Shimla: The Shimla city is facing more neglect from the Municipal Corporation as it continues to be in a defunct state owing to the internal feud between the Ward Councilors and the current Mayor Kusum Sadrate and Deputy Mayor Rakesh Sharma.
The Mayor was seen running after the annoyed Councillors to save her seat while the Deputy Mayor has no say.
A couple of days ago, about 11 BJP Councilors had reportedly expressed their disappointment with the performance of the Mayor by submitting a written complaint to the government.
The Councillors have warned the government that they will boycott the upcoming monthly meeting of the SMC House if the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were not removed.
The Sadrate has completed one year in the office of the Mayor on June 20, which made the situation more awkward for the party.
In order to avert an embarrassment, the duo would have to make sure that majority of BJP Councillors attend this meeting.
The Councillors alleged the Mayor of displaying arbitrary attitude while conducting the business of the house. They also complained that majority of the developmental projects in their wards are either stuck or progressing at a snail’s pace.
The Councillors say they are not able to face the people of their respective wards, especially after what happened during the water-paucity.
Moreover, the Councillors were not happy with Mayor’s decision to leave the city for about a week to attend a conference in China amid an acute shortage of drinking water supply.
If that was not enough, she denied the suffering of the people by rejecting reports of a water-crisis situation in the town. According to the Mayor, the crisis was just a media hike and propaganda of the opposition.
At the same time, the Councillors are complaining that despite such clamour in the city, the Mayor is still not available even for them as she hardly stays at the office.
The Mayor reportedly joined the Chief Minister’s visit to Sawada while the Councillors were waiting for her to arrive at the office.
The Councillors said the Mayor is seen attending events or photo-shoots with Chief Minister or the Ministers, and rest of the time is spent in visits to the party office and Secretariat.
Further, these Councillors have been maintaining that the Mayor was not able to run the business of the MC House properly. The meetings of the House were not conducted regularly, and whenever they are conducted, there was hardly any time to debate the issues of the public interest. The last meeting did not last for even half-an-hour, said one of the offended Councilors.
Councillor Arti Chauhan has asked the Mayor to resign by taking moral responsibility of failure to fulfill the commitments made to the people before the elections.
Another Councillor said they had not elected Sadrate to enjoy tours and photo-shoots.
While the Mayor was in China, for the first time, Councillors and the Deputy Mayor of the ruling party had staged a walked out from a meeting when they were cornered by the opposition over the issue of failure to respond properly to the water crisis.
The rebel Councillors also expressed concern over degrading state of sanitation as the workers remained on strikes as many as four times during last one year. Further, the workers are now annoyed with the MC for its decision to out-source the door-to-door garbage collection in five Wards to a private contractor.
The Mayor, however, said she has done the best she could do. She showed faith in the government and her organization by denying news of revolt among the Councilors.
In the 34-member SMC, BJP had managed to grab power of the civic body for the first time in the elections held in 2017. While BJP has a support of 19 Councillors including two independent, Congress is not far behind at 14. The CPI (M) has one elected Councillor in the house too.
Earlier, the opposition Congress had almost convinced one of the BJP’s Councillor to support a motion to dissolve the MC and dethrone the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The Councillor was reportedly offered the Deputy Mayor’s chair as an incentive. The opposition had even taken signatures of 14 Councillors who were supporting the dissolution of SMC.
However, the party high command had somehow managed to silence this Councillor as well others protesting against the current Mayor. As it turned out, the situation has now become more complicated as the Councillors report no change in the attitude of the Mayor.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.