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Ruling HP Govt gathering publicity by claiming previously passed schemes as new initiatives: former Shimla Mayor

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Rani Jhansi park in Shimla

Shimla: In the 2017-18 budget presented in the Shimla Municipal House on February 22, 2017, a budget of Rs. 50 lakh was provided for a scheme intended to conserve and develop forests areas. The scheme was prepared jointly by then SMC and the State Forest Department.

It proposed fencing of forest areas and construction of walking trails and resting points. The SMC had informed the scheme was primarily being implemented in Glen, Summerhill and Navbahar.

Similarly, in collaboration with the forest department, a budget also proposed for the development of a multipurpose park at the dumping site adjacent to the crematory of Kanlog at a cost of Rs. 5.5 crores.

Kanlog multipurpose park

Multipurpose Park in Kanlog, Shimla

However, yesterday, this scheme was launched as a new initiative of the new government to take undue credit for it was proposed during the tenure of previous SMC.

It was alleged by the former Mayor of Shimla town, Sanjay Chauhan, who also provided a photo of page 35 of then budget to support the aforesaid facts.

shimla mc budget 2017-2018

The proposal made in 2017-2018 budget of Shimla MC

The Forest and Transport Minister Govind Singh Thakur were even showering words of appreciation towards the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur saying he was always endeavouring to take new initiatives.

However, Sanjay mocked at the new government over its failure to form or get new schemes sanctioned during the tenure of last six months. The pace of developmental works has drastically fallen since the ruling party came to power at the SMC House, he said.

Instead of boosting the pace of ongoing developmental projects including those funded by the World Bank like the ropeway on NH -5, drinking water scheme, replacement of water meters to provide metered supply, renovation of the Town Hall, much needed parking in various wards and parks like the Rani Ground in Kasumpti, these projects are either halted or are progressing at snail’s pace.

As a matter of fact, a local and a reader of Himachal Watcher, Dr Parish Thakur, had shared some pictures of the Rani ground Park complaining that the development of this park was abandoned in the middle of the construction work because the payment of the contractor was allegedly pending.

The park would have been completed by now giving a recreational place for all, especially children if the work wasn’t abandoned, he had told HW.  

Rani Ground SHimla 2

Abandoned construction work of multipurpose park at Rani Ground, Kasumpti in Shimla City

The proposed parking at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Vikasnagar, Tutikandi etc. still remain proposals or abandoned half way.

Further, Sanjay alleged that the government was not supporting the SMC in the implementation of the schemes worth Rs. 4700 crores passed during the tenure of the previous SMC.

The reaction of the former Mayor came after a statement was issued yesterday after the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of Glen Nature Park near Kumar House.

It was informed that Rs 98 lakh would be spent on the Glen Natural Park that spreads over an area of 164 hectares. It would include three walking trails – IIAS to Brass Path Gate, Glen Park to Summer Hill, and Glen Park to Forest Nursery Glen. Three rain shelters and three watch-towers would also be constructed in the park. In addition, three picnic spots would also be developed in this park, the State government assured.
It was announced that 22 new Nature Parks in the State in order to boost eco-tourism in the State.

The government also launched “Mera Vriksh Mera Parivar, which it says, is an afforestation programme of the Forest Department.

Further, the former Mayor believes that the Shimla needs special capital grant considering the historical value associated with it, which the government should release at the earliest.

Moreover, the steps to dissolve the Greater Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Circle (GSWSC) and privatisation of the supply of drinking water has already been facing criticism. Similar is the case with the sanitation work, which is suffering after the new SMC decided to privatise it too.

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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