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Deplorable Condition of HRTC Buses, Services, Staff Shortage, Route Suspension Without Notice Resulting in Hardship for Public

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Poor HRTC Bus Conditions and Services

Shimla– The two recent  bus accidents on June 20, 2019, at Banjar that killed 46 passengers and the other at Jhinjhari  near Khalini in Shimla on  July 1 have  not only exposed the inability of the government to provide safe commuting, but also its myopic outlook  to identify  the real cause  behind  these  accidents, said Rakesh Singh, sitting MLA, Theog, and a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He expressed concerned over the deplorable bus services in the state.

With a demand to convene a meeting on urgent basis prior to July 11 to address several issues regarding this matter, he has submitted a memorandum to the State government through the Managing Director, Himachal Road Transport Corporation.

In the memorandum, Singha said the gap between the increasing number of daily computers and the bus services being provided in both the rural and urban areas throughout the state is growing. To overcome this gap, not only additional bus routes are required on the constructed and approved roads but also additional staff needs to be recruited to efficiently and safely run the present public and private mode of communication, he said.

 If the shortage of staff is examined in some of the Transport depots of district  Shimla, it will project an overall view of the critical situation that is existing in the state of Himachal  Pradesh, he said. There are 283 approved bus routes under the Shimla local depot with 240 running buses, there are 111 drivers and 98 conductors short, and given the extreme shortage of staff,  12 routes have been permanently suspended, he said.

Under the Tara Devi depot, the shortage of drivers is 55 and for the conductors, this figure stands at 65. The situation is equally pathetic in the Rohru depot where 24 buses are of zero book value. Shockingly, the HRTC is plying these buses which ordinarily should have been placed in a junkyard. He added that under this depot, 16 buses are more than nine years old and are yet plying. Moreover, everyone is aware of the condition of the roads in the interior of the state, he said.

Apart from this, the figure for the shortage of drivers is 49 and that of conductors is 46. Under the Rampur depot, there are 11 zero book value buses, and the shortage of drivers and conductors is 60 and 42 respectively, he said.

 The memorandum further stated that it is not possible to provide safe and smooth operation of bus services in the state with such kind of miserable conditions of public transportation. The HRTC management has become immune to the frequent accidents that keep taking place in the state, Singha said in the memorandum. The repeated magisterial inquiries have not been able to deliver any results to reduce the number of accidents. Inquires are only conducted for public consumption and academic interests. No one is ever penalized for lapses and no steps are ever taken to rectify and overcome the major shortcomings, he alleged.  

The recent decision of the HRTC of not allowing passengers to abode the buses beyond the sitting capacity has created greater inconvenience to the people. Every day three lakh students travel to and fro to schools, but after the latest decision, they are facing huge trouble in commuting. Thousands of employees are unable to reach their offices on time.

 He further said that everyday hundred of bus routes are being suspended without giving prior notice to the people. This is resulting in the hardships, especially for the patients, infirm, the old, the farmers who carry their farm produce to the market using public transport. Alone in Theog, several bus routes are being suspended now and then causing inconvenience to the public. These routes include Shimla- Sambar, Shimla- Alwa, Shimla-  Gaganghatti,  Shimla- Mahipul via- Tyalli, Shimla- Mundo,  Theog Jarai, Shimla- Shyamnagar via Kogarah and many more.

Singha added that there can be no temporary or stop-gap solution to these problems apart from recruiting the running staff of drivers and conductors, discarding those buses which are of zero book value and purchase of new vehicles.

Campus Watch

HP University Offers Special Chance to Complete UG Degrees

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HPU Special Chance for UG Degrees

Shimla– Himachal Pradesh University on July 17, 2019, issued a notification offering special chance to complete BA/B.Sc/B.Com and Shashtri degrees to candidates who had enrolled for academic sessions between 2000 – 2012-13 but could not complete their course in the given time period.

Such candidates can avail this special chance by paying a fee of Rs 5000 per year. The examination will be held in March 2020 in accordance with the old syllabus (2012-13).

Similarly, the candidates, who had enrolled for academic sessions between 2000-2014, can avail this chance to complete their BCA/BBA degrees by paying a fee of Rs 20, 000 per year. The examination for these degrees will be held in September 2019 in accordance with the old syllabus (2013-14).

The notification was issued after a few amendments in decisions taken by the HPU Executive Council in its meeting held on May 31, 2019.       

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Cabinet Decisions July 2019: Nod to ‘HP Construction, Demolition Waste Policy and Strategy’ & ‘HP Direct Selling Guidelines, 2019’

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HP Cabinet Decisions July 2019

Shimla– Himachal Pradesh Cabinet meeting was held on July 16, 2019, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur

The cabinet has recommended the Governor to convene Monsoon session of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha from August 19 to August 31, 2019, with a total number of 11 sittings.

