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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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Misc News/Press Release

Scrub Typhus in Himachal: Death Toll Reaches 8, Over 800 Tested Positive

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Scrub Typhus deaths in himachal Pradesh 2019

Shimla- Scrub Typhus death toll in Himachal Pradesh has reached eight, while 801 have been tested positive so far. One of the deaths were reported on September 21, 2019, at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla. A 16-year-old girl, who was taking treatment at the hospital for the past 10 days, reportedly died today.

So far, among the deceased, five belonged to Shimla, two to Mandi and one to Bilaspur district. All of these victims were receiving treatment at the IGMC Shimla.

As per the data released by the HP Health Department on September 18, a total of 801 cases of Scrub Typhus have been reported from the state. The rise in the number of cases is reported to be steep as by September 10, this number was 622. Maximum cases were reported from district Bilaspur (240), followed by Hamirpur (159), Shimla (107), Kangra (96), Mandi (77), Solan (54), Una (11), Chamba (9), and Kinnaur (1).

Amid the alarming rise in Scrub Typhus cases, the public has been advised that all patients, who complain of high fever, body ache and restlessness, should immediately reach the nearest health centre or start taking medicine for Scrub Typhus (doxycycline) as a precautionary measure. 

As per the health experts, if Typhus goes untreated for two to three days, it becomes fatal. The doctors at the IGMC Shimla cited the delay in treatment as the reason for deaths.

Scrub typhus is caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi. It is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). These mites could be found in grass fields and bushes, which is why people who visit grassy fields to fetch fodder for cattle are more vulnerable to get infected. This is why Scrub Typhus is also known as bush typhus.

Most common symptoms of this disease include fever and chills, headache, body aches, and muscle pain, and appearance of a dark, scab-like region at the site of the chigger bite (also known as eschar).

People with severe illness may develop organ failure and bleeding, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Scrub typhus should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age. Antibiotics are most effective if given soon after symptoms begin. People who are treated early with doxycycline usually recover quickly.

 

 

 

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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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