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COVID-19 in Himachal: Statewide Curfew Declared

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Curfew in Himachal Pradesh from march 24

Shimla-A curfew has been imposed in entire Himachal Pradesh by the State Government in wake of coronavirus pandemic. The curfew will come into force from 5 pm today.

This was decided in the meeting presided over by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur with the Ministers and Officers of the state government to reviewed the overall situation of the state. 

The Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that the decision has been taken because a section of citizens was still not taking the outbreak seriously and was not supporting the statewide lockdown. Such irresponsible behavior would only worsen the outbreak.

“No person shall leave his/her home or shall move on foot or by vehicle or travel or stand or roam around on any road or public places (except for emergency medical aid. Further, any assembly of five or more persons shall not be allowed,”

the notification said.  

“Violation of this order shall attract provisions of Section 188 of IPC and the violator can be prosecuted under Section 269 and 279 of IPC which provide for imprisonment for 6 months or with a fine of both and imprisonment which may extend upto two years or fine respectively,”

the notification further said.  

The Executive Magistrates and Police Officials have been directed to ensure compliance in their respective districts.

The decision to impose curfew followed the first death due to COVID-19 on March 23th at Tanda Medical College. The deceased was a Tibetan national who had recently returned from USA. With its first death, Himachal Pradesh has reported three positive cases of COVID-19 infection.

The public will be informed regarding timings of relaxation in curfew, the Chief Minister said. 

The Chief Minister said that the government will ensure availability of essential commodities. For this purpose, district level coordination committee has been constituted at the district level for coordination with the district administration, so that the people of the State does not face any inconvenience.

Chief Minister directed the officers to ensure availability of essential commodities in the State, besides ensuring that the people of the State does not face any inconvenience due to the curfew imposed in order to check spread of Corona Virus in the State. He said that effective steps were being taken to check hoarding of essential commodities in the State.

He said that Speaker Vidhan Sabha Vipin Singh Parmar would lead District level Committee for Kangra District,  Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh for Mandi district, Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj for Shimla and Kinnaur  district, Urban Development Minister Sarveen Chaudhary for Bilaspur District, Agriculture Minister Dr. Ramlal Markanda for Lahaul and Spiti District, Rural Development Minister Virender Kanwar for Una district, Industries Minister Bikram Singh for Hamirpur district, Forest Minister Govind Thakur for Kullu district, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. Rajiv Saizal for Solan district, Deputy Speaker Hansraj for Chamba district and former Speaker Vidhan Sabha Dr. Rajiv Bindal for Sirmour district.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur,  Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Speaker State Vidhan Sabha Vipin Singh Parmar, Forest Minister Govind Thakur, Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Advocate General Ashok Sharma,  Additional Chief Secretