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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.

Campus Watch

As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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MoU to construct Naina Devi-Anandpur Sahib ropeway signed

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naina devi-anandpur sahib ropeway mou signed

Shimla: A Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeway between Shri Naina Devi and Shri Anandpur Sahib was signed by Additional Chief Secretary Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Himachal Pradesh and Secretary Tourism Punjab Vikas Pratap Singh, in Chandigarh today.

The MOU in the presence of Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his Punjab counterpart Captain Amrinder Singh.

This ropeway will be constructed by Shri Naina Devi and Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji Ropeway Company Pvt Ltd with an estimated cost of Rs. 210 crores. The ropeway would cover a distance of 3.5 km.

A 10-member Board of Directors would be formed, and each government would nominate five members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors would be nominated by the Punjab government and the Managing Director would be appointed by the Himachal government. Both the governments will deposit 50 Lakhs each as an initial investment.

Chief Minister said that the lower terminal of this project would be at Rampur near Shri Anandpur Sahib, the Intermediate station will be at Toba in Himachal and the upper terminal point would be at Shri Naina Devi. The tourism departments of both the states would work as nodal agencies for this work.

The Tourism and Local Bodies Ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu said that inking of MoU by both the Chief Ministers on the auspicious birthday of Sheed-e- Azam Bhagat Singh is a big gift to the mankind.

In 2012-13, the efforts were made to build this ropeway and 14 acres of land was also acquired for this but due to some circumstances, the work could not be completed.

Naina Devi is one of the 52 famous Shakti Peethas of the country and is one of the most prominent religious places for not only the peoples of the country but the entire world. Likewise, Shri Anandpur Sahib is also a prominent international the religious place.

This project would boost the tourism sector in both the states alongwith strengthening the bond between two states besides facilitating the devotees visiting these two religious places.

It was informed that 80 percent pilgrims come to Shri Naina Devi from Punjab and during last one year, 20 Lakh devotees paid their obeisance in this Shakti Peeth.

The Chief Minister informed that for the construction of this impending ropeway, the matter had been taken up with his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh on February 26, 2018.

The Chief Minister of Punjab said that with the construction of this ropeway the pilgrims of Punjab would get rid of the difficulty in reaching Shri Naina Devi.

He said that people of both the states would like to see this project completed at earliest and three year’s time frame has been fixed for its completion.

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Himachal suffers Rs. 1479 crore losses in 4 days alone, Centre releases Rs. 122 crore for rehabilitation

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Monsoon losses in Himachal pradesh in 2018

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of about Rs. 1479 crore and during the last four days alone. Five choppers of Indian Air Force had been pressed into service to evacuate the stranded tourists and local people.

Chief Minister, who chaired a review meeting today, informed that the Centre Government has released Rs. 122 crore as the first instalment for the State for undertaking immediate rehabilitation measures.

himachal cm in meeting

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during meeting held today

Over one thousand people have been rescued from Lahaul valley out of these 147 have been airlifted and remaining have been evacuated by road.

He said the road would be cleared upto Baralacha by this evening. All the rescued people were being taken for medical examinations. Efforts were being made to restore communication network in Lahaul valley.

He directed the officers to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities in the valley. He said that a team of BSNL would visit Sisu today for the restoration of communication in the area. The Government has assured all possible help to the BSNL in restoration work.

Out of 18 towers of BSNL in the valley, seven were working properly.

It was informed in the meeting that 18000-litre petrol and 27000-litre diesel was made available. LPG and other food items were also in sufficient quantity. It was informed in the meeting that water Supply to Manali has been restored and Lahaul valley was also almost restored.

Till the electricity supply was restored in the valley, efforts would be made to provide solar lamps and lights to the people, it was informed. Small transformers would be airlifted from Kullu to replace damaged transformers.

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