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Dharamshala MC Official Caught Red-Handed Taking Bribe of Rs 1 Lakh

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HP Vigilance Catches Dharamshala MC JE red handed

Dharamshala- An official of the Dharamshala Municipal Corporation was today caught red-handed taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a hotelier. As per available information, the Junior Engineer of the MC, Joginder Singh, had demanded a bribe of Rs 2 lakh from a Dharamshala-based hotelier allegedly in lieu of issuing the completion certificate. The hotelier had already paid Rs 1 lakh while the remaining amount was to be paid today.

In between, the hotelier lodged a complaint with the Vigilance Department. The department laid a trap based on the information provided by the complainant and caught the official red-handed.

The Vigilance Department has filed a case against the official and is reportedly raiding his properties. The Department said an investigation is in process.

Dharamshala MC Official caught taking bribe

However, he is not the only who is involved in corruption. A petition filed regarding illegal felling of trees and unauthorized construction in McLeod Ganj had alleged of rampant corruption in MC and HPPWD. The petitioner, in a letter to the Chief Justice of HP High Court, had named this very official and alleged him of taking bribes. 

The State High Court had appointed Advocate Deven Khanna as the local commissioner in its order passed on April 3, 2018, and had directed him to visit and inspect the entire area falling within the territorial jurisdiction of municipal limits of Dharamshala, as well as, Bhagsunag, Naddi, Mcleodganj and Dharamkot. Following this order, the Local Commissioner had not only videographed the area but had also placed his report before the court.

In his report submitted to the court on June 28, 2018, Khanna had mentioned,

“One of the buildings which are in violation is right next to the Municipal Corporation Office which is five stories and it is without a parking floor, the structure belongs to the officer of the corporation, it must be further investigated.”

In an order passed on July 6, 2018, the court had taken note that despite court orders no action was taken against violators who had undertaken unauthorized constructions.

In this order, the bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel had also directed the Director, Town and Country Planning and Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Dharamshala, to submit the list of all the officers of the rank of Junior Engineer(s) and above, who were posted within the municipal limits of Dharamshala, since the year 2010, within two days along with their tenure and place of posting.

Further, infuriated over non-compliance of its orders, the bench had warned,

“We would not hesitate in expressing our displeasure on this count. In fact, we are of the view that salaries of all the persons who are supposed to monitor the construction activities, should be withheld, for they have failed to discharge their duties violators were endeavouring to procrastinate the proceeding pending before various authorities so as to obstruct and impede the enforcement of the orders passed by this Court.”

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Be Careful About Fake News/Misinformation on Social Media: Education Minister

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HP Education minister Suresh Bhardwaj

Shimla-Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, while addressing youth at the 10th Bhartiya Chatra Sansad in New Delhi said, social media has many benefits like connectivity, easy access but there is a need to exercise caution while using this tool.

Sometimes social media spreads misinformation and fake news, we should be careful about what information we are consuming. We should learn to understand the difference between real and virtual life, he added.

The Education Minister also said that the youth should use their own identity and uniqueness and not rely too much on social media while making decisions.

The basic objective of education is to become a good citizen and to become successful in our professional and personal lives, he said.

The Education Minister was delivering a lecture on ‘Learn before you lean: Following social media and celebrities’ at the second session of the event which is being organised from 20th to 23rd February at Vigyan Bhavan New Delhi by Rahul Karad, Founder and Convenor of Bhartiya Chatra Sansad (BCS).

However, the degrading quality of education in the State’s government schools hardly suggests that the education minister is actually committed to create good citizens.

The massive fee hikes by Himachal Pradesh University are making education inaccessible. Private schools are prospering owing to poor quality of education in government schools. Parents are left with no choice but to pay hefty fees to private schools to ensure that their children get a better academic environment and basic facilities. At the same time, the ruling government in Delhi has proved that the academic environment and infrastructure of government schools can be changed for good easily.

Impressed with reforms in education in Delhi, during the United States President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India next week, First lady Melania Trump is likely to visit a Delhi government school in South Delhi. As a part of various innovative steps to improve the education system, the Delhi government has introduced happiness curriculum. This curriculum was introduced for the students from Nursery to Class 8. Even some private schools later adopted it. Delhi government would be briefing Melania about the “happiness curriculum.”

Though politicians in India hardly follow what they preach, it is indeed the need of the hour that we filter what is being served on media and social media before believing it and making decisions based on it.

