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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

Himachal: 10 COVID-19 Deaths in Single Day Take Tally to 145, DDU MS Replaced Following Patient Suicide

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Shimla-DDU covid-19 patient suicide 2

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh reported 10 COVID-19 deaths on September 24, 2020, which took the state’s death tally to 145. This is the biggest single-day-spike in the fatalities – a matter of huge worry amid community spread. Kangra district reported the highest six deaths while Shimla, Chamba,  Sirmaur, and Kullu reported one death each. The deceased including eight males and two females were aged between 55-78 years. At least five of these deceased were patients of diabetes mellitus.So far,

So far,  Kangra district has reported the highest 37 deaths, followed by Shimla (24), Solan (23), Mandi (20), Una (10), Sirmaur (10), Chamba (8), Hamirpur (6), Kullu (5), Bilaspur (1), and Kinnaur (1).

Go through the reasons of deaths given by the state Health Department below:Himachal pradesh corona deaths Sept 24

According to the official update, 337 new positive cases were registered yesterday. The total for the state has now reached 13,386. (Scroll down to view statistics for all districts)

DDU MS Replaced After COVID-19 Patient Suicide 

As part of the damage control, the Medical Superintendent of Shimla’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital, Lokender Sharma, was replaced after a COVID-19 patient committed suicide inside the hospital premises. Dr Ramesh Chauhan has been appointed as the new MS.  The case has led to protests against poor facilities and mismanagement in COVID-19 hospitals in the state. The opposition even staged a protest on September 5.

Reacting to his removal, Dr Lokender denied any negligence on his part and said he had been working with insufficient staff and limited facilities. He also alleged that the administration did not consider his repeated complaint regarding the same. Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers Association (HMOA) has also pointed out that the state government has not done anything to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to deal with the pandemic. They also pointed out the lack of trained staff.

These developments, including a sudden spurt in the fatality rate among COVID-19 patients, are now exposing the poor preparedness of the state government. The government doesn’t seem to have any clue about controlling the spread. There is no data on the projected number of actual cases as it is not possible to trace all infected amid a community spread.

While there is a dire need to make more efforts to save lives, the government and the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur appear to be busy in preparing for the visit of the Prime Minister Narender Modi for the opening of the Rohtang Tunnel.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 24, 2020 (9 PM)

DDU COVID Patient suicide in himachal pradesh

Feature Photo: [email protected]

 

 

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Five More COVID-19 Deaths, Three Suicides, Shimla’s Kotkhai Nagar Panchayat Sealed

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shimla kotkhai nagar panchayat sealed

Shimla– Five more COVID-19 casualties were reported in Himachal Pradesh on September 23, 2020. According to the official update from the Health Department, a total of 280 cases were reported till 9:00 pm today . The COVID-19 death tally is rising at an alarming rate with the onset of a community spread. Currently, a total of 135 persons have lost their lives due to COVID-19.(Scroll down for district-wise statistics)

These deaths were reported from Solan (1), Kangra (2), and Mandi (2). The deceased aged between 58 years to 77. Read the reasons for deaths below:

Shimla- kotkhai nagar panchayat sealed

Kotkhai Nagar Panchayat Sealed for Four Days

Kotkhai Nagar panchayat of Shimal district was sealed today after four persons tested positive at the CHC, Kotkhai. However, there is one case which has increased worries for both the people and the administration.

According to the BMO, Kotkhai, one of these persons, identified as Kavinder Kanwar, runs a car parking at the Kotkhai Bazaar. He also runs a newspaper distribution agency in the same area and deals in mobile recharge business. He frequently handles keys of cars parked in the parking as part of his routine task, it was informed.

“It is quite possible that the concerned positive person has also surely visited several shops and public places in Kotkhai bazaar during the last four days. In this situation, it is difficult to find out the exact contact tracing history due to which there is a high risk of surface transmission and risk of a direct contact person to person,”

informed the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Theog, in a notification issued today.   

Therefore, the administration has declared the entire Kotkhai Nagar panchayat as containment zone and sealed it except for essential services for four days (till September 27th).

The local police have been directed to restrict any entry to or exit from the area. The BMO has been asked to undertake contact tracing and the Secretary of the Nagar panchayat area has been directed to sanitize the entire area.   

COVID-19 Positive Woman Ends Life at DDU, Shimla

A woman, who was tested positive for COVID-19, and was admitted to the DDU hospital, Shimla, ended her life on the intervening night of September 22-23. The exact reason for the suicide was yet to be ascertained.

Further, two suicides in Kangra district have been associated with the financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the deceased worked at a fuel station.  The second person was a cab driver. According to the English daily, The Tribune, he had recently received a notice from the bank over non-payment of his loan that he had taken to buy a cab. These suicides are indicators that the people are in dire need of relief from the state government. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 23, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 Fatalities on september 23

 

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13 More COVID-19 Deaths in 2 Days, Total Mounts to 130

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 update for september 22, 2020

The COVID-19 fatality rate in Himachal Pradesh is on the rise as the death tally reaches 130 with 13 new deaths in the last two days. According to the Health Department’s official COVID-19 Bulletins, State reported seven deaths on September 21 and six on September 22. 

Today, the state registered 331 new confirmed cases with which the COVID-19 tally for the state rose to 12769. Of this total, 4124 are active cases, 8491 have recovered, and 20 migrated to outside the state. The infected also include Nachan MLA Vinod Kumar.

Details of COVID-19 Casualties on Sept 21-22

details of COVID-19 deaths in Himachal pradesh

Today, the highest cases were reported from Sirmaur district (79), followed by Mandi (66), Shimla 48, and Solan 38, and Kullu (25). (Scroll down to view more district-wise statistics.)
However, the actual number of cases could be higher as the state is in the community spread phase. No projection regarding the actual number of cases and deaths has been issued by the state government.

So far, the state government has tested only 271449 persons for COVID-19. Considering the community spread, the state government is supposed to increase the number of tests.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that people should refrain from going to crowded places and take all precautions. However, tourists thronging the state are hardly following any rules. After lifting all restrictions on inter-state movement, the state government is now preparing to open the inter-state bus services, which would fuel the community spread.  The people are already expressing their resentment with the decision to suddenly lift all restrictions on movement of tourists. Amid these uncertain circumstances, rising fatality rate is the main concern. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 12, 2020 (9 PM)

  

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