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Villagers in Lahaul-Spiti join relief efforts, bring free food and warm clothing for stranded people 

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Lahaul-Spiti-Villagers-provide free food to tourist

Kullu: On Thursday, the Indian Air Force and Border Security Forces reportedly moved over 800 people including tourists from tribal district Lahaul-Spiti. More people would be evacuated from the spots where they were stranded after a snowfall and rains.

Untimely snowfall in the tribal district has disrupted the normal life, which left many tourists and local People stranded at different places in the district.

Efforts were afoot to evacuate them. Four helicopters of the IAF are carrying out the evacuation of tourists and other people from snow-affected areas.

Along with the rescue teams, the villagers are also gathering an appreciation for joining in the relief efforts. Local women under Tod Mahila Mandal and Yuva Mandal had decided to provide free food, beverages, bedding etc. to stranded people until they are not moved to safer locations.

villagers help people stranded in lahaul spiti

Locals of Lahaul-Spiti faced a complete loss of their crops due to untimely snowfall and rains, however, they still considered helping the stranded people as thier priority. The untimely snowfall has destroyed apple orchards, tomoato, cabbage and cauliflower crops.

The locals had also urged the local dhaba owners and hoteliers in Keylong, Sissu, Udaipur, and Koskar to join the relief efforts.

Khangsar, Gondhla Shooling, Sissu, Koksar along with some other villagers were said to be worst hit in terms of crop destruction. As per the villagers, potato and cauliflower crops were riped and ready to be harvested. The villagers are now looking towards the government for some relief.

Moreover, there was no news of overcharges or extortion from stranded tourists by hoteliers or dhabas.

On Friday, about 26 people including some bikers were evacuated from Chhattru and Chhota Dara. Some labourers were also evacuated from Killing Sarai near Sarchu through helicopters.

Further, the Government informed that in order to know the whereabouts of the tourists and local people trapped near the Chandratal Lake and to provide food items to them ADM Kaza Vikram Singh Negi, along with his rescue team of 10-12 people reached Chandratal Lake after 16 hours walking on Thursday.

Around 45 tourists and others stranded people were transported to safer places besides 13 tourists were also airlifted today to safer places.

Nine people stranded in Baralacha and Sarchu including one woman were brought to Kullu by helicopter. A helicopter sortie took place yesterday to airlift snow bound stranded people from Stingiri to Kullu. Further, about 200-300 people stranded in the Saruchu and Darcha of the district were also airlifted through helicopter.

Three buses of HRTC and a private bus were put in service to transport stranded people from north portal of Sissu Tunnel to Manali Bus Stand. Persons who want to go to Lahaul from Kullu -Manali can avail the facility of these buses from Manali bus stand.

Eleven heavy types of machinery including JCBs were engaged in the district to clear the roads. The BRO has been asked to open the road from Grampho side and they are working on it.

The State Government hopes that the situation in the district would restore to normal in the next few days. 

 

Misc News/Press Release

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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