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Ambulance Federation and opposition parties extend support to striking 108 staff in Himachal

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Shimla: The strike of the staff of 108 and 102 emergency services in Himachal Pradesh has entered its 7th day despite termination of about 63 striking employees by imposing of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

This staff includes ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who provide pre-hospital care to patients.

The staff have been protesting at the State Secretariat in Chotta Shimla since 25 June over their complain of exploitation by the private company GVK -Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI).

They approached the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and had submitted a memorandum of their demands. However, so far the staff only received ESMA and termination in return.

Now, Jeewan Rakshak Bhartiya Ambulance Karamchari Federation also jumped in to support the striking staff in Himachal. Bikramjeet Singh Saini, the president of the Federation, has warned of a strike in all North-Indian States including Punjab, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Delhi, UP, and Rajasthan on 11 July if the demands of the employees were not met.

We have already submitted a memorandum to Union Health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda at his New Delhi residence on June 21 demanding to bring the ambulance employees in all the states under the purview of NHM,

Saini told PTI.

It would mean that the emergency services can fall on their face in North Indian states, causing huge inconvenience to the public. Further, Saini has warned that if the government still did not yield, a country-wide strike will follow the July 11 event.

Now, the opposition parties Congress and CPI (M) have also come out in support of the striking staff.

The GVK- EMRI company is exploiting the staff since the day the agreement was signed with the State government for the operation of the emergency services. The government has introduced a condition of 12 hours service per day, which is a complete violation of the labour laws, said Sanjay Chauhan, leader of CPI(M) and former Mayor of Shimla.

The corruption and exploitation are clearly visible in the view of the recent scam by the GVK company in Himachal that was unearthed by the Central Bureau of Investigation,

said Sanjay.

An FIR has lodged an FIR against a senior Employee’s Provident Fund Organization Officer and a middleman of GVK company for offering and accepting a bribe.

The middleman has paid a bribe of Rs. 80,000 to the officer of the EPF office in exchange for reducing EPF liabilities of the company. Taking notice of the tempering with the EPF of the employees, the state government should act immediately to terminate the contract signed with the company and bring the staff under the purview of the NHM, he added.

Congress has also termed it a complete failure on the part of the government to ignore the grievance of the striking employees.

Instead of inviting the striking staff for talks and accepting the genuine demands of the staff, the government has imposed ESMA to terrorize the staff, which is a highly oppressive step,

said Congress Spokesperson.

He said the government is lying to avert criticism for its failure to intervene and end the strike.

The public is facing huge inconvenience and forced to bear expenses of hiring private vehicles due to the partial operation of 108 and 102 services.

The government says it has roped in the staff of the Health Department and Homegaurd to drive the ambulances. Drivers from neighbouring state Uttarakhand were also roped in.

While the government says about 192 of the total 108 ambulances are on road, the head of the 108 workers’ union Puran Chand rubbished the claim by saying that several ambulances were already unfit, therefore, it is a lie that 192 vehicles are on road.

There are total 126 ambulances under 102 emergency services for the pregnant women, and the government claims over 60 of them are still serving.

Demands of the Staff

The company is not paying more than Rs.5,000 to 10,000 as a salary while they staff is made to work for 12 hours per day, said the head of the union Puran Chand. Sometimes, the staff is undertaking 24 hours shifts too but there is no provision of additional payment for overtime, he added.

Further, the staff is demanding cancellation of the MoU signed between the HP Government and GVK EMRI for the operation of the emergency services. The staff also demand to bring their service under the purview of National Health Mission (NHM), like it is done in Haryana.

By bringing it under the government, the working hours of the staff should be fixed at eight hours per day. The employees expect that this step would put check on the exploitation of the employees by the private company.

The employees are both shocked and scared after the company terminated 63 employees under the cover of ESMA.

But we will continue our strike despite these terminations till our demand of bringing the 108 ambulances service under the purview of the National Health Mission (NHM) is met

, said Puran Chand.

Feature Photo: Dalbeer Singh Negi, DNA

Misc News/Press Release

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s statue on Shimla Ridge or Mall, memorial in Manali, renaming Kold Dam and 2 schemes on HP Govt’s list

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Statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Shimla Ridge or Mall

Shimla: After Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Yashwant Singh Parmar, and freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, now the ruling government of Bhartiya Janata Party has decided to erect a statue of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on either the historic Shimla Ridge Maidan or the Mall.

Three of the aforementioned statues are of the prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress. This would be the first statute of a leader of Bhartiya Janata Party to be installed beside the INC leaders.

The Cabinet also decided to construct a memorial at Manali in memory of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The government would also send a proposal to the Union Government to rename Kol Dam project after his name.

The Cabinet has also passed a resolution to request Union Government to name Rohtang Tunnel in the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The government will also re-name the Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Vidya Kendra Scheme launched by the State Government as Atal Adarsh Vidya Kendra and Mukhya Mantri Aashirwad Scheme as Atal Aashirwad Scheme.

Such decisions have their own psycho-social impacts on the common populace in the long-term and the INC has used them quite effectively.

