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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

Solan Building Collapse: Death Toll Rises to 14 Including 13 Jawans and 1 Civilian, Rescue Operation Concluded

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Solan Building Collapse death toll

Solan-The toll of those killed in the collapse of a multi-storey building yesterday in Kumarhatti of Solan district that also housed a restaurant ‘Sehaj Tandoori Dhaba’ has risen to 14 as the rescue teams recovered more bodies. Over 25 people have been rescued and sent to Dharampur hospital for treatment. The deceased included 13 army jawans and one civilian, confirmed the Vivek Chandel, ADM, Solan. The rescue operation has concluded. As per the administration, total 42 people were trapped including 30 Jawans of Assam Rifles and 12 civilians. 

“Since yesterday, 17 Armymen and 11 civilians have been rescued. Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force have taken over the rescue,”

the Deputy Commissioner KC Chaman told PTI.

The building located on the Nahan-Kumarhatti road that housed a restaurant on one of the floors came down around 4 PM on July 14. As it was Sunday, several army personals of Assam Rifles had come to dine at the restaurant. The hotel owner also lived in the building along with his wife and two children. While the children were playing in the neighbourhood, their mother was present in the building. She reportedly died in the collapse, confirmed Additional SP Shiv Kumar Sharma.

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Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 15 also visited the spot and ordered a magisterial probe to ascertain the cause of the collapse. An FIR against the owner of the building has also been registered.
Jairam thakur in solan

With this tragedy, questions are being raised over the legality of the construction. The building that was constructed in 2009 had at least four storeys. One of the storeys, as per reports, was added recently.Some reports suggested that complaints were also filed regarding the construction of this building.

Solan Rescue Operation

Currently, weak foundation and non-compliance with existing rules regarding the construction of buildings are considered as causes of the collapse. However, the district administration officials said the actual causes could only be ascertained after a probe.

Over 250 men of National Disaster Relief Force, District Police, and army jawans from nearby cantonment were continuously carrying out rescue work since yesterday. 

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2 killed, Several Trapped as Multi-Storey Building Collapses in Solan’s Kumarhatti

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Solan Building Collapse

Solan– A multi-storey building collapsed in Kumarhatti in Solan district today. Twp people said to have been killed. As per initial information available, over 35 people were present inside the building, which is said to be a dhaba (restaurant) when it collapsed. Over 15 persons were pulled out of debris and rescued while several others are feared to be still trapped. The incident occurred during a heavy downpour.


Several of these trapped people included army jawans. The army personnel and their family members were on their way to Uttarakhand and had stopped at the restaurant for lunch, a district official told PTI.

Solan building

As per a Tweet by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, about 40 people were trapped under the debris. Out of these, 19 were rescued and operation is in progress to rescue others.

Latest update from ANI said that 22 people were rescued. The rescued injured were taken to Dharampur hospital for treatment.

Injured in solan building collapse
As per the district administration, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was sent for from Panchkula for carrying out the rescue operation.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Solan, and the Additional District Magistrate had also reached the spot.
Himachal pradesh building collapse

solan

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Shimla’s Popular Baljees Restaurant Shuts Down, Workers Protest Over Unpaid Dues Worth Crores

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Baljees shimla closed, workers protest

Shimla-Today, the iconic Baljees — a 65-years-old restaurant located on the Shimla Mall will be winding up its operation. While the media is highlighting Shimla’s mourning over the closing of Baljees, its 70 workers, who are now rendered jobless, are protesting for the last two days for their unpaid dues. Several of these workers have been serving in the restaurant for over four decades and have contributed a lot towards its growth.

The workers alleged that the restaurant has not paid their dues worth about two crores. As per the workers, these dues include gratuity, bonus, leave encashment, notice pay, retrenchment compensation etc.  However, the Baljees management had earlier assured that all the dues would be cleared before closing.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has also come in support of these workers. It said the Baljees not only violating the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 but also going against the orders passed by the State High Court on July 12, 2018. In its July 12 orders, the court had made it clear that the management of the restaurant would have to pay all the dues before handing over the building to its owner.  In case the management fails to do so, this action would be considered as a contempt of the court orders, the CITU said.

The workers have urged the district administration and district police to make the management of the restaurant comply with the orders of the court. Otherwise, the workers said, they would file a contempt of court petition along with more protests.

 The Baljees, which was considered a destination restaurant, had gained popularity among both locals as well as tourists. Several influential political names from Virbhadra Singh to Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to visit the restaurant, it is said.  

Chandra Baljee had set up this restaurant in 1954. It was expanded in 1972 after which it became famous for Indian and continental food. The decision to close the building had come in 2018 after Baljees management lost the legal battle against the owner of the building, Lok Nath & Sons. The battle had started over operation charges for the building.

In 2015, the District and Sessions Court had ordered eviction. Later, the matter reached the state High Court where operation charges were hiked from Rs 18,000 to 1.35 lakh per month.  However, the owner was demanding. Then, the case reached the Supreme court, and then back to the High Court. Finally, in July 2018, Baljees management and Alok Nath & sons arrived at a mutual compromise. The management decided to evacuate the building and sought one year’s time to wind up its operation. This deadline ended today.   

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