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Himachal Lost 408 Human Lives, 207 Animals in Winter Season Alongwith Extensive Horticultural, Agricultural Damages

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winter season loss in himachal pradesh 2019

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh suffered major loss and damage in the winter season due to heavy snowfall, avalanches, landslides, hailstorms, and heavy rains. Between January 1 to March 31, 2019. The state lost as many as 408 human lives and 207 animal lives. Similarly, 1346 houses, 9516 water supply schemes were damaged, 30,921 electricity lines were disrupted, 10,260 LT electrical poles were damaged. Besides, 13,733-kilometre roads length and 377-hectare horticulture crop area was affected during the period.

Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal, who chaired a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) on Friday, released this information. The Team was on the three-day visit to the State to assess the damages and losses occurred during winter season-2019 in the State.

Based on this assessment, the State has submitted a memorandum of loss and damages to the government of India amounting to Rs. 374.21 crore.

The State suffered damage to the horticulture and agriculture sector to the tune of 0.54 crore, animal husbandry Rs. 0.19 crore, fishery 0.015 crores, housing Rs. 10.46 crore, community assets Rs. 2.50 crore, forest Rs. 6.78 crore, Public works department Rs. 242.27 crore, IPH Rs. 43.97 crore and Power Rs. 51.17 crore. Besides Rs. 16.32 crore have been distributed as ex-gratia for human lives lost during the calamities in the winter season, informed Director-cum-Special Secretary, HP Disaster Management Authority D.C Rana.

The IMCT team headed by Joint Secretary, KB Singh from Freedom Fighters Rehabilitation department assessed the damages at various places in Shimla, Kinnaur, Chamba, Kullu and Mandi districts.

The other members if the IMCT were Director (Horticulture) Dr. M.N. Singh, Director (Expenditure) S.C. Meena, Deputy Director (Ministry of Rural Development), Deputy Director from Rural Development SS Modi, Director, Central Water Commission OP Gupta, Deputy Director, Power OP Suman, Regional Officer, Road Transport and Highways Vipnesh Sharma.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP By-Election 2019 Dates Announced, Model Code of Conduct Comes Into Effect

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Hp By-Elections 2019 Dates

Shimla-The dates for the by-elections to two Legislative Assemblies of Himachal Pradesh – Dharamshala and Pachhad- were today announced by the Election Commission of India.  The polling would be held on October 21, 2019, in both constituencies. The counting would be done on 24 October 2019.

After sitting MLAs Kishan Kapoor (Dharamsala) and Suresh Kashyap (Pachaad) were elected to the Lok Sabha, these two seats fell vacant.

With the announcements of the dates for the by-polls, Model Code of Conduct has also come into force in Kangra and Sirmaur districts of Himachal.

The EC said that after taking into consideration various factors like local festivals, electoral rolls, weather conditions etc., the Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill two seats in Himachal that lie vacant as per the following schedule

  1. Date of Issue of Gazette Notification 23.09.2019 (MONDAY)
  2. Last Date of Nominations 30.09.2019 (MONDAY)
  3. The date for Scrutiny of Nominations 01.10.2019 (TUESDAY)
  4. Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures 03.10.2019 (THURSDAY)
  5. Date of Poll 21.10.2019 (MONDAY)
  6. Date of Counting 24.10.2019 (THURSDAY)
  7. Date before which election shall be completed 27.10.2019 (SUNDAY)

The Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in the by-election in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines, the EC said.

With this announcement, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and HP Congress are expected to declare their candidates on both seats in next couple of days. While BJP is struggling in selecting candidates due to infighting, Congress has also not zeroed in on any candidates. BJP had sounded the bugle for by-elections prior to Congress and the Chief Minister has even visited both constituencies twice. While BJP would be fighting to maintain its popularity with which it was voted to power in the general assembly elections in 2017, Congress would try to revive the dying spirit of the party.