After witnessing unethical use of social media by political parties, during 2014 and 2019 General Elections, and lately in the recently concluded Delhi Assembly elections, for hate speeches, propaganda and spreading misinformation to manipulate voters, going completely against the ethics of politics, it is sarcastic to hear a politician asking people to beware of fake news and misinformation spread through social media. Not only politicians but mainstream media has also turned itself into a paid circus.

On some channels, journalists have even assumed the roles of judges instead of simply reporting facts. Together with paid media and social media, India’s politicians and religious organizations are experimenting with a divisive and communally polarizing politics. During the recent Delhi elections, journalists and politicians even turned themselves into jokers without caring about ethics and  their responsibility towards the nation.

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Fresh Spell of Snow in Himachal’s Higher Hills, Mercury Drops, Traffic Movement Hit

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Snowfall-in-Shimla-in-February-2020-m2

Shimla– As predicted by Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department, after a short sunny and warm spell, the weather conditions have taken a turn in the state, which has led to a sharp drop in temperatures. On the night of February 20th,  Shimla’s upper regions and higher hills of Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba, Kinnaur received a fresh spell of snow.

In fact, the Met Department had issued a yellow warning for February 21st.

Snowfall-in-shimla-feb-2020

Shimla city, Jakhu hills and Sanjauli witnessed a short and very light spell of snow on early Friday morning. While the snow did not affect traffic movement in urban Shimla, the Kufri-Narkanda road was closed for traffic as the region received comparatively more snow. Other than these places, Narkanda, Khidaki, Kharapathar were also closed for traffic due to snow.

Snowfall-shimla-2020

 The traffic movement towards Rohru, Chaupal, Theog, and Nerwa was also hit. Vehicles on their way towards Shimla from Rampur were being diverted via Basantpur. According to Shimla Police, roads to Khidaki, Kharapathar, Narkanda and Kufri were opened for small vehicles by Friday evening. However, police has advised people to avoid driving on these roads till Saturday morning as the roads are still slippery. Further, district police has asked people to contact on 112 or 1077 in case they get stuck and require assistance. 

Jalori pass was also closed and some buses were said have been stuck. Traffic movement on National Highway 305 was also affected.

The lower hills or plains witnessed rain with gusty winds. In some regions, the wheat crop was destroyed by gusty winds.

Weather-Prediciton-Himachal-PRadesh-2020

The Met Department has predicted rain/snow in middle and higher hills till February 25th. For plains, the weather is likely to be dry from February 22th onward.

 

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Video: Villagers Carry Pregnant Lady on Shoulders for 18 kms to Reach Hospital in Absence of Ambulance Road

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Kullu-The Himachal Pradesh Government on February 17, 2020, while announcing annual plan budget for session 2020-21, claimed that it has registered “remarkable growth” in health, education, horticulture and social services sectors.

However, the question over government’s claims arises after watching videos where people in Himachal’s rural area still don’t have access to even basic health facilities due to lack of ambulance roads. Residents carry patients on their shoulders in palanquins for several kilometers to reach the nearest road. Videos and reports of such cases regularly appear in regional pages of Hindi dailies, indicating hollowness of government claims of development.  

A video showing the plight of villagers in Sainj area of the district Kullu has been posted by locals where some local men and women are carrying a female on a makeshift palanquin on a tough acceding trail.

On Sunday morning, Sunita, experienced labour pain. The family asked other villagers for help. They prepared a make-shift palanquin by tying a chair to two logs.

When asked about the situation, the women said they are carrying a pregnant woman, Sunita, to hospital because the nearest motorable road is 18-20 kilometres far from their village Shaakati in Garapaarali (गाड़ापारली) panchayat. Two other villages in the same panchayat – Maraur and Shugad-also faces the same problem when they need to access health services.

The women said it took them over eight hours to carry the pregnant lady upto the road from where they arranged motorable transport to reach Banjar hospital.

Furious over the government and politicians, local women can be heard alleging that government of its indifference to their grievances and lack of facilities.

“Government will trace and find us anywhere when it is about seeking votes but no one comes back to attend us. Whenever villagers get sick, we carry them on shoulders to access health services,”

an elderly woman said while describing the plight of villagers.

In another clip, a woman carrying the palanquin can be seen complaining about the lack of an ambulance road.

“We need an ambulance road. That’s our demand,”

she said while gasping due to exhaustion.

As per another media report, the panchayat Pradhan, Bhaag Chand and other members of the panchayat also confirmed facing a huge inconvenience due to lack of a motorable road. They said governments kept changing but their panchayat did not get a road.  

Not just medical facilities, but villagers also complained that even most basic facilities are still out of their reach due to apathy of the government.

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