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Apple Growers in Himachal Duped of Rs. 80 Lakh, Govt Issues Guidelines for Horticulturists to Avoid Frauds



Fraud with Himachal Apple Growers

Shimla-About 44 apple growers of Karsog region of Mandi district were allegedly duped by a dealer. These growers had sold the dealer 5000 boxes of apple approximately worth Rs 80 lakh during the months of July and August 2019.

It was revealed by Member of Legislative Assembly, Karsog Constituency, Hira Lal, in a letter to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

As per the MLA Hira Lal, a person named Parvaiz Ahmad Wagay, the owner of Sahil Fruit Company based in Singhanpura, Kulgaon, Kashmir, along with Kamal Singh of Village Bahli, Tehsil Kumarsain, Shimla, visited the Seri Bunglow, one of the area in MLA’s constituency, during the month of July-August, 2019.

Parvaij allegedly purchased packed apple boxes of approximately Rs 80 lakh from various growers of the area and gave them posted dated cheques as payments. These cheques were drawn on the HP State Cooperative Bank, Seri Bunglow, where Parvaij had opened an account recently, the MLA said in the letter.

“This person made purchases in the name of his firm without any challan and merely cheques were handed over to the growers, which was gross negligence on the part of my constituents,”

Hira Lal said.

“After taking almost 5000 packed boxes of apple, he suddenly disappeared from the area and switched off his mobile number. On the due date, when growers tried to encash the cheques, they bounced as the account lacked sufficient amount.”

he added.

An FIR has been filed at the Karsog Police station in this regard, he informed. However, he said, as the accused hails from Jammu and Kashmir, the local police would find it difficult to investigate the case. He urged the Chief Minister to form a Special Investigation Team comprising of high-rank police officials to nab the accused and recover the hard-earned money of growers from the accused.

The Additional Superintendent of Police, CID, confirmed the report and said about half-a-dozen of growers have approached him with a complaint of fraud by a Kashmiri dealer.
Following this case, the state government on Thursday issued guidelines to “prevent fraud against horticulturists/apple growers.”

The Guidelines Said:

  • Horticulturist must sell their apples to the registered/authorized dealers only and should ensure that the dealer is verified by the police.
  • The horticulturist should also check the authenticity of the license of the dealer.
  • For the transportation of the crop, the horticulturist should use vehicles of Registered Transport Union or Goods Transport Union.
  • The sales of the crop should take place through an online transaction.
  • If the dealer makes the payment through cheque, then the horticulturist must avoid post-dated cheque of long duration.
  • In case of failure in payment process by the dealer or cheque bounce, the horticulturist must immediately inform Secretary, APMC or Deputy Director Agriculture through a written complaint.

It’s not the first time that such case of fraud has appeared in Himachal Pradesh. A large number of cases are pending where dealers have not made payments to growers. Kisan Sangharsh Samiti had been raising this issue for several months now. With the help of the Samiti, some of the money was recovered after growers filed FIRs against dealers. Samiti had been alleging that inaction of APMC and the state government in checking entry of unregistered dealers or dealers with bad history into the market and allowing them to conduct business is encourging such cases.

The Agriculture Minister, Ramlal Markanda, in a statement to media a couple of days ago, had washed his hands of this responsibility by stating that he has no control over the APMC as it is not governed by the state government. He had further added that the markets of the entire state would come under the state government only after the APMC Bill 2019 is passed.

This statement of Markanda was questioned by MLA, Theog constituency, Rakesh Singh. Sinigha said that all the members of the APMC board are officials of the state government. Therefore, the state government can’t say that the board is not under its control. He had termed it a misleading statement.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 12 COVID-19 Deaths in a Day, 68 in Past 19 Days



Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths

Shimla-The COVID-19 fatality rate in Himachal Pradesh is spiralling up. On September 18, the state reported a record 12 deaths in a single day. The deceased aged between 42 to 95 years and most had other pre-existing medical conditions. A total of 432 new confirmed cases took the COVID-19 case tally for the state to 11622 till the last official update from the Health Department (9 PM).

The situation is alarming as 5367 of the total cases and 68 fatalities were reported during the past 19 days of September month. So far, the highest 24 deaths have been reported from Kangra district, followed by Solan (21) and Shimla (20). (View the table below for statistics from other districts).

Available data of fatalities suggests that elderly persons and patients of Diabetes Mellitus, Cancer and Chronic Kidney Disease are highly vulnerable. Take a look at the medical conditions and symptoms of the 12 patients who succumbed to the infection yesterday:

Himachal Pradesh Daily COVID-19 deaths

 So far, Solan district has reported the highest 2566 cases, followed by Kangra (1759), Siramur (1482), Mandi (1228), and Una (1057). The tally for Shimla is witnessing a steep rise as the number has reached 826, of which 730 cases were reported during the past 19 days.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 18, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 data till september 18, 2020

These numbers are official statistics and the original number could be much higher as it is not possible for the government to trace all cases due to community spread. The government itself admitted that people with mild symptoms are not getting tested or reporting it and isolating themselves. These people are fueling community spread, the government said. 

