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RTI Activist Writes to Governor over HPPSC Member Rachana Gupta’s Participation in Politically Dominated Event

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HPPSC Member Rachana Gupta at Global Investor meet

Shimla-The Member of Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission, Rachana Gupta, who has been in controversy over her appointment, is again in news. This time, an RTI activist has written to the Governor of the State, Bandaru Dattatreya, pointing out the presence of Gupta in recently held Global Investor Meet, Dharamshala. A picture of Gupta with the wife of the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur at the event was also attached with the letter.

The activist has termed the event as political dominated in nature where prominent leaders of the party were present.

The activist, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, in his letter, has asked whether Gupta had obtained any permission from the Chairman, HPPSC, to participate in the said event.

The activist also raised a question whether it was appropriate for a member of HPPSC to participate in any politically dominated meetings or events.

“Suppose the wife of a Chief Secretary is a High Court Judge, then can she justify her participation in a political dominated event by arguing that since her husband participated in that event as a Chief Secretary so she can also participate,”

said the activist in his letter.

He said such participation of an HPPSC member would only erode the sanctity of the Commission in the eyes of the candidates and their parents who take the competitive examinations. He also said that such an act would also lead to erosion of the faith that the candidates have in the HPPSC.

The activist said that already a complaint is pending in the office of the Governor relating to criminal case Gupta was facing at the time of her appointment as HPPSC member. In July 2019, Gupta had to obtain bail from the Joginder Nagar court, the activist said.

Referring to the well-known proximity of Gupta with the family of the Chief Minister, the activist said that she was appointed within a very short span of time right after the Jairam Thakur took over the government. A special vacancy was created for her despite the fact that at the time of her appointment there was no such vacancy.

The activist has requested the Governor to initiate an inquiry into the matter and remove Gupta from the membership of HPPSC “in the interest of justice to the candidates who appear in various competitive examinations being conducted by the institution.”

At the time of her appointment in January 2018, the activist had alleged that the Bhartiya Janata Party allegedly created and filled two seats of the member of the HP Public Service Commission by violating the orders of the Supreme Court regarding the proper procedure to make an appointment on such positions.

In addition, two posts were created when all three posts were already occupied, the activist had alleged.

In July 2019, Gupta had filed a defamation suit against a the activist for allegedly tarnishing her image and reputation by posting wrong posts on Facebook.  She had made claim of Rs 1 crore from Bhatacharya.

 

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Corona Curfew in Himachal Pradesh From May 7, Public Transport to Remain Operational, Educational Institutes Closed Till May 31

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curfew in Himachal pradesh from may 7

Shimla-A corona curfew in Himachal Pradesh would be imposed from May 7, the State Government decided today in a meeting of HP Cabinet held today.

The state government said that in order to break the virus chain, the Cabinet decided to impose Corona curfew in the whole State.

“All the government and private offices/ establishments would remain closed from 7 May, 2021 to midnight of 16 May, 2021. It was also decided that all essential services such as health, electricity, telecommunication, water supply, sanitation etc. would remain open,” the government said.

The Cabinet decided that work would continue at civil work sites, horticultural/agricultural and other project sites. Educational institutions in the State would remain closed till 31 May, 2021. All government and private transport would ply at 50 percent of occupancy and inter-state transport would continue. Industrial establishments would work as per the guidelines issued by the State Government.

The government said that detailed SOPs would be issued by today evening. 

Also Read: Situation Grim in Himachal With Record 48 Deaths in a Day, Senior Leader Shanta Kumar Advises Govt to Impose Lockdown

Keeping in view the sharp surge of covid-19 cases in the State, it was also decided in the meeting that the annual examination of 10th standard of Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education would stand cancelled. All the students would be promoted to 11th class by the Board as per the norms suggested by CBSE for its students for the 10th standard examination. It was also decided that 12th standard examination of Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education and annual examination of colleges would also remain suspended till further orders. 

For the department of Excise and Taxation that handles work related to collection of the revenue, which form major part of revenue earned by the State and to properly administer and regulate, the various tax laws in the State, the Cabinet gave its nod to create a specialized and dedicated separate service in the State ‘H.P. Revenue (State Taxes and Excise) Services in place of existing posts of the officers in the department.