The Cabinet has cited following reasons behind passing condolence resolution:

  • The government said these decisions are the parts of a condolence resolution on the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • He had special benevolence for Himachal Pradesh and its people and had sanctioned various mega projects for the State which people of the State have not dreamt of. He considered Himachal as his second home and has home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, the Cabinet said.
  • He gave the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting Lahaul valley with rest of the world in 1998 and the project was announced on June 3, 2000.
  • He gave a special package for industrial development for Himachal Pradesh in 2003.
  • He gave the nod to Pokhran Nuclear test making India a nuclear power.
  • One of the largest education programs ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership.
  • He gave the nation the Golden Quadrilateral National Highway Project – the lifeline of trade in India.
  • He started ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking five lakh villages of India to cities including those in Himachal.
  • His policies paved way for a very robust economic growth, with special emphasis on SEZs, giving telecom spectrum to private players for quality service to customers etc.
  • He had laid the foundation stones of Kol Dam and Parvati Hydro Electric Projects in the State besides Mohan Shakti National Heritage Park at Harth near Solan.

 

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HP Govt mulls over regular medical checkups in schools for early diagnosis of drug addiction

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medical checkup in hp govt schools

Shimla: Considering the rapidly increasing evil nuisance drug/substance abuse in the youths of Himachal Pradesh, the state government is mulling over introducing a mechanism for regular medical checkups of the school students for early diagnose of signs and symptoms of drug addiction.

It was informed at the Regional Conference of Chief Ministers of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Administrator of Chandigarh Union Territory held today.

As the States shared their borders with each other, they agreed that it is essential to constitute a joint task force to check cross-border drug peddling.

Other proposals included the formation of a long-term strategy to engage youth in constructive activities and to encourage parents to keep an eye on the behaviour of their teenage children. Abnormal behaviour often results from the circumstances created by addiction.

The entry of synthetic drugs is tightening its grip on the youth including the teenagers at schools.

A large number of crimes could be attributed to substance addictions. Addicts are trying to obtain money to purchase substances/drugs, but when a purchase goes wrong, they need more money, it gives rise to violence and crime. Eradication of drug mafia would also affect the rate of crimes.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, through video conferencing, said that about 1000 arrests had been made in the State against drug peddlers. However, no time period was mentioned.

Further, it was decided that a Common Secretariat would be established in Panchkula in Haryana to check this social vice and all the neighbouring States would appoint a Nodal Officers for effective coordination, it was informed. Uttar Pradesh would also be requested to be part of this campaign and the Chief Ministers of these northern State would meet after every six months in a year and the Secretary-level meeting would be at least four times in a year.

Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhry, Additional Chief Secretary Dr Shrikant Baldi, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi and ADGP Anurag were present at Shimla and Additional Chief Secretary, Home B.K. Aggarwal and Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu were present at Chandigarh on the occasion.

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Govt declares 7-days State Mourning, 2-days public holiday in Himachal

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Atal-Bihari-Vajpayee passes away

Shimla:The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the Governor Acharya Devvrat, and several leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party and oppositions mourned the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93).

He passed away today in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi after a long illness.

The State Government has declared seven days State Mourning. The national flag would remain to fly at half mast.

The State Government has also declared public holidays for 17th and 18th August 2018.

He was born in Gwalior on December 25, 1924, and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1939. was one of the founding members of the BJP.

He Vajpayee was thrice elected the prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and was the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004.

He was also conferred prestigious Bharat Ratan award too.

Nation has today lost a great leader and a noble soul. This loss cannot be compensated. Himachal Pradesh had been a special place for Atal Ji and he always considered it as his own home as he used to come and stay at Prini in Kullu District frequently

, in their condolence message, the Ministers said.

He was a statesman and a visionary leader, whose demise is a great loss to the nation. He said that Shri Vajpayee always considered Himachal Pradesh as his second home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, 

Chief Minister Jai Ram said in his condolence message.

The Chief Minister also shared an old picture taken with Shri Vajpayee.

Chief Minister said that the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting landlocked hinterland Lahaul valley with rest of the world was conceived in 1998 by Shri Vajpayee and the project was announced by him on June 3, 2000. He said that this project was nearing completion and would be the biggest gift of Shri Vajpayee to the State.

He said that it was National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee that Himachal Pradesh got a special package for industrial development in 2003. He said that this resulted in an industrial investment of thousands of crores of Rupees and employment opportunities to lakhs of the youth of the State.

Jai Ram Thakur said one of the largest educational programs in the world, ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership. The program was a product of strong willpower of this statesman, he added.

Chief Minister said that it was during the tenure of Shri Vajpayee that the Golden Quadrilateral, the lifeline of trade in India came into being. In addition, ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking the 5 lakh villages of India to cities by all-weather roads, which in particular proved a boon to the hilly states like Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Shri Vajpayee was the great son of India in a real sense, who, with his simplicity and humility, ruled the hearts of millions of people. He always believed in value-based politics and always adhered to it. He said that Shri Vajpayee would always be remembered and respected by the people of the country for his simplicity, humanity and benevolence,

the Governor said in his message of condolence.

Further, leaders of the opposition are also paying their respects and praying to the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul.

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