Regarding the fatalities, the health officials say that people are coming to hospitals very late only when their symptoms worsen. They have urged people to not ignore the appearance of symptoms and get tested or inform the authorities.

Meanwhile, lifting all restrictions on inter-state movement of people including tourists would add fuel to the situation. Tourists have begun to visit the state and the attitude of the public is becoming more casual, following the lead of the state government.

As usual, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur continues to maintain that the state government is prepared to deal with community spread. Moreover, with this surge in cases and fatalities, the blame is being shifted on the people alone. 

Feature Image: [email protected]_s

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Misc News/Press Release

Schools in Himachal to Open With 50% Staff  for Students of 9th to 12th Classes



Himachal Pradesh Schools Opening

Shimla: After lifting all restriction on entry into Himachal Pradesh in the previous Cabinet meeting, today the state government also gave nod to re-open schools from September 21, 2020. The decision was taken in a meeting of HP Cabinet held on September 18, 2020, in Shimla. 

Only those educational institutions would be opened which are outside containment zones. Schools would be opened as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it was informed.

Also Read: Himachal: No E-Pass, No COVID-19 Negative Report, No Registration Needed to Enter State

Only fifty per cent teaching and non-teaching staff would attend students from 9th to 12th standard, provided the students are willing to take guidance from the teachers, the government informed. The students would be able to visit their teachers for guidance, but it won’t be mandatory to come to schools.

Also, written consent of the parents or guardians of the students has been made mandatory.

It is speculated that there are bleak chances of opening primary schools this year as the community spread is in its initial phase and would be wreaking havoc in upcoming months. Himachal Pradesh has reported over 400 cases with 12 deaths today only.  

It would mean a huge loss in terms of education. There are several other obstacles and issues which make online classes for students of primary classes a difficult and less efficient mode of education. Imparting education amid the COVID-19 pandemic has become a challenging task for the state government.

Further, the Cabinet gave its approval to start BSc (Hons.) in Forestry in Government College for Forestry and Horticulture, Thunag in Mandi district from the academic session 2020-21.

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: Seven COVID-19 Deaths, 395 New Cases in a Day



Himachal pradesh corona deaths

Shimla-On Thursday, Himachal Pradesh reported 395 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. Seven fresh casualties were reported, taking the COVID-19 death tally in the state to 96. According to the official Bulletin released by the Health Department for September 17, 2020 (9 PM), the total for the state has risen to 11190, of which 4145 are active cases and 6919 had recovered.  

Seven fatalities also included a 14-year-old male from Shimla. He was a patient of Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Remaining six aged between 50-82 years.  As per the Health Department’s official Bulletin, all seven patients had pre-existing medical conditions like Diabetes Mellitus, severe Sepsis, severe ARDS, Hypertension etc.  

Details of COVID-19 Fatalities on September 17 (till 9 PM)

covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh on september 17, 2020-

Among Thursday’s cases, Sirmaur reported the highest 82 cases, followed by Kangra (76), Mandi (70), Solan (49), Una (38), Shimla (30), Lahaul-Spiti (15), Kullu (13), Bilaspur (12), Chamba (7), and Hamirpur (3).

Further, Solan has reported the highest number of cases (2525), and Kangra district has reported the highest number of casualties (20), followed by Solan (18), and Shimla (17).

For more statistics from all districts, view the table given below:

Himachal Pradesh-september 17, 2020, covid-19 update

Several media persons complained that the Health Officials have even stopped taking their calls and release required information. The Chief Minister, in today’s Vidhan Sabha session, compared fatality rate of Himachal Pradesh (0.8%) with the national rate (1.64%) and states having larger population like Punjab (2.8%). He claimed the state government was comfortable with the situation and rising number of cases. He said five make-shift COVID-19 hospitals, which are yet to be established, would take care of the rise in cases.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur today patted his own back by releasing an e-book “Sewa Hi Sangathan” brought out by the State BJP.

In this book, BJP has claimed that various initiatives and steps were taken by the party to effectively tacking the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister also termed the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” as a success and went on to say that it has stabilized rural economy of the country and the State during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defending the decision to lift all restrictions on inter-state movement of people, including tourists, amid a community spread, he termed it a necessary step to revive the state economy. In a way, the government has made it clear that the people would have to learn to live with COVID-19.

Feature Image: [email protected]

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