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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.

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Educational Institutes Closed Till April 21 Amid COVID-19 Surge, No Decision on Other Restrictions

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HP Cabinet decision on curfew

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today held a meeting in which it expressed concern over the sharp surge in Covid-19 cases in the State. The Cabinet decided to keep all educational institutions closed till April 21. The institutes would also remain closed for teaching and non-teaching staff except the staff required for exam duties till the 21st of this month.

A decision was taken to fill up 311 posts of Forest Guards in the Forest Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment. These include already approved 113 posts of Forest Guards by the State Cabinet during its meeting held on 9th of March this year.   

The Cabinet decided to fill up 25 posts of Agriculture Development Officers on a contract basis in Agriculture Department through HP Public Service Commission against direct recruitment quota. 

It decided to implement the central sector scheme SVAMITVA in the state for surveying the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using Drone technology. For this, Revenue Department would be designated as the Nodal Department for implementation of the scheme with the support of the Panchayati Raj Department. For this, MoU would be signed with the Survey of India for starting the scheme in the State. A State Steering Committee, State Project Management Unit and District Project Monitoring Unit would also be constituted for effective implementation of the scheme.

The cabinet also gave its nod to extend employment on compassionate ground to the eligible indigent of the deceased employees against available vacant posts of Class-III and Class-IV in relaxation of five percent quota as against the available vacant posts of class-III and Class-IV in DC offices of Shimla, Kinnaur, Solan and Kangra and office of Settlement Officer Kangra Division.  

It also gave its consent that the project for the development of multi-storey parking-cum-shopping complex at U-Block Mandi may be awarded under PPP mode to the highest bidder at an annual concession fee of Rs. 63,63,000 plus GST and all other applicable taxes per annum, as per terms and conditions of RFP. The selected bidder would also pay an upfront premium of Rs. 2 crores to the authority by way of five equal instalments of Rs. 40 lakh each for 24 months starting from the compliance date.

The cabinet also gave its approval for the creation of five posts of different categories for each newly created Nagar Panchayats viz Shahpur, Chirgaon, Nerwa, Nirmand, Anni, Kandaghat and Amb for smooth functioning of these newly created Nagar Panchayats.

Presentations were also made before the Cabinet by Jal Shakti Department on the prevailing drought situation in the State. It was decided to hold a review meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister including all the stakeholder departments for further decisions.

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Una Murder Case: Body of 22-Year-Old Girl Exhumed, Enraged Villagers Create Ruckus

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una girl murder case

Una-The alleged murder of a 22-year-old girl in Jadla Kohri village under the Gagret sub-division of Una district created a stir on Wednesday as the police exhumed her body from near a temple complex.

According to the allegations, a man who was identified as one of the ‘pujaris of the temple, has admitted killing the girl. He reportedly admitted hitting her on the head with an iron rod and later burying the body.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amb, has confirmed the report.

Una murder case

According to the initial information, the girl was missing since April 3, 2021, and a complaint regarding the same was filed at the local police station in Gagret the next day.

The police zeroed in on the said accused based on call details and reached the temple today. A large number of villagers also followed the police. When the police exhumed the body based on the location identified by the accused, angry villagers turned violent and demanded handing over the accused to them. A minor clash between police and villagers was also reported. Villagers vandalized the temple premises.

Amid this tense atmosphere, police somehow protected the accused from the enraged mob and managed to get him out safely.

The body of the girl was sent for post-mortem, the Superintendent of Police, Una, Arjit Sen, confirmed.

Though not officially confirmed, some local media reports suggested that the deceased and the accused were known to each other. The girl had recently got engaged to another man.

 Further details are awaited.

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