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HRTC Yield to People After Continuous Protest of Two Days, Agrees to Fulfill All Nine Demands

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CPIM Protest against HRTC 2

Shimla-After a continuous protest of two days, the Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation had to yield to the people and accept their demands.

HRTC has been in controversy over its degrading quality of service, shortage of staff, favouring private bus operators, running old and poorly maintained buses etc.

After one of the most tragic bus accidents that occurred in Banjar of Kullu district in June 2019, the transport department came under immense pressure to check overloading and monitor irregularities in the passing of old, unmaintained buses.

This controversy was fuelled after two children and driver were killed in the accident of an HRTC’s school bus in Lower Khalini of Shimla district.

Following these incidents, HRTC showed strictness toward overloading in its buses but did not arrange for additional services, which led to the suffering of commoners and school children, especially in rural areas of the state. Further, several bus routes, especially those having single HRTC bus service, were suspended. As a result, private buses on these routes began to encash this opportunity. The locals alleged that while no overloading was allowed in HRTC buses, private buses were plying jam-packed without any restriction.

It was alleged that HRTC was deliberately trying to benefit private bus operators and that it was inclined towards privatisation of its own services, which invited ire from the public.

On June 11, locals from various villagers and various sections, led by sitting MLA of Theog Constituency, Rakesh Singha, and former Mayor of Shimla city, Sanjay Chauhan, had staged an aggressive protest at the office of the Managing Director, HRTC. The protestors were given assurances, which were not fulfilled.

Protest Against HRTC

On July 30, a large number of people, under the banner of Communist Party of India (Marxist), opened a front against the HRTC and held a protest demonstration over several demands. Initially, the officials of HRTC tried to avoid confrontation with these protestors and did not attend to them. It further infuriated the people who then decided to continue the protest until they are not attended and their demands were not met. The protestors, including Rakesh Singha and Sanjay Chauhan, spent the night at the HRTC building in Old ISBT and continued their protest on July 31 as well.

CPIM protest at HRTC Office

Eventually, the administration of HRTC found it hard to ignore these people and had to meet a delegation. This delegation included Rakesh Singh, Sanjay Chauhan, Phalma Chauhan, Balbir Prashar, and Kuldeep Sing Tanwar. The protest was ended after the Principal Secretary, HRTC, in the presence of several other officials, yielded to all nine demands raised by the delegation.

In this meeting, HRTC management agreed to fulfil the following demands,

  1. HRTC will operate all the sanctioned routes, especially where a single HRTC bus is available, regularly and ensure punctual and timely service on such routes.
  2. In relation to charter buses being provided to various schools in Shimla, it was clarified that these buses will continue to ply and will only be withdrawn when these institutions would buy their own buses.
  3. HRTC agreed to review the matter relating to the fact that while private buses were given routes up to Old ISBT, HRTC buses were terminating their route at New ISBT, Tutikandi, which was causing inconvenience to the public as well as leading to decrease in receipt to HRTC.
  4. The delegations pointed out that most of the operational dislocations were taking place due to an abnormal shortage of operation staff. HRTC agreed to speed up the process of filling up the operation posts. Also, the Corporation also agreed to consider an extension to retired staff in order to avoid dislocation of services till new staff is recruited.
  5. HRTC also agreed to utilize unused JNNURM buses and put them on the road as soon as possible. On the poor condition of old buses, HRTC said no compromise was being made with the passenger safety.
  6. HRTC agreed to withdraw buses which were condemned by HRTC but were still operating as school buses. The Director Transport would be asked to identify such buses and take suitable action to ensure safety.
  7. The delegation also pointed out that the number of multi-axle contract carriage buses plying on fixed timings/routes illegally was increasing in the state. HRTC agreed to check the operation of such buses.
  8. HRTC agreed to identify routes on roads constructed under PMGSY where no stage carriage bus services were provided and start bus services on them.
  9. The Corporation also accepted the long pending demand of starting Shimla-Shillai bus service. It said the bus service would start soon, leaving Shimla at 8 am.  

The delegation decided to end the current protest but said that it will continue to protest against policies of the government to privatise transport services in the state.  

 

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Read HP Govt’s Revised 18-44 Years Age Group Vaccination Schedule and Timings for Slot Opening

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new vaccination schedule in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The vaccination schedule in Himachal Pradesh for the 18-44 years age group was revised again on Saturday. The HP government also issued new timings for slot opening. The revision came following receipt of fresh stock of the Covid vaccine.

