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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

Himachal Weather Update: Yellow, Orange Alert for Plains and Middle Hills

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Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department has predicted rain and snow in the state from 27th February to March 4, 2020.

Predicting heavy rain and snow, the Met has issued a yellow alert for plans/low hills on 28th and 29th February. For middle hills, an orange alert has been issued on 28th February. The Met has predicted widespread rain and snow in middle and high hills during these two days.

On 1st and 4th March, plains could witness rain and thundershowers at isolated places and the weather is likely to be dry on 2nd and 3rd March.

However, middle and high hills would continue to receive rain/snow at isolated places till 4th March without any break.

No warning has been issued for high hills. Change in weather is likely to affect minimum and maximum temperatures.

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Himachal Govt Gears up for NPR Updation, Census 2021

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npr IN HIMACHALPRADESH

Shimla- Chief Secretary Anil Khachi on February 19, 2020, chaired one-day State Level Conference/training of Divisional Census Officers (DCO) and Principal Census Officers (PCO) of Himachal Pradesh on Census of India 2021 organised by Directorate of Census Operations Himachal Pradesh.

Chief Secretary asked to notify a nodal officer for Census 2020-21 at the district level for coordination of all Census related activities in the district. He also asked to appoint a Field Trainer at District level for all districts and their registration for technical assistance for operating Census Management and Monitoring System (CMMS), at the earliest. The appointment of enumerators and supervisors must also be adhered to, he added.

Director Census Operation, Dr Sushil Kapta informed that during Census 2021, all 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh including 73 Sub-Divisions, 172 Tehsils and Sub Tehsils and 20852 villages would be covered.

He said that 14,946 enumerators and 2532 Supervises would be involved Census 2021 in the state. He said that the exercise would take place in a phased manner. In phase one, the house listing and housing census operations and updation of National Population Register would take place on 16th May 2020 upto 30th June 2020.

In phase two, the population enumeration in general areas would take place from 9th to 28th February 2021. The revisional round would take place from 1st March to 5th March 2021. Also, in the second phase, the population enumeration in snow bound areas would take place from 11th to 30th September 2020 and the revisional round would begin from 1st October to 5th October 2020.

Deputy Director Census Operation, Dr Rajender Prasad gave detailed information on house listing and housing census schedules and its processes.

The Secretary, General Administrative Department (GAD) has been appointed as State Nodal Officer and Deputy Commissioners of all districts including Commissioners of Municipal Corporation, Shimla and Dharamshala have been appointed as Principal Census Officers for both rural and urban areas for the success of this exercise.

Secretary GAD Devesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioners and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.

Further, during the training, the Divisional Census Officers and Principal Census Officers were imparted training on the instruction manual for Houselisting & Housing Census and manual for National Population Register.

The Chief Secretary said that the objective of the training programme was to provide adequate exposure of the census exercise to the Divisional Census Officers and Principal Census Officers. He directed the DCO and PCO to complete the census operation in a befitting manner within the stipulated time frame. He directed the authorities to carry out the exercise with dedication and fidelity.

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School-Girl Allegedly Abducted, Gang-raped in BBN Hotel

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gangrape in baddi solan

Solan-A school-girl was allegedly abducted by four men and gang-raped in a hotel in Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) – the industrial area of Solan district. The area is already infamous for a higher rate of crime in the state.

The alleged crime was committed a month ago. However, the girl remained silent during this time as she was afraid due to threats given by accused. It is now that the girl has spoken to her parents about the alleged crime.

As per the complaint filed by the parents of the victim to police, while she was on her way to school, four men dragged her into a vehicle where they threatened the girl with some weapons, took her to a hotel in Baddi and gang-raped her.

As per the complaint, the father of the victim told police that last month a fire broke out at their stockyard. A few days after the fire, the girl was allegedly abducted and gang-raped by four men who also told the girl that it was them who had set their stockyard on fire. Before letting her go, the accused threatened her that her parents would have to pay the price with their lives if she dared to speak to anyone regarding the alleged crime.

Superintendent of Police, Solan, Rohit Malpani, confirmed filing a complained under Section 363, 376, and 34 of IPC. Search is underway to identify and nab the accused, he informed.

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