb the spread of infection in the state. Medical Colleges, Zonal and Regional Hospitals, and hospitals with a bed capacity of 200 and above were allowed to hire vans to carry dead bodies. Weddings in the state are now only to take place in residences or courts, with a maximum gathering of 20 people.

The state government also held a high-level meeting on Saturday to constitute a Paediatric Task Force to tackle the anticipated third wave. According to reports, the third wave will most likely affect children and teenagers. Earlier this month, the principal scientific adviser to the central government, K VijayRaghavan, had said at a briefing that the high levels of the virus meant “a phase 3 is inevitable.”

The Paediatric Task Force would study the availability of medical infrastructure in various Pediatric Intensive Care Units, Neonatal Intensive Care Units, Sick Newborn Care Units, and Newborn Stabilization Units, to formulate plans for augmentation of machinery, equipment, and Human Resources.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 15, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Curfew in Himachal Extended, Free Wood for Cremation, Marriages Allowed Only in Homes or Courts

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hp cabinet decision may 2021

Shimla-Corona Curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been extended further till May 26 as the state has witnessed no respite in a surge in daily Covid-19. The decision was taken after a meeting of the HP Government Cabinet today.

To check the exodus of labourers and workers all the shops dealing with construction materials would also remain open on Tuesday and Friday a week for three hours.

The Cabinet also decided to allow hiring dead body vans to all the Medical Colleges and Zonal and Regional Hospitals and hospitals with a bed capacity of 200 and above.  The forest department would provide free wood for the cremation of corona deceased where forest rights are enforced. The forest corporation would provide fuelwood in other areas. All the MCs would be allowed to hire dead body vans.

The Cabinet also decided that no marriages would be allowed to hire marriage palaces, community halls and tent houses and outside catering and DJ/Band. Marriage would be only held in houses or Courts with the restriction of 20 persons. There will also be no procession of Barat.

The Cabinet gave its consent to fill up 219 posts of different categories on a contract basis under the National Health Mission in the State to provide better health care facilities to the people.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to procure CT Scan 128 slice and MRI 1.5 Tesla Machines worth Rs. 20 crore in Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Government Medical College, Chamba to facilitate the people.

It accorded its approval its ex-post-facto permission to the executing agency of Makeshift Covid-19 Hospital at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College, Ner Chowk Mandi to include construction of one labour room and one operation theatre etc. to facilitate the people.

It also decided to open Health Sub Centre at Sartyaula in Mandi district alongwith creation of requisite posts to man the Sub Centre.

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Himachal’s Distressed Tourism Industry Stakeholders Write to CM Jairam Thakur, Seeks Financial Package

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Himachal Pradesh Hoteliers Association to hp govt

Shimla-Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association on Friday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur seeking financial aid from the state government to save the industry amid COVID-19 resurgence. They also highlighted the shared plight of hotels and restaurants falling in debt and failing to provide for the expenses.

“Since the beginning of last year, hotel industry continues to take hits due to the coronavirus. A seven-to-eight-month long lockdown in the entire country affected industry stakeholders. Tourism industry appeared to have revived in the month of October and expectations were high for the next tourist season” the association said.

Several hoteliers and restaurants had spent on maintenance hoping for a good season this year. But since most of the states have now imposed lockdowns, all hopes were dashed to the ground and the industry is facing a huge financial crisis.

The tourism units are not able to pay the interest and EMI of loans raised by them due to loss faced by the industry for the consecutive second year. The stakeholders fearthat  the loan raised by them may slip to NPA

The Association said that hoteliers and businessmen involved in the hospitality industry did not receive any relief from the government and managed their units/services by spending from savings or by raising loans.

The units have somehow managed to pay salaries and other expenses for the April month, the association said, but expressed inability to do so for the May month as the working capital has dropped to zero.

Mohinder Seth, President, Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association, has written to the Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India and Governor, RBI, requesting for the deferment of loans and to save the loans from becoming NPA.

Seth has also requested the central government to provide Himachal Pradesh’s tourism industry with a financial package to deal with the devastation caused by the second wave of COVID-19.

“We support the measures taken by the government to break the chain of coronavirus. If the government plans on extending the lockdown to seventeen more days, we will support the decision because we understand the need to save people’s life is important. Similarly, it is important to save the industry – source of employment to lakhs of people. We request honorable CM to extend financial aid to the industry stakeholders,” Mohinder Seth concluded.

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