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Shimla MC’s move to privatise sanitation work in controversy over hiring of Rohingya refugees

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Rohingya refugees in Shimla as sanitation workers

Shimla: The alleged entry of Rohingya refugees into Shimla as new sanitation workers after the Municipal Corporation decided to outsource the service from July 1, 2018, has sparked a controversy.

The private company is bringing workers from other states like Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir, but it did not care about verifying their identity.  At the same time, Shimla MC also caught off-guard as it also became care-free after outsourcing the work. 

The SMC has outsourced the sanitation work in five Wards; Tutu, Majyath, Tutikandi, Boileauganj, Kachhi Ghati. The company hired about 40 workers, who were brought from other states. Out of these 40, about 22 were Rohingya refugees, the reports said.   

The Mayor washed her hands-off saying she was not aware of the identification of the workers hired by the company for the sanitation work of her town. 

Further, MC has now decided that no refugees would be hired.  

The private company reportedly justified that he was not aware that they were refugees. He said about five people, who were carrying an identity card of the issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had approached him to seek the job. 

These refugees do not possess any identification given by the Indian government, it was alleged.

Questions have been raised over the functioning of security agencies and the State Police Department. As per allegations, the SMC, district administration, police, and security agencies were unaware of the fact that refugees have entered Shimla without their knowledge.

The district administration and police department have begun an investigation of the allegations. The contractor has been summoned by the Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap and Superintendent of Police Ompati Jamwal.

The Mayor has been directed to verify the identity of workers being brought by the company. 

Meanwhile, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pramod Shukla, said the refugees had returned to J&K and were expected to come back with more workers. He said currently there was no refugee present in Shimla. 

Hire Locals as Sanitation Workers: VHP

The State President of the Vishav Hindu Parishad in Himachal Pradesh has also issued a statement terming these refugees as a threat to the internal security of the state.

The VHP has also questioned the move to hire workers from another state instead of providing employment to locals. 

It’s pertinent to mention that about 40 locals employed as workers with the Shimla Heritage, Environment & Beautification Society have already quite the job as a protest against the privatization. 

Who are Rohingya Refugees?

Rohingya refugees are said to be the result of what was described as one of the largest exoduses of people in which about 500,000 people had to flee the country to take refuge in border areas of the neighbouring countries. It happened after a massacre of the people of Rohingya ethnic group.

Rohingya had been living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state for several decades alongside Buddhist population. Their population was estimated to be around 10 lakh. They are not treated as citizens of Myanmar, they do not enjoy rights like citizens, and their access to health, education, supplies, group activities etc. has always remained restricted. They are believed to be Bangladeshi Muslims who were not recognized as citizens by their government and were forced to migrate to Myanmar.

As per the reports of the UN, after facing decades of atrocities including the brutal rape of their women and minor girls, a militant group appeared as a reaction to this long persecution. On August 25, 2017, a genocide begins in Rohingya after the government of Myanmar alleged that this militant group, which was allegedly supported by Rohingya people, launched an attack on security posts and killed a dozen of soldiers.

Though the government refuted the allegations, the UN reports have suggested that armed forces were not only after the militants responsible for attacks but were also raped women and minor girls and slaughtered about 1,000 Rohingya people in the Rakhine state.

As per UNO, these people are one of the most persecuted ethnic groups and have endured atrocities on the hand of the majority for several decades.

These refugees also sought refuge in India; however, the government remained sceptical about them under pressure from internal organizations that termed them as a potential threat to the security of India.

The government had told the Supreme Court that it does not want India to become a refugee capital of the world. As per officials, there are about 40,000 refugees related to the Rohingya community in India.

The Indian government is in favour of identifying these refugees and deport them back to Myanmar. Also, these refugees were not given access to health care or government programs meant to support their survival and protect their rights.

India is not a signatory of 1951 refugees convention meant to extend help to displaced people.

As per reports, mothers and their newborns are also not receiving sufficient nutrition and a large number of still deaths were reported in the refugee camps.

Senior advocate Ashwini Kumar, who was appearing for two Rohingya migrants had stated that “minimum humanitarian morality” should be shown to the refugees at the border.

We cannot push them back to the jaws of death. You cannot deny a man his right to life. The Supreme Court has to intervene as the ultimate protector of life,

he had submitted.

These refugees fear that they would be either massacred or further persecuted if they were deported back to the conflict zone from where they had to flee to save their lives.

