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Queen of Hills facing ‘civic amenities emergency’, dissolve Shimla MC: Congress to Governor

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Dissolution of Shimla MC 2018

Shimla: With the return of Kusum Sadret, the elected Mayor of Shimla city, from her tour to China, the demands for her resignation as well as the dissolution of Municipal Corporation, Shimla, have gained momentum.

The Mayor has begun to apologize to the people as she is facing severe criticism for abandoning the people of the town amid a crisis for drinking water supply. One failed attempt to derail the MC House has already been made in her absence. The Councilors of her own party were seen coming out against her.

Today, the Legal cell of Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Shimla, submitted a memorandum to the Governor, Acharya Devvrat, seeking dissolution of the SMC under Section 404 of the MC Act, 1994.

What does Section 404 of the SMC Act 1994 say:

“If, in the opinion of theGovernment, the Corporation is not competent to perform, or persistently makes default in the performance of the duties imposed on it by or under this Act or any other law or exceeds or abuses its powers the Government may by an order published, together with a statement of the reasons thereof, in the Official Gazette, declare the Corporation to be incompetent or in default or to have exceeded or abused its powers, as the case may be and dissolve the Corporation.”

However, the Mayor said she has no idea about the memorandum or the protest Councilors had been staging against her.

The Chief Minister and Bhartiya Janata Party are cursing the previous governments of Congress for not making long-term plans for better water supply to the town.

BJP government alleges that Congress has ruled the state for a longer period as compared to it. The drying up of the natural resources from where the drinking water was being lifted for supply is the second reason that the current government is referring to in its defence.

The error on the part of the previous government can’t be ignored, but at the same time, the fact that the State government had to take charge of the situation and form a special high-level committee to ensure the supply of drinking water to the area falling under SMC’s jurisdiction backfires at the SMC.

Moreover, the State High Court had to intervene once again in matters related to the civic body. Previously, it was the strike of the sanitation workers, and now it was the supply and distribution of drinking water. The court conducted a daily hearing for five consecutive days till May 31.

This is what the opposition is using as ammunition against the current MC House and Mayor.

List of Main Points of Congress Memorandum Seeking Dissolution of Shimla MC

The memorandum said the Historic Shimla town’ “Queen of Hills”, is facing civic amenities emergency. MC has failed to perform its duty; therefore, the High Court took suo moto cognizance of this water emergency in the town and issued appropriate directions to the State government.

Other points:

  1. The court had to direct the state government to take charge of this precarious situation and directed Chief Secretary to file an affidavit on the progress of distribution of the water.
  2. The court also observed in its order that No municipal Councilor shall indulge himself in the choice distribution of water through tankers.
  3. This suggests that there was material before the High Court that councillors affiliated to BJP are involved in malpractice of distribution of water through tanker in a discriminatory manner.
  4. The situation in the town is like a water emergency as the state government, as well as SMC, has even failed to comply with the affidavits filed before the court with regard to the distribution of water in the town.
  5. SMC is getting more than 20 MLD water per day, which is sufficient to supply if the town is distributed in three zones. Despite such zoning of the city, MC has failed to distribute the water properly.
  6. Even the officers of MC are under the scanner and the court observed they have put the city on ransom. MC has failed to top observe such key men. One of the officers of the MC has also been suspended in the regard.
  7. That Shimla city has been facing shortages of water earlier too but, in preceding years, the government used to plan three months in advance for the supply of water and regeneration of sources in summers. This year the government as well MC failed to act in time that resulted in the failure of adequate dirking water supply to the citizens.
  8. The MC Shimla failed to arrange for door to door collection of garbage because workers engaged are maltreated by the corporation. Their salaries are not paid on time, hence, they also abandoned the work, resulting into the failure of civic amenities.
  9. It’s only after the intervention of High court that garbage collectors resumed work. So, the MC also failed to perform this duty as well.

The opposition said that all these facts reflect that the Corporation is not competent to perform and is persistently making default in the performance of duties imposed on it by the MC Act 1994, it said.

The opposition has urged the Governor to consider these circumstances and direct the government to take recourse under section 404 of MC Act and dissolve the present MC Shimla.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: Seven COVID-19 Deaths, 395 New Cases in a Day

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Himachal pradesh corona deaths

Shimla-On Thursday, Himachal Pradesh reported 395 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. Seven fresh casualties were reported, taking the COVID-19 death tally in the state to 96. According to the official Bulletin released by the Health Department for September 17, 2020 (9 PM), the total for the state has risen to 11190, of which 4145 are active cases and 6919 had recovered.  

Seven fatalities also included a 14-year-old male from Shimla. He was a patient of Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Remaining six aged between 50-82 years.  As per the Health Department’s official Bulletin, all seven patients had pre-existing medical conditions like Diabetes Mellitus, severe Sepsis, severe ARDS, Hypertension etc.  

