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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.

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Shimla Police Nabs Escaped Murder Accused from Tara Devi Forest After Two Days

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escaped accused from shimla captured

Shimla Police has nabbed the undertrial accused of murder who had escaped from the custody of policemen on Wednesday. The accused was re-captured from the forests near the Tara Devi temple after a search operation of two days. The teams of police used drone cameras and search dogs in this search operation.

On November 17, 2021, Dadi Ram aka Sagar (37) – a Nepalese who was booked for the rape and murder of his mother-in-law on July 31, 2020, in Theog, Shimla district, and was kept at the Model Central Jail Kanda – had ditched two policemen near Tavi mod (curve) while he was being taken to the court for a hearing. He had jumped down the forest and was at large since then.

CCTV footage from a nearby building had also appeared in which the accused was seen escaping the custody of policemen. The incident had drawn flak for the Shimla Police, and several questions were raised on the working of the police. The people raised various questions; like why a murder accused was not handcuffed? Why the police didn’t use a vehicle to take him to court?

According to the district police, after the accused escaped, teams of police from Boileauganj and other concerned police stations were formed and deployed in re-capturing him. The teams also included jawans from the 6th India Reserve Battalion and Rapid Action Force. Alongwith search operations in Forests around Taradevi and Shoghi, checking of buses and vehicles at barriers and trains was also conducted regularly.

As per the police, on November 19, 2021, the accused was spotted in the forest near Tara Devi through a drone camera. The teams of police cordoned the forest and searched for the accused. Eventually, the teams succeeded in capturing the accused. He has been brought to the Boileauganj police station.  

 

 

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Negligence of HP University in Mark-Sheet Evaluation Allegedly Costs One Year Loss to Student, HC Issues Notice to Varsity on PIL

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HP University pil in high court

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh University is again in the news after a student of Government College, Hamirpur, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the State High Court alleging loss of one year to his career due to negligence of the varsity in evaluating his answer sheet.

It’s pertinent to mention that, varsity administration, especially Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikandar Kumar, is already under fire for allegedly tweaking rules to allow admission of his ward and wards of a couple of other officials to PhD by bypassing mandatory entrance exams/NET/JRF.

In the current case, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina issued notices to the Registrar and the Controller of Examination of  HP University, Shimla.

As per the petitioner, Keshav Singh, he was a student of B.Sc (Maths) in the Government College, Hamirpur, for the session 2017-2020. He appeared in the examination for the 5th semester in November 2019.  In February 2020, he appeared in IIT Jam and scored 40.33 marks out of 100 and became eligible to get admission in M.Sc(PG Course) NIT.

However, in June 2020, the results of the 5th semester were declared and he was given only 5 marks out of 70 in one of the subjects, due to which he could not get admission to the NIT.  He has further said that he had a good academic record and attempted most of the questions in this exam. He applied for rechecking of his paper.  After re-checking, 42 marks were enhanced and he scored 47 marks in that subject. But the re-evaluation result was declared after counselling for the M.Sc. By that time, all the seats were filled up and he couldn’t get an admission.

Though he again cleared the exam for  IIT Jam, 2021, the student alleged that the mental harassment and mental distress he faced was irreparable. He lost one year during the era of this cut-throat competition and thousands of people overtook him, he said. He also alleged that due to negligence of the respondent University, he remained deprived of investing his one year for making his career bright as he could not attend any counselling of IIT/NIT JAM and could not fill up any forms for any competitive exam. For this loss,  the varsity is liable to pay compensation to him, he pleaded.

The petitioner has prayed in the court to direct the respondents to pay him adequate compensation and to adopt a fair and proper manner of checking the answer sheets so that in the future no one faces the same situation as has been faced by him.

The HP High Court directed the respondents (varsity) to file their reply within three weeks and posted the matter for December 8, 2021.

 

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The Himalayan Expedition “Silk Route – Chapter Hatu” Trek & Run Competition Concludes Successfully

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himalayan silk route trekking and run

Shimla-As a joint venture, ‘The Himalayan Expedition Silk Route’ – a new trek and run competition- was organized at Narkanda, Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh on 14th, November 2021. Organized by Adventure North, Kawasaki Advertisers, Deodar Cottage, and Homeland Himalaya; the inaugural event was entitled ‘Chapter Hatu’. During this first trek, the participants had to trek 4.5 km uphill to the Hatu Peak – at an altitude of 3400 meters. Followed by a downhill trek of 9 km for the Adventure category.

However, the competitive runners, including two girl athletes, had to run another 14 km to Khadarala to complete the race.

A total of 31 people, from children aged 8-years-old to senior citizens, participated in the inaugural leg.

hatu trek competition

The event was flagged off from the Sili Kandli at 8:19 am.

The race was organized in two categories; “Adventure” for the trekking enthusiasts and the “Competitive” category for the endurance challengers.

himalayan silk route chapter hatu

Along the entire route, 13 teams were available at hydration desks placed at every two kilometers. Also, a well-equipped ambulance with a medic team of three, including a female, was in place.

Rahul Beakta of Theog, Shimla, won the competition by completing 26.5 km in 2 hours 56 minutes. He was followed by Bappan, Shimla, and Captain Vineet Sharma, Kathlee Ghat. The entire competitive and adventure leg was completed successfully, without any injury.

winners of silk route trekking

“It was the first promotional event for a trek and run of 300 km to scale the old ‘Silk Route from Narkanda to Namgia (near China border)’ with a minimal carbon footprint. We plan the second chapter with an additional 60 km in 2022,” the organizers informed.

“This marathon goes through the apple belt of the mid-Sutlej region all along the silk route to Shipki La. Be a part of this heritage and run along the paths and trails of this lost era, ‘The Silk Route’, which has lost its prominence in the modern world, the organizers further added.

The second leg of The Himalaya Expedition is scheduled for October 2022.

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