Meanwhile, India has initiated talks with the Myanmar government regarding the deportation of refugees.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 69 New COVID-19 Cases Including 27 from Solan, 10 from Shimla

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Shimla-covid-19 cases

Shimla-The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday crossed the 2700 mark with the appearance of 69 new cases. These cases include two policeman, army personals, migrant labourers and some other locals.The number of active cases has now risen to 1115.

According to the State Health Department, Solan reported the highest 27 cases. Majority of these include workers in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area and contacts of COVID-19 positive persons. Most of these 27 persons weren’t quarantined, which is a matter of concern.

The capital Shimla reported 10 cases, of which five were said to be migrant labourers in Rampur. Shimla city reported three cases including an employee of the General Post Office, Shimla. What’s worrying about this case is the fact that the sample of this woman was taken in flu OPD after she visited the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla. The woman has been mobile and used public transport too. Her travel history is yet to be traced. The CMO, Shimla, Surekha Chopra confirmed the report. There was no report regarding the sealing of the GPO or other places the woman had visited. But her residence at crowded Sanjauli locality was sealed. Two other cases were reported from Kasumpti and Bharari areas. Details regarding the remaining two were awaited. The COVID-19 case tally of Shimla has now reached 178 with two deaths.

Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (8), Chamba (4), Hamirpur (6), Mandi (11), Sirmaur (1), and Bilaspur (2).

So far, Solan has reported the highest 690 confirmed cases, followed by Kangra (476), Sirmaur (346), Hamirpur (313), Una (217), Shimla (178), Mandi (183), Bilaspur (101), Kinnaur (45), Kullu (37), and Lahaul-Spit (4).

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin August 2, 2020 (9PM)

 New cases in Shimla

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-uhf nauni ug admissions 2020-21 session

Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios Re-shuffle – Reward to Loyalists, Warning to Dissenting Voices Within Party

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New Hp Cabinet Minister portfolios

Shimla: The portfolios of Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers were re-shuffled extensively along with the induction of three new Ministers – Rakesh Pathania, Sukh Ram, and Rajinder Garg. Newly inducted Ministers in the HP Cabinet had taken the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan on July 30, 2020. 

Sukh Ram Chaudhary, MLA from Paonta Sahib Assembly constituency, Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur, and Rajinder Garg of Ghumarwin constituency took oath as Cabinet Minister.

While the shuffle is being justified by claiming that it was a punishment for not performing well, this opportunity has also been used to discourage dissent within the party and reward loyalists. Earlier governments have also re-shuffled portfolios during their reign, but not upto the extent it has been done this time.

Also Read: HP Cabinet’s Three Newly Inducted Ministers Take Oath

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur was heard warning ministers earlier regarding the possible changes, but the possible resentment did not allow it. However, the opportunity to fill up all positions in the Cabinet has also been used to re-shuffle portfolios of other ministers as well.

The Ministries of  Education, Forest, Health & Family Welfare, and Transport are some of the most important portfolios which have been shuffled. Further, the Chief Minister has decided to retain other important portfolios and all others that are not allocated to anyone.

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios After Re-shuffle

Name

Ministry 

Departments 

Jairam Thakur Chief Minister Finance, General Administration, Home, Planning, Personnel, Public Works Department, Tourism, Excise & Taxation, All other departments not alloted to any other minister.
Mahender Singh Thakur Jal Shakti Minister Jal Shakti, Revenue, Horticulture, Sainik Welfare
Suresh Bhardwaj Urban Development Minister Urban Development, Town &Country Planning, Housing, Parliamentary Affairs, law & Legal Remembrance, Co-operation
Sarveen Chaudhary Social Justice & Empowerment   Social Justice & empowerment
Ram Lal markanda Technical Education Minister Technical Education, Vocational & Industrial Training, Tribal Development, Information Technology, Redressal ofPulbic Grievances
Virender kanwar Rural Development & panchayati Raj Minister Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries
Biram Singh Industries Minister Industries, Transport, Labour & Employment
Govind Singh Thakur Education Minister Higher Education, Elementary Education, Language, Art & Culture
Rajiv Saizal Health & Family Welfare Minister Health & Family Welfare, Ayurveda
Sukh Ram MPP & Power Minister MPP & Power, Non-Conventional Energy Sources
Rakesh Pathania Forest Minister Forest, Youth Services & Sports
Rajinder Garg Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Printing & Stationary

 

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