The state government informed that the Himachal has received a new batch of 117, 830 doses on Saturday. Earlier, these doses were scheduled to be delivered in three separate batches on 16th and 26th June and 2nd July.

These doses would be administered to the said group before 21st June. Now, the vaccination session for the 18-44 years age group would be organized on 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th June. A mop-up round would be organized to administer left out doses, if any. Earlier, only two sessions were scheduled to be held for this age group on 14th and 17th June.

New Timings for Slot Opening in Himachal Pradesh

Registration for advance booking for vaccination would mandatory on COWIN portal or through Arogya Setu App. The state government has also made changes in the timings of slot opening. Instead of two days prior to the vaccination session, now the slots for registration would open one day prior to the session. The new timings for slot opening would be from 12 pm to 1 pm. Only 100 slots would be available for one session at each vaccination centre.

The government plans to hold a total of 1706 session from 14th to 18 June in which 1.7 lakh persons would be vaccinated. 266 sessions would be organized on 14the June and 360 sessions on the each remaining dates.

Prior registration for booking a slot would be mandatory across the state except in the tribal and far-flung areas where onsite registration would be allowed.

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Rumours of Ex-CM Virbhadra Singh’s Demise Create Stir, Police Warn Miscreants of Action

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virbhadra singh death rumour

Shimla-Rumors regarding the health of Virbhadra Singh, former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, had been creating a stir in the state since yesterday. Speculations and rumours began right after the news of Singh’s Covid re-infection broke out yesterday. Earlier, he had tested positive on April 13.

The Indira Gandhi Medical College, where the former Chief Minister is admitted, confirmed that he tested positive for Covid and was shifted to a make-shift hospital. By evening, speculations circulated throughout the state that his health had deteriorated, resulting in his demise.

However, his son, Vikramaditya Singh, rubbished the rumours and said that his father was fine and taking treatment at the hospital. The IGMC administration also confirmed that Mr Singh is being looked after by a team of doctors and his oxygen saturation was 99%.  Oxygen supply was being given through a NMR mask, the administration said. 

The 86-year-old veteran INC leader remains hospitalized for over a month now. As per the doctors, besides diabetes, Mr Singh is also facing other health-related issues and is on dialysis. The authorities, however, did not confirm the possible source of infection, which is being speculated to be a staff member who was attending to Mr Singh. However, no official confirmation was available.

Pertinent to mention that BJP leader Mohinder Nath Sofat and several others had posted false messages regarding Singh’s demise. Sofat later removed the Facebook post and posted an apology.

The Office of the Director-General of Police, HP, also released an official statement confirming receiving reports of rumours being spread. The police said that police and other officials had been receiving numerous calls for confirmation due to this rumour.

The police warned that spreading such a rumour is a violation of provisions under the Information Technology Act and Disaster Management Act and, if further instances of violation are reported, then legal action would be initiated against violators to ensure strict action.

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HP Cabinet Decisions June 11: Read New Corona Curfew Guidelines, UG Exams Schedule, Reliefs and Other Decisions

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corona curfew HP cabinet decisions june 11

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today allowed more relaxations in the corona curfew imposed in the state. The state government has increased the timing for opening shops. From June 14 onwards, shops in Himachal would remain open from 9 am to 5 pm. All shops would be allowed to open except on Saturday and Sunday. 

Intrastate public transport would be allowed with 50 percent occupancy. Section 144 lifted and no requirement of RTPCR tests for entering in the State. Corona curfew to continue from 5pm to 5am.

The offices, which were operating with 30% staff, would also open with 50% and 75% capacity. All the medical colleges, ayurvedic colleges and dental colleges would remain open from 23rd June. Pharmacy and nursing schools to open from 28th June.

The Cabinet decided to conduct examinations of Graduate and Shastri final year during July 2021, as per SoPs issued by UGC. It also decided to hold the examinations of the Graduate 1st and 2nd year after the final examinations are over. It also decided to start the academic session for the year 2021-22 for graduation classes from the 1st week of August this year.

No relaxation was given in restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend marriages, which is currently 20. The temples would also remain closed.

For transporters, the state government did not announce any big relief except an Interest Subvention Scheme on working capital for stage carriage operators. Under this scheme, a loan amount of Rs 2 lakh per bus and a maximum amount up to Rs 20 lakh would be provided to the bus operators as working capital.  The duration of the loan would be 5 years, in which one year would be of moratorium period, there would be 75 percent interest subvention, which would be paid by the state government.  In the second year, there would be an interest subvention of 50 years which would be borne by the state government.  About Rs. 11 crore relief has been provided by the government on this scheme. 