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Environment

HP PCB Urges Education Deptt to Educate Children About Air, Noise Pollution Caused by Firecrackers Ahead of Diwali

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HP PCB notice on Diwali 2019

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, ahead of Diwali festival, has urged the department of education to educate children about the harmful effects of air and noise pollution caused due to bursting of firecrackers and also to encourage them to celebrate pollution-free Diwali.

The board has also urged the people of the State to celebrate this festival of light in an eco-friendly way and say no to firecrackers.

The HP PCB said that to access the impact of the bursting of firecrackers during the forthcoming Diwali festival, it will conduct a special monitoring drive in the state. During this drive, the board will assess the ambient air and noise quality in the State.

HP PCB said that necessary directions have been issued to all the regional officers and laboratory In-Charges of the State Board to conduct extensive ambient air quality monitoring derive with effect from October 20 to November 3, 2019.

Ambient noise monitoring will also be conducted during pre- Diwali October on 21 and on the day of Diwali (October 27).  

During this monitoring drive, apart from general parameters like particular Matters (PM10, PM 2.5), oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen, Carbon Monoxide and Ammonia some additional parameters like Lead, Nickel, arsenic, Barium, Iron and Strontium will also be monitored, the PCB said.

PCB said that all the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendent of Police have been directed to ensure that no firework of firecrackers should be allowed to burst in the 100 meters vicinity of the silence zone such as hospitals, educational institutions, courts etc. as per the provision of law.

 Sales and use of firecrackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dBA is also prohibited.

Ironically, the Board has no check on various other activities that cause air pollution throughout the year. For example, garbage burning is rampant in the state. While the practice is regular in rural areas and municipal councils, the Municipal Corporation of capital Shimla is also not far behind.

Moreover, there is no check on vehicular emissions as both HP PCB and the State Police refuse to take responsibility for it. The ‘No Honking’ campaign to reduce noise pollution in the state has also failed miserably as no steps were taken to create awareness or to deter people from honking unnecessarily. Considering these facts, it sounds odd that the PCB would actually be striving to check air and noise pollution ahead of Diwali.

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Campus Watch

Shimla Law University Student Protest: Support Pours in From Other Varsities, Students Organizations After Authority Orders Vacating Hostels & Withdraws Basic Facilities

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HPNLU Student Protest in Shimla

Shimla– The student protest at the Himachal Pradesh National Law University at Ghandal, Shimla, which had begun four days ago, has been now fuelled by a harsh step taken by the varsity authority as a means to force the students to surrender. The varsity on September 18, 2019, issued a notification in which it was stated that the University would remain closed till 25 September. The students alleged that they were ordered to vacate the hostels, the mess was closed, washrooms were locked, and drinking water facilities were withdrawn in a bid to force the students to end their protest.

Through the notice, the students were threatened that action would be taken against them if they did not vacate the hostel by September 20. Prior to it, on September 17, the varsity had threatened the students that any students participating in protest would be dealt with strictness.

HP National Law University Shimla Protest

Students After They Were Forced to Vacate Hostels

Now, the students were at the campus under the open sky with all their belongings stacked up in open. However, the students are not ready to surrender. Meanwhile, support is pouring in for the protesting HPNLU students from other National Law Universities as well as students organizations including the Student Federation of India and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Both organizations have come in support of the students and condemned the dictatorial and undemocratic attitude adopted by the varsity authority to suppress the student protest. A warning was issued by both organizations that they will join the students in protest if the varsity continued with the same attitude.

ABVP today met the Education Minsiter Suresh Bhardwaj asking him to take note of the situation the HPNLU and to attend to the grievance of the students. 

HP National Law University Shimla Protest 2

It’s pertinent to mention that the students of HPNLU have been protesting over the lack of basic amenities including drinking water, hygienic and healthy food, electricity, library facility, lack of adequate transport facility etc. There is only one institutional bus for 400 students that operates in an overloaded condition. The students said the hostel rooms lack sufficient lighting and toilets and bathrooms are in dire need of repair. The contract of the mess was given to the same contractor despite the fact that varsity had promised to change the contractor. Balanced died is not provided as there is no provision of fruits, juices, milk, eggs etc., the students said.