The Cabinet decided to provide State subsidy of 30 percent of system cost including installation of solar water heating systems of capacities 100 LPD and 200 LPD only to all the domestic consumers in the state.

HP Construction and Demolition Waste Policy and Strategy

It decided to frame Himachal Pradesh State Construction and Demolition Waste Policy and Strategy to avoid, minimise, reuse, recycle and dispose-off construction and demolition waste and avoid and minimize construction waste through design and construction management. This would help in checking the environmental problems that arise owning to open dumping of these wastes. Under the policy, suitable land would be provided for the dumping of construction and demolition waste and further its processing through private operators/agencies or by Urban Local Bodies.

 HP Direct Selling Guidelines, 2019

The Cabinet decided to approve Himachal Pradesh State Direct Selling Guidelines, 2019. The government claimed it would regulate the business of direct selling and multi-level marketing and strengthen the existing regulatory mechanism on direct selling and multi-level marketing. It’ll also prevent fraud and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the consumers, the government said.  

 The Cabinet approved the change of equity in favour of three power projects and also cleared a policy for imposing a penalty in case of change of equity and name without the approval of the government. Project developers would be given a period of 60 days when to get them approved without penalty.

 It accorded approval to

  •  Fill up five posts of Civil Judges in Himachal Pradesh High Court through direct recruitment to ensure speedy disposal of various cases
  • Fill up seven posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) and 10 posts of Statistical Assistant in Health and Family Welfare Department on contract basis through Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission, Hamirpur.
  • Open Health Sub Centres at Kashimblidhar in Gram Panchayat Kuklah and at Chunani in Gram Panchayat Kashaud in Tehsil Balichowki and in Gram Panchayat Tandi in Chachiot tehsil of Mandi district alongwith creation and filling up of requisite posts.
  •  Open Primary Health Centre at Shilhanu in Mandi district alongwith creation of two posts to man the centre.

 Other Decisions

 Honorarium of Water Guards Hiked

The Cabinet gave its nod to increase the honorarium of water guards from Rs. 2100 to Rs. 3000 and para fitters and para pump operators from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4000 engaged in Irrigation and Public Health Department. This would benefit about 6220 water guards and about 500 para fitters and para pump operators.

The Cabinet decided to continue the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for procurement of apple during the current apple season. It also decided to enhance the procurement price under MIS from Rs. 7.50 to Rs. 8 per kg.  As many as 279 procurement centres would be opened in different parts of the state to facilitate the apple growers.

The Cabinet also decided that state-level function would be organized at Shimla on the birth anniversary of first Chief Minister Dr. Y.S Parmar on 4th August 2019.

 It gave its consent to accord District level status to Nalwar Mela Lambathach in Thunag tehsil of Mandi district.

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Solan Building Collapse: Death Toll Rises to 14 Including 13 Jawans and 1 Civilian, Rescue Operation Concluded

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Solan Building Collapse death toll

Solan-The toll of those killed in the collapse of a multi-storey building yesterday in Kumarhatti of Solan district that also housed a restaurant ‘Sehaj Tandoori Dhaba’ has risen to 14 as the rescue teams recovered more bodies. Over 25 people have been rescued and sent to Dharampur hospital for treatment. The deceased included 13 army jawans and one civilian, confirmed the Vivek Chandel, ADM, Solan. The rescue operation has concluded. As per the administration, total 42 people were trapped including 30 Jawans of Assam Rifles and 12 civilians. 

“Since yesterday, 17 Armymen and 11 civilians have been rescued. Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force have taken over the rescue,”

the Deputy Commissioner KC Chaman told PTI.

The building located on the Nahan-Kumarhatti road that housed a restaurant on one of the floors came down around 4 PM on July 14. As it was Sunday, several army personals of Assam Rifles had come to dine at the restaurant. The hotel owner also lived in the building along with his wife and two children. While the children were playing in the neighbourhood, their mother was present in the building. She reportedly died in the collapse, confirmed Additional SP Shiv Kumar Sharma.

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Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 15 also visited the spot and ordered a magisterial probe to ascertain the cause of the collapse. An FIR against the owner of the building has also been registered.
Jairam thakur in solan

With this tragedy, questions are being raised over the legality of the construction. The building that was constructed in 2009 had at least four storeys. One of the storeys, as per reports, was added recently.Some reports suggested that complaints were also filed regarding the construction of this building.

Solan Rescue Operation

Currently, weak foundation and non-compliance with existing rules regarding the construction of buildings are considered as causes of the collapse. However, the district administration officials said the actual causes could only be ascertained after a probe.

Over 250 men of National Disaster Relief Force, District Police, and army jawans from nearby cantonment were continuously carrying out rescue work since yesterday. 

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