The Stage Carriage, Taxi, Maxi, Autorickshaw and Institution Buses would be given the relief of 50 percent on payment of Special Road Tax and Token from 1st August 2020 to 31st March, 2021.  The Transport sector would get relief of about Rs. 20 crore due to this decision. 

It also decided to provide 50 percent relief on Special Road Tax and Token Tax during the period of three months from 1st April, 2021 to 30th June 2021.  This decision would provide relief of Rs. 8 crores to stage carriages, taxis, maxi, autorickshaws, contract carriage buses and institution buses. 

The Cabinet directed the Jal Shakti Department to go ahead for filling up 2322 posts of different categories under the Departmental Para Workers Policy to effectively manage 486 drinking water and 31 irrigation schemes in the State.

The Cabinet also decided to create and fill up 401 posts of different categories in Trauma/Tertiary Care Centre in IGMC and Super Specialty Block Chamiana of IGMC Shimla for its smooth functioning and to provide specialized health care facilities to the people of the State besides  328 posts of different categories on outsourcing basis.

HP Govt Jobs/Vacancies 

It also decided to fill up

  1. Four posts of Mining Guards on a contract basis in Geological Wing of Industries Department through direct recruitment.
  2. Three posts of Inspector, grade-I in Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department on contract basis for better functioning of the department.
  3. Seven posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in the Himachal Pradesh Election Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment. 
  4. Two posts of drivers on daily wage basis in Deputy Commissioner Office Chamba.
  5. Two posts of class-IV employees on daily wage basis in Himachal Pradesh Revenue Training Institute Jogindernagar in Mandi district.
  6. Create and fill up one post of Reader cum Associate Professor in Sister Nivedita Government Nursing College, Shimla.
  7. Create and fill up one post of Medical Superintendent in 200 bedded Civil Hospital Nurpur in Kangra district for its effective functioning.

The Cabinet gave its nod to revised scheme for Interest Subvention on Working Capital Loan for Hospitality. The revised scheme provides for interest subversion of 75percent in first year and payment period has also been increased to five years. Some other categories like ropeway and travel agents have also been included in the new scheme.

The Cabinet decided to include the families under National Food Security Act (Priority Households Category) where death occurred due to the Covid pandemic. The guidelines for identification of Priority Households under the National Food Security Act, 2013 issued on 1st August 2013 would be relaxed to give them immediate relief and such families would immediately be included by Gram Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies under National Food Security Act (PHH category) by simply getting Covid death certificates of such persons who died due to Corona.

The Cabinet gave its approval to make necessary amendments in Mukhya Mantri Swalamban Yojna 2019 to include Service enterprises and related goods carriers that can be combined as composite related activities. It also envisages increasing the maximum investment ceiling of Rs. 60 lakh in plant and machinery with total cost project not exceeding Rs. 100 lakh in place of existing Rs. 40 lakh and Rs. 60 lakh respectively. It also allowed an increasing interest subsidy of five percent on loan amount upto Rs. 60 lakh instead of Rs. 40 lakh. This would facilitate youth to take maximum benefits from this Yojna.

The Cabinet decided to grant ex post facto permission to set up/ operationalize Makeshift Hospitals at Pandoga in district Una (200 bedded) Radha Soami Satsang at Parour in Palampur (500 bedded), Radha Soami Satsang at Khaliar in Mandi district and Radha Soami Satsang at Anji in Solan district (200 bedded) in public interest. It also decided to provide 60 staff nurses, six ward sisters, 30 ward boys, 20 sweepers, 15 security personnel, 10 housekeeping persons and five DEOs each on an outsourcing basis.

It also decided to create one post for each of Junior Office Assistant (IT) and Class-IV in the newly created Sub Divisional Election Office at Gagret in Una district. The post of Junior Office Assistant (IT) would be filled up on a contract basis whereas the Class-IV post would be filled up on daily wage basis.

The Cabinet decided to take over the Saraswati Sanskrit Degree College Dangar, tehsil Ghumarwin of Bilaspur district under government control.

The Cabinet decided to enhance the honorarium of all the categories of teachers appointed under SMC by Rs. 500 per month from 1st April 2021.

The Cabinet also decided to increase the honorarium of Cook cum Helper under the Mid-Day Meal Yojna of Elementary Education Department by Rs. 300 per month from 1st April 2021.  

 

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