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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. 

 

Misc News/Press Release

Avalanche in Kinnaur buries soldiers, 1 killed, 5 missing and feared dead

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Kinnaur- An avalanche along the India-China border in Namgya region of Kinnaur district on Wednesday killed one soldier while five others were buried and still missing. The body of one soldier has been recovered. The rescue operation was underway at the time of writing.

The district administration and Superintendent of Police, Kinnaur, confirmed the news.

Jawans of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and district police are carrying out an extensive search and rescue operation.  

As per initial reports, which are not clear, about 10 jawans of ITBP were hit by a massive avalanche at about 11 AM on Wednesday while they were moving from one post to another. Five to six jawans were buried. Remaining jawans rescued one of them who later died on the way to the hospital in Pooh.  

Verification of more details is still awaited.

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Left Out Eligible Voters in Himachal Can Enroll on 23rd and 24th Feb: HP CEO

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Left Out Voters in Himachal Pradesh can apply

Shimla-In view of the general election for the Lok Sabha 2019, special camps will be organised at every polling station on 23rd and 24th February 2019, for enrolment of left out eligible voters in the State, informed the Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal Pradesh, Devesh Kumar.

He asked all Booth Level Officers (BLOs) to remain present in the camps along with the copies of final electoral rolls 2019. A copy of the electoral rolls will be available in the polling station so that electors can check their names in the rolls. The electoral rolls would be read out publically during the camp to facilitate illiterate voters. BLOs were asked to keep adequate copies of Forms 6, 7, 8 and 8A with him/her to facilitate filling up forms by interested persons.

Devesh Kumar said that all recognized political parties should depute their Booth Level Agents (BLAs) to remain present in camps. In case their name does not exist in the roll for some reason, the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) holders must also check their name in electoral rolls and fill up Form 6. The EPIC is only identification document and does not guarantee franchise if the name of the person is not included in the electoral roll of the concerned polling station.

He said that all forms received during these campaign days would be disposed of by  March 7, 2019. BLOs were directed to immediately complete the physical verification and then submit a report to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). The ERO should complete the due process of law and dispose-off the forms received during the camps within 11 days.

 Devesh Kumar said that registration can also be made through NVSP Portal by visiting the link (www.nvsp.in.) For inquiries, he said, electoral can also call on Toll-free number 1950.

Assembly constituency-wise data in respect of forms received during camps would be uploaded on the website of the commission at CEO’s portal by February 25, 2019. Information about the disposal of forms would be given through the website by March 7, 2019.

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Mandi Police Warns Miscreants Promoting Malice Against Kashmiris, Urges People to Maintain Peace

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Kashmiri people in Himachal Pradesh

Mandi-The District Police, Mandi, on Tuesday, issued a warning to miscreants who were trying to incite violence against and promoting malice against Kashmiri people living in the State.

“The public is informed that following the suicide bombing in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir, some miscreants are making appeals to the people on social media to throw Kashmiri labourers, hawkers, lumberjacks etc. out of State’

said the notice issued by the district police.

The police has warned that a stringent action against will be taken against anyone who is found preaching malice towards Kashmiri citizens through such messages/comments on social media or causing any sort of vandalism.

The police urged the people to beware of such hatemongers and miscreants and maintain peace in the society.  

On Tuesday, tension mounted in a panchayat of Mandi district when the villagers passed a resolution to ban Kashmiri citizens in their area. The villagers reportedly told the Kashmiris living in rented quarters to leave the State by Wednesday. Meanwhile, some miscreants reportedly pelted stones on their quarters. Scared Kashmiris had to take shelter at local police station, said reports.

In another instance, an unverified video was doing rounds on social media, showing two groups of students clashing inside the campus of a private university in Mandi. To incite fear, it was rumoured that the scuffle took place between Kashmiri and local students.  

Earlier, the campus of the UHF, Nauni, in Solan district, witnessed tension after police booked two of its students for alleged anti-national activities on social media. The booked students were allegedly supporting the suicide bomber responsible for the ghastly Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.

Following this news, right-wing outfits in Himachal Pradesh had made calls for a boycott of Kashmiris. Similar tension was reported from other parts of the nation too. A large number of Kashmiri students, who were studying outside their home state, were returning home for fear of violence being incited by miscreants.

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