The students also released pictures showing insects and pieces of scrubber found in the food they were being served in the mess. They also alleged that students were falling ill due to unhygienic food.

HP National Law University Shimla Protest 8

The students said they are being charged a hefty fee of Rs. 2.50 lakh per annum, which is about Rs 5 lakh for the NRI students. Despite charging fees for various facilities, minimal facilities are being delivered.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hygiene? After paying a hefty amount of ₹30k in a state run institution. This is how cutlery and hygiene is taken care of. Hats off to the immunity of the students. #insaafhpnlu2

A post shared by INSAAF HPNLU 2 (@insaafhpnlu2) on

Students further highlighted that despite UGC guidelines that states that there should be on campus 24×7 medical facility at higher educational institutes, there is no medical facility such as a Medical Centre for the students at the HPNLU. Even in case of emergencies, the students rely on external transport to reach the Community Health Centre, Dhami. A Bolero vehicle is being used as an ambulance, but it lacks equipment and facilities of an emergency vehicle. The vehicle doesn’t even have a stretcher or first aid kit, the students said. 

The students also said that the library timings are not adequate to meet the rigorous demand of a law institute. The number of books on each subject is very limited, which makes them unavailable for the majority of the students.

HP National Law University Shimla Protest 7

The students also alleged that the varsity has made it mandatory for students to submit various projects and assignments on fixed dates, however, failed to provide the means to accomplish these  tasks as there is no proper computer lab and no qualified IT professional.

The campus lacks Wi-Fi facility while the students were charged fees for the same.

There are several other facilities that the students alleged are lacking like organizations of moot courts, guest lectures by eminent jurists, lawyers, workshops for debates, student exchange program, internships, seminars and conferences etc.

Further, the students are demanding that subjects should be allocated to teachers based on their specialization.

Moreover, the students said there is no transparency in the working of the administration and the varsity was also not allowing students to elect a student body that could represent them.

“It all started with the students at HPNLU, Shimla, trying to have a peaceful and productive interaction with the VC, Prof. Nishtha Jaswal, to lend an ear to their grievances. But the VC didn’t even consider paying heed to the grievances of students,”

said a representative of the protesting students

“When a student put forth the issue of the fee hike, the VC responded by saying that students with unsound financial background must refrain from taking admissions in expensive universities like HPNLU, Shimla, and should opt for a traditional law university instead,”

the representative further added.

“There were no steady solutions for the grievances and all the humble requests went in vain. With the adamant attitude of administration and with this response from the VC, the students were left with no choice but to launch a peaceful protest against the administration, which began the next day on September 17, 2019,”

the representative further said.

“The students submitted a draft to the VC stating their grievances. After several hours of protest the VC finally showed up but instead of addressing the grievances the VC asked students to call off the protest,”

the representative said.

“While leaving the VC stated, “keep sitting; the university will be closed.” The students stayed at the university the whole night in cold weather,”

the representative said.

Further, the students said that when the next day representatives met the Chancellor, the request of the students was bluntly declined. When students put forth a request for transparency in the fees, the respected Chancellor dodged the question by saying that fee bifurcation will empower the students to move to consumer courts leading to “added problems” for the administration, the students said.

The Vice-Chancellor, on the other hand, washed her hands off blaming the government of providing insufficient funds. She clearly said that no facilities can be provided unless the government does not release more funds. The VC denied the allegations of the students that they were not receiving good food and other facilities. As per the VC, everything was fine at the campus. Rather, she said, the situation was better than before. She denied allegations regarding unhygienic and unbalanced diets saying that same food is served to the staff too.

She also said that the administration had talked to the students and the students were satisfied. However, the students alleged that they never received any satisfactory response from the varsity administration, which compelled them to launch this protest.

Contradicting, its own notification issued on September 18, by Friday evening, the varsity issued a clarification in which it refuted the all allegations regarding withdrawing of facilities like toilets and orders to vaccate hostels. The varsity said the mess is also running and hostels were also open. 

Clarification Issued by HPNLU on September 20, 2019

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