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Shimla MC Faces Backlash Over Poor Service Delivery and Arbitrariness in Charging Fees

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Shimla MC's Garbage Collection Bill

Shimla-The irregularities in the haphazard operation of Shimla Municipal Corporation’s door-to-door garbage collection facility and arbitrariness in fees charged for it are facing criticism not only from the residents but also from opposition parties.

On top of it, SMC is facing another threat – a possible strike of Shimla Environment, Heritage Conservation and Beautification (SEHB) Society over their demands. As per reports, SEHB Society is running in loss and bills of garbage collection fee worth six crores are still pending with government offices, hospitals, educational institutes etc. The workers of the society are demanding hiked salary with arrears since April month of this year.

They yesterday met the MC Commissioner and gave him a deadline of seven days to fulfil their demands. Otherwise, the Society said, it will go on a strike from September 6. If the workers went on a strike, the entire garbage collection service would be stalled.

On Tuesday, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) condemned the irregularities in the functioning of garbage collection facility and hike in fees for it. The way SMC is trying to extort higher fees for this facility, it appears that the Corporation is only concerned about its fee and not about the betterment of services, said Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and District Secretary of the party.

He said this fee can be levied only on those houses where the corporation has provided garbage collection facility. Therefore, it is neither logical nor justified to charge fees from the houses which are not given this facility, he said. The residents of the town are already paying taxes for drinking water supply, sanitation, street lights, roads, parks etc.

The sanitation services of the SMC are in tatters. The corporation isn’t able to collect and transport daily garbage timely, and heaps of garbage could be seen in several parts of the city for days, he said.  

Some of BJP’s own councillors have raised questions over the poor condition of sanitation services. Further, Chauhan said that in some area of the MC Wards, garbage is not removed and transported for months. The functioning of the SMC can be assessed from the fact that it has not been able to collect fees form several Wards, including those falling in the markets, for several months and for over a year in some cases.

He said the public is facing the brunt of this failure on the part of the Corporation. He further added that the waste treatment plant, which was supposed to treat waste and generate electricity, is still not operational.

Now, the SMC has announced that bills of garbage collection fee would be paid online. On the other hand, the Corporation had made payment of water bills online in 2016 but the residents have not been given bills since last one and half year. In cases where the bills were given, the charges are not levied on the basis of meter reading. Rather, the citizens were handed over hefty bills in an arbitrary manner, which has put an additional financial burden on the residents., Chauhan said.

He alleged that the main reason for such irregularities and arbitrariness is the privatization of water supply to the city. With the privatization of water supply services, the Corporation has started to privatize other services too. Under the pressure from the state government, the MC has also decided to make an annual hike of 10 percent in garbage collection fees, which is against the interests of the residents. Moreover, the MC is planning to hike the property tax too.

There are no signs of betterment in the services offered by the Corporation but the charges for these services are being hiked. CPI(M) has condemned putting financial burdens on residents without ensuring the proper delivery of services. CPI(M) has asked the government to withdraw such anti-people policies. Otherwise, the party warned, a mass movement would be launched against the government.

Misc News/Press Release

HP Civil Supplies Selling Onion at Rs. 64 per kg

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HP Govt Onion Sale in Himachal PRadesh

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation has purchased 1200 quintals of imported onion from M/s NEFAD Delhi, which is being distributed through various godowns and fair price shops of the Corporation, to provide relief to the consumers from unexpected rise in onions prices.

A spokesperson of the corporation informed that the onion are being made available to the common public at rate of Rs. 64 per kilogram as per the directions of the State Government, which would be available to the public on ‘first come first buy’ basis. Till now, almost 800 quintal onion has been distributed and the remaining 400 quintal onion would be distributed within a period of seven to ten days.

He said that the State Government has bought the onion from imported stock of the Union Government. Spokesperson said that department is keeping strict vigil on hoarding of onion and if any such case is found, strict action would be taken against the defaulter.

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Misc News/Press Release

More Rain/Snow in Himachal Till Jan 22: HP Met

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Snow prediction for shimla 2020

Shimla-Shimla has received yet another spell of snow on Thursday, leading to road blockage and blackouts in some places. In Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri and Hatu Peak were covered in thick layer of snow. The traffic movement on National Highway-05 was hit in the upper region of Shimla. Hundreds of people including tourists were stranded in snow.

Local police had to carry out rescue work till late at night. With the help of machines, the road was opened for hundreds of stuck vehicles, buses, and tourists.  

Driving towards Kufri has become a dangerous task due to frozen roads. Therefore, the local police has urged tourists to avoid driving towards Kufri.

Other than Shimla, Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba, peaks of Kullu, and Kinnaur have also witnessed a fresh spell of snow, affecting daily life.

Following it, the state is reeling under a coldwave. Keylong was coldest at -10 Degree Celsius, followed by Kalpa at -4.2, and Kufri -1.8, Dalhousie at -0.8, and Shimla at 0.6.

The HP Meteorological Department has predicted more rain/snow till January 22 except on January 19. According to the Met, while plans/lower hills are likely to witness rain/thundershowers at isolated places, the middle and higher hills can receive scattered rain/snow.

The Met has predicted widespread rain/snow on January 21.

 

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Campus Watch

Hamirpur’s Reena Among 100 Meritorious Students Invited to Watch Republic Day Parade from PM Box

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UHF Nauni Dr Reena Kumari

Solan-Dr Reena Kumari, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Vegetable Science at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been invited to watch Republic Day Parade 2020 from the Prime Minister’s Box at Rajpath, New Delhi.

She is among the 100 meritorious students selected from across the country by the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Government of India to witness the event. The travel and lodging expenses are being borne by the MHRD. 

Hailing from a small village Kashmir in District Hamirpur, Dr Reena was the topper of her school in class 10 +2 and joined UHF in the year 2009. She completed her master’s and doctorate in the discipline of Vegetable Science under the guidance of Dr Ramesh K Bhardwaj and has worked on improvement and development of new varieties in cucumber. Dr Reena has scored 88.00 and 86.60 % marks in MSc and PhD programme respectively with a gold medal in her PhD programme.

She was the university merit scholarship holder during her graduation and post- graduation programmes. Besides, she has also published eight research papers, one book chapter, review paper and popular article. Dr Reena has qualified various examinations like JRF and SRF.

An ecstatic Dr Reena thanked the MHRD and the university and for giving her the once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the grand parade from the Prime Minister’s box. Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor, senior officers and students of the university congratulated Dr Reena on her selection.

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