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First HP Govt Failed Him, Now FIR Against 88-Year-Old for Collecting Funds for Construction of Retaining Wall

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Elderl man in kangra arrested for collecting toll tax

Kangra-After a video of an 88-year-old man stopping vehicles on Nadaun-Majheen road to collect funds for the construction of a collapsed retaining wall, that was posing threat to his house, went viral on social media, the local police yesterday arrested the man and filed an FIR agianst him for extortion and blocking traffic.

The elderly man, who was identified as Jaggar Nath of Faquaid village in Kangra district, had been moving from pillar to post, making rounds of government offices for years to make his grievance heard. 

He also approached the officials with his grievance at Janmanch program of the state government but did not get any relief. A couple of months ago, the man had approached the MLA of Jawalamukhi Constituency, Ramesha Dhawala. He was given assurance but no relief. As per the man, he was afraid for the safety of his family, so he started to collect funds by stopping vehicles on Nadaun-Majheen road. He asked the commuters to pay Rs 10. He referred to it as a toll tax for collecting money to raise the retaining wall.

Some people gave him money while others refused. A video of the same was recorded by a local and shared on social media. Himachal Watcher had first published a news regarding the same. It was a disheartening scene to see an elderly person compelled to resort to such a method to make his voice heard. In the video he can be seen stopping a car, asking for toll tax. When the person refused to pay, the elderly man is seen running alongside the car in protest. The car was followed by an HRTC bus. The elderly man told the driver that he is collecting money through toll tax to construct his retaining wall. Someone from the bus gave him some money, and the elderly man at once removed the chair and plank to let the bus pass.

Everyone who came across the video and the news covered by media thought the local MLA or the district administration would now take note of this man’s grievance and provide him some relief. However, opposed to this expected action, the man was arrested and slapped with charges of extortion. He was released on bail.

Now, the people are shocked over the working of the local MLA and district administration, and the attitude of the government towards the elderly of the state. They are asking whether this man needed relief or an FIR. This matter should have been solved amicably by attending to the elderly man. However, the district administration preferred booking him.

Misc News/Press Release

Congress Holds ‘Save Democracy March’ in Pachhad Alleging EC of Inaction on BJP’s MCC Violations

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Congress march in pachhad

Sirmaur-Congress today organized “Save Democracy March” in Pachhad constituency ahead of the by-election. The rally was led by HPCC President Kuldeep Singh Rathore, who later submitted a memorandum to the Chief Electoral Officer, Himachal Pradesh, through SDM, Rajgarh, alleging a foul play and violations of Model Code of Conduct by BJP leaders and ministers Mahinder Singh Thakur, Birender Kanwar and Speaker Rajeev Bindal in Pachhad assembly constituency.

He also said that government machinery was misused on a large scale and government servants were being pressurised to work for BJP candidate and that Election Commission has failed altogether to check violation of Model Code of Conduct.

Rathore claimed that despite all foul play and violation of MCC by BJP, Congress is all set to register a landslide victory in Pachhad assembly constituency and Dharamshala Constituency because party workers have poured in great efforts in door-to-door campaigning in both the assembly constituencies.

Rathore has been campaigning in these constituencies ever since the date of announcement of elections. He had campaigned in all areas of Dharamshala assembly constituency from October 2 to October 9, 2019.

Thereafter, he moved to Pachhad assembly constituency and has been campaigning there from October 10. Rathore claimed that these by-elections will set a stage for departure of BJP government from Himachal Pradesh in 2022 as Congress is comfortably winning both these seats in the bye-election 2019.   

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Misc News/Press Release

Peaks of Kullu and Lahaul Receive Fresh Spell of Snow, Lower Reaches Hit by Hailstorm, Rain

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Snowfall in kullu manali

Kullu– Including Rohtang Pass, peaks of Kullu, Manali, and Lahaul are receiving a fresh spell of snow. At the time of writing Rohtang Pass had received about two to three inches of snow, five in Shikula Pass, and four in Baralacha Pass. Manali’s Chandrkhani Pass has also received a fresh spell of snow

The roads are still open and traffic is moving. However, it is expected that if this spell of light snowfall continued for the few next hours, the roads would be closed.  The Manali-Leh and Manali-Kaza Highway have already been closed for traffic officially. 

Manali and Lahaul also recorded spell of heavy rain on Thursday afternoon. Due to rainfall and snow in higher peaks, the temperature has dropped by several notches.

Kullu valley was hit by a spell of heavy hailstorm, which caused damaged to vegetable and other crops in Shiah, Gadsa and Hawi valley of the district. The SDM, Kullu, Akshay Sood, said the damaged caused to crops would be assessed soon.

Snowfall in Kullu-manali

Similarly, some parts of Mandi district also witnessed hailstorm, leading to crop damage.

kullu manali snowfall

During next couple of hours, the HP Met Department has predicted light to moderate rainfall and snowfall along with thunderstorm in Kangra, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Shimla district.

The hoteliers in Kullu and Manali are expecting that snow would attract tourists to the valley.

The Met Department has predicted rain and snow on October 18 too. After that, the weather is likely to be dry till October 23.

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Campus Watch

HP Technical University Hamirpur Turned into Political Arena, Deprived of Its Autonomy: ABVP

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HPTU Hamirpur ABVP Conference

Hamirpur- The Himachal Pradesh Technical University, Hamirpur, (HPTU) has been turned into a political arena by the Himachal Pradesh Government. The Minister for Technical Education, Bikram Singh, has forgotten that this college also comes under his jurisdiction and that he is responsible for its development, said Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad unit of HPTU in a press conference organized on October 16, 2019.

The conference was addressed by President of ABVP’s HPTU unit, Suraj Jariyal, Secretary Ankita Sharma, and Robin.

The situation has worsened to such an extent that ABVP has now opened a front against its own government. Suraj termed the neglection of the college by the Minister of Technical Education as most unfortunate. He alleged the University is awaiting development for the past 10 years, however, this issue was never raised in the Legislative Assembly. The classes are being conducted in the building of a boys school. An additional fee is being charged for facilities such as computer lab, internet, and library. However, in reality, the varsity doesn’t even have its own building and campus.

The government made no provision of a budget for the university, which shameful in itself. The state government keep forming new rules for the university very frequently. These rules are of pure political interest, he said. ABVP alleged that the government is trying to fulfil its political interests through the only technical university of the state, which is why it keeps forcing new rules on the varsity.

Recently, the state government and the Department of Technical Education issued a Tughlaqi order prohibiting the university from starting new courses and making any recruitment. ABVP criticised this decision terming it a mockery of the autonomy of the university. 

Unit secretary Ankita advised the Minister for Technical Education to read the constitution of the varsity, which empowers the university to make new recruitments and start new courses anytime it wants. The university does not need to seek permission from either the government or the Minister to do so, Ankita said.

ABVP has demanded that the government should stop depriving the varsity of its autonomy, provision of a budget is made, vacant posts of regular teaching and non-teaching staff are filled up, and new courses are started at the earliest at the new campus.

The university is lacking behind in education and development due to apathetic attitude of the state government, Suraj said. ABVP warned the government that if it did not roll back its decision, then more aggressive protests would be launched. If needed, a ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign would be initiated by ABVP, he said. 

 

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