The Cabinet gave its approval to upgrade regional hospital Una as 300 bedded regional hospital along-with creation of 76 posts of different categories to ensure better health care facilities hospital to the people of the area.

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Situation Grim in Himachal With Record 48 Deaths in a Day, Senior Leader Shanta Kumar Advises Govt to Impose Lockdown

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covid-19 testing rate in himachal pradesh

Shimla- While the state government remains indecisive over imposing more restrictive measures to check the COVID-19 spread, the state lost 48 more lives – the highest in a day so far. On Tuesday, with the increase in sampling to 15954 from 8511 on Monday, the number of daily cases also jumped to 3824 in the state. According to the official statistics of the state health department, Kangra districts reported the highest 877 cases and 16 fatalities. Solan district reported 11 fatalities and 411 new infections.  Mandi district reported  807 cases and one fatality. (Scroll down to view all details of deceased)

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 4, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

daily cases

Source: HP NHM

Pertinent to mention that Himachal Watcher had been raising questions over a very low sampling in the state when the fatality rate has reached an alarming level. The sampling was decreased from 14649 on April 29 to 8511 on May 3 while the fatality rate rose continuously. Also, the state government didn’t provide any clarification over this decreasing number of sampling. But health experts believe that sampling needs to be boosted further to assess the true scale of the spread.

Also Read:  Testing Increases in Govt’s Statements Only

Speaking on the worsening situation in the state, especially Kangra district, former Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar has advised the state government to impose a lockdown.

Meanwhile, some reports of mismanagement and unpreparedness of the COVID are hospitals are appearing on various media platforms, especially on social media. A citizen in Shimla yesterday complained that the Ayurvedic Hospital, Chotta Shimla, did not admit his mother who needed immediate oxygen support.

A 53-year-old woman in Ramshahar, Solan district, died as she failed to receive ventilator support. According to a report in a daily, the patient was referred to the government hospital in Katha where ventilators were available but weren’t operational. Chief Medical Officer said that there is a shortage of staff, regarding which higher officials had been informed, the report said.

Claims of contact tracing also proved to be empty as a report appeared which said a bus conductor (HRTC) was on duty when he received information that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Questions are being raised as to how the conductor was allowed to carry on with his duty in a bus and why he wasn’t isolated after his sample was taken.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 4, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in Himachal PRadesh on May 4, 2021

Source: HP NHM

Daily COVID-19 deaths

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Himachal’s Current Bed Capacity 3346, Daily Oxygen Availability 53 MT, Says HP Govt, But No Clarification on Low Testing

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Bed capacity in himachal pradesh

Shimla- A Spokesperson of the state government said here today that there was no shortage of oxygen supply and beds in the hospitals and efforts were being made to enhance the bed capacity and oxygen supply day by day. As of now, 3346 beds were available in various health institutes of the state.

He said that keeping in view the increasing cases of Covid-19, the state government has increased the number of beds to 1924 in various Covid dedicated health institutes, hospitals and Covid centres. He said that 1422 beds were available in various Covid hospitals in the state on 21 April 2021 while presently the bed capacity has been enhanced to 3346.

The Spokesperson said that the per day availability of oxygen in the hospitals was 53 MT while the requirement was 23 MT. The PSA plant would be made functional in Chamba Medical College within a week which would meet the oxygen requirement in the Chamba district, he said.

Also Read: Himachal: 115 COVID-19 Fatalities in 3 Days, Testing Increases in Govt’s Statements Only

The state government, however, did not clarified on the low number of sampling/testing. Pertinent to mention that while the fatality rate has witnessed a massive surge, the sampling in the state had fallen to below 8000 on Monday. The rate of daily sampling has come down continuously with the surge in deaths. On April 29, according to the official data, 14649 samples were taken, on April 30 it dropped to 13715, to 10804 on May 1st, to 9684 on May 2, and to 8511 on May 3.

Also Read: Himachal Sees 44 Deaths in 24 Hours, Sampling Drops as COVID-19 Fatality Rate Rises  

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been issuing repeated directions to increase testing in statements, but according to the government’s statistics, the reality is contrary to them.

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