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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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All Roads in Lahaul-Spiti Restored for Traffic, Tourists Advised Not to Travel in Small Vehicles

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Lahaul-Spiti Roads open

Lahaul-Spiti –All roads in Lahaul-Spiti including the link roads have been restored for traffic, informed the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister Dr Ramlal Markanda on Wednesday. The connectivity to the district was lost as the National-Highway and link roads were closed due to heavy rain and snowfall. Over 300 tourists were standed at various places in the district. The stranded tourists were also rescued and brought to safe places, he informed.

The conditions are now normal in the district. However, the Minister has requested the tourists to not travel in small vehicles and prefer travelling in large vehicles to avoid inconvenience.

Markanda was on Tuesday airlifted to capital Shimla from tribal district Lahaul and Spiti. He said he availed the service of the helicopter in order to attend the ongoing monsoon season of the state assembly.

He informed that now the road connectivity from Kaza to Manali and Kaza to Reckong Peo has been restored. The Chatru to Gramphu road was also restored on Tuesday night.

The work of restoring the roads for traffic was underway from August 18 and it continued for over 50 hours before all roads could be restored. Now, Pagal Nala, Lidang, Atrangu, Lidang, Lingti, Shichling, Mane Dang, Nipati Nala, Sumdo on Kaza to Reckong Peo road have been restored.

All stranded tourists are now able to commute towards Shimla, and all stranded vehicles have also been moved.

Kaza to Manali road was restored on late Tuesday evening, informed the Minister. With the restoration of this road, stranded tourists had begun to move towards Manali, and most of them had reached Manali by Wednesday morning.

Cab services from Kaza to Manali have also been restored, he informed.

Further, the Minister said that a monitoring committee has been formed to assess the damages caused to crops due to rain and snowfall. The committee would be headed by ADM Jeevan Singh Negi, who will visit the panchayats where crops were damaged and assess the loss. Thereafter, a report would be submitted to the state government regarding the same, he said.

With the restoration of roads, the crop of peas from the district has also begun to reach the markets, said Markanda.

 

 

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Senior Citizen Day Care Centres in Himachal to be Established in Shimla, Mandi, Dharamshala

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Senior Citizen Day Care Centres in Himachal Pradesh 2

Shimla- Senior Citizen Day Care centres in Himachal Pradesh would be established in three districts, the state government informed today.

National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Himachal Pradesh is organising The World Senior Citizen’s Day on 21st August, at New MC Building, Upper Chowk, Khalini Shimla.

A spokesperson said that on this occasion National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Himachal Pradesh in collaboration with Help Age India Himachal Chapter will be establishing three Day Care Centres for elderly at Shimla, Mandi and Dharamshala.  He said that in these centres various activities like physiotherapy, library,(books, magazines and newspapers), recreation/pilgrimage tours, yoga, health checkup and awareness camps and other recreational services (TV, music, carom board, chess, ludo and cards etc) will be provided free of cost.

The decision came after a petition was filed in the Himachal Pradesh High Court by Advocate Vandana Misra in June 2019. The petition had made several revelations regarding minimum or no facilities being provided to senior citizens. It was alleged in the petition that all these facilities existed only in papers.

After hearing the petition, the State High Court had directed the state government to furnish the details of all the Government-run or private old age homes as well as the information, in a tabulated form, of all the cases filed by the senior citizens before the Deputy Commissioners seeking one or the other relief under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. The case is listed for June 11, 2019. 

As per the 2011 census, Himachal has a population of seven lakh who are aged 60 years and above – 10.2% of the state’s total population. This percentage is higher than the national average of 8.6%.

The highest elderly population in the state was mapped in Hamirpur district at 12.8%, followed by Bilaspur at 11.09%, Kangra at 11.7%, and Una at 11.5%. Solan and Sirmaur have the lowest population of elderly persons at 8%.

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Pension Adalat in Himachal to be Conducted on August 23 to Address Grievances

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Pension Adalat in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The Pension Adalat in Himachal Pradesh would be conducted on August 23, 2019, with a view of addressing the grievance of the pensioners, informed a spokesperson of Department of Personnel today.

The announcement came in compliance with the decision of the government of India to conduct the Pension Adalat throughout the country by each Ministry/Department/Organisation/Field formation on the same date.

The objective of this day is dedicated to Pensioners as part of good governance and efforts made to minimize their grievances, he said.

He said that in view of the above, it has been decided to conduct the Pension Adalat on August 23, 2019, under Chairmanship of Special Secretary (Personnel) to the Government of Himachal Pradesh in his office chamber Room No. 223 Armsdale Building. HP  Secretariat at 10.30 AM.

 

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