Kangra- The 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force martyred in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir, in one of the most ghastly terror attacks also included a braveheart of Himachal Pradesh.
Tilak Raj, 32, hailed from Dhewa village in Jawali area of the Kangra district. He was survived by wife and two sons. His second son is only 22 days old. He had returned to join the duty on February 11, 2019, after attending the birth of his second baby.
The family was left heartbroken as the news of his martyrdom reached them. The villagers were visiting
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur expressed grief over the departure of all Jawans. He announced a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh to the family of martyr Tilakraj.
Tilakraj was a talented man, a good singer, and an athlete. He had written, sung, and released some of the songs. Some songs like Neelam Gaddan, Pyari Monika, Apne Ghar are also available on his YouTube channel Tilak
The entire nation was shocked when the news of the attack broke out yesterday evening. A suicide bomber reportedly rammed an SUV loaded with over 300 kg of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) into the vehicles of the CRPF convey.
The anguish against terror groups as well as Pakistan broke out in India and several foreign nations also condemned this despicable act. Hashtags seeking revenge were trending on social media.
The terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), founded by Masood Azhar, and claimed the responsibility for the attack. The suicide bomber who rammed the explosive-laden SUV into the convoy was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, also known as Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala. He was a resident of Gundibagh village in Pulwama district of South Kashmir
Governor Acharya Devvrat also expressed deep grief over the attack. The Governor also called off the dinner to be organised on Friday evening at Raj Bhawan for the Members of the state Assembly.
Statement of HP Chief Minister
Expressing his grief, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government would provide all possible assistance to the bereaved family members of the martyr Tilak Raj. He said that this incident was a very unfortunate and cowardly act by the militants and that those involved in this incident would not go unpunished.
Statement of Prime Minister
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that perpetrators of Pulwama terror attack act will be punished. He has warned the perpetrators and those aiding and abetting terrorists that they have made a big mistake and will have to pay a heavy price. Stating that free hand has been given to the security forces to act, PM dared Pakistan not to live in the illusion that it can destabilize India.
Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the leaders of the opposition, Indian National Congress, said they stand with the government amid this dreadful terror attack.
With this attack, several questions are being raised over the failure of the Intelligence Agencies and State Police. About 2500 jawans were travelling in a convoy of 70 vehicles, which was not a usual protocol.
The State Police or surveillance agencies had no clue that such a massive amount of explosives was present in an SUV, which managed to get on the road and ram into the convey.
At the same time, it’s worth pointing out that contamination of the working culture of the Defense sector with politics is also responsible for inciting terrorist groups.
After the militant attack in Uri in 2016 in which 19 jawans were martyred, politicians marketed the surgical strike of the Indian armed forces like a product for image building. Some veterans of the armed forces and political leaders had also asserted that information related to such operations should not be publicized. Sadly, the valour of the armed forces was exploited for political gains.
The government even started observing Surgical Strike Day. There was an effort to send a message that the victims of the Uri attack were avenged and that terrorists were hit and afraid. It was obvious that terrorist groups would react to it with bigger, more damaging attack whenever they would receive any opportunity.
Currently, as a response to the attack, India on Friday announced that it had decided to withdraw the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan and would take all possible steps to isolate the country at the international level.
A curfew was imposed in the affected region and teams of the NIA and NSG were on their way to visit the spot of the attack. Some suspects were also detained in relation to the attack.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.