Details of COVID-19 Fatalities on September 17 (till 9 PM)

covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh on september 17, 2020-

Among Thursday’s cases, Sirmaur reported the highest 82 cases, followed by Kangra (76), Mandi (70), Solan (49), Una (38), Shimla (30), Lahaul-Spiti (15), Kullu (13), Bilaspur (12), Chamba (7), and Hamirpur (3).

Further, Solan has reported the highest number of cases (2525), and Kangra district has reported the highest number of casualties (20), followed by Solan (18), and Shimla (17).

For more statistics from all districts, view the table given below:

Himachal Pradesh-september 17, 2020, covid-19 update

Several media persons complained that the Health Officials have even stopped taking their calls and release required information. The Chief Minister, in today’s Vidhan Sabha session, compared fatality rate of Himachal Pradesh (0.8%) with the national rate (1.64%) and states having larger population like Punjab (2.8%). He claimed the state government was comfortable with the situation and rising number of cases. He said five make-shift COVID-19 hospitals, which are yet to be established, would take care of the rise in cases.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur today patted his own back by releasing an e-book “Sewa Hi Sangathan” brought out by the State BJP.

In this book, BJP has claimed that various initiatives and steps were taken by the party to effectively tacking the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister also termed the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” as a success and went on to say that it has stabilized rural economy of the country and the State during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defending the decision to lift all restrictions on inter-state movement of people, including tourists, amid a community spread, he termed it a necessary step to revive the state economy. In a way, the government has made it clear that the people would have to learn to live with COVID-19.

Feature Image: [email protected]

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Himachal: 460 New COVID-19 Cases with One More Death, Situation to Worsen as State Borders Open for All

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday reported a single-day spike of 460 COVID-19 cases with one death, confirmed the state Health Department. According to the latest update (9 PM), Solan district (117) had reported the highest number of cases. Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (92), Mandi (58), Shimla (51), Lahaul-Spiti (46), Una (31), Kinnaur (14), Sirmaur (14), Bilaspur (13), Chamba (12), Kullu (8), and Hamirpur (4).

The COVID-19 tally has now reached 10795, of which 4146 are active, 6531 recovered, and 89 died.

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin for September 15, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh daily covid19 update september 16

The number is likely to witness a huge surge as the state government has removed all restrictions on the inter-state movement of people. No permission or registration of any sorts is required to enter the state. Tourists won’t need to present a COVID-19 report and advance booking to enter the state. At the time of the writing, a large number of tourists and other people had already entered the state as the borders were opened today evening.

Also Read: No E-Pass, No COVID-19 Negative Report, No Registration Needed to Enter State

Tourists are happy with the decision. According to a media report, earlier tourists reaching state borders without registration were being tricked to pay Rs. 300 to register and enter the state.  It was later that they found out that registration process was free of any charges. 

Inter-state bus services are also expected to resume operation soon.

Feature Image: unsplash/@sonance

 

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Himachal: No E-Pass, No COVID-19 Negative Report, No Registration Needed to Enter State

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Tourist entry in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Borders of Himachal Pradesh are now open to all including tourists without any restriction at all. The state government has issued a notification today regarding the same. The decision has been taken in a time when the state has already entered in the ‘community spread phase’ and both the number of positive cases, as well as, the mortality rate is rising at an alarming rate.

As per the notification,

“There shall be no requirement of registration for inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements. However, inter-state movement of public transport buses shall be operated only as per the SOPs to be issued by the Department of Transport, Himachal Pradesh, after ensuring full readiness to comply with the SOPs.”

The notification came following the decision taken in a meeting of the state Cabinet on September 15, 2020. At the same time, the government maintained that the quarantine rules would still apply except for those carrying COVID-19 negative report. 

The government said the step was taken on repeated appeals of the Centre government and several sections of the people. This step would boost economic activities, the government said.

The government has also changed the ‘discharge policy’ for COVID-19 patients. The government said that it would now implement ‘Discharge Policy framed by the ICMR and the Centre government. Now, those patients who would be found asymptomatic after 10 days, would be discharged without any test. They’ll be asked to home-quarantine for seven days.    

The government said make-shift hospitals would be established at five places – Shimla, Tanda, Nalagarh Una, and Nahan. Each hospital would have a capacity of 50 beds.

Changes have also been approved in the policy for allowing opening of new nursing institute in the state. Only institutes having a hospital (100 bed) would be permitted to open nursing colleges. The GNM course would be discontinued after the 2020-21 session. Already running institutes would need to apply for conversion of this course into B.Sc Nursing. The government also decided that except for M.Sc nursing courses, no other course would be granted fresh attachment to government hospitals.

Meanwhile, during today’s session of the state Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Jairam said that the rise in COVID-19 cases was inevitable with the steps taken by the government to revive economic activities.

He claimed the government has taken all necessary steps to contain the spread of coronavirus. He claimed that the government is well-prepared to deal with the rising number of cases. ICU beds, oxygen, supporting beds and other equipment in sufficient quantities.

The Chief Minister compared the situation of the state to bigger states/union territories like Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan etc. in a failed attempt to convince the opposition during the session that the state government was doing better than others. The opposition commented that the government has left the people of the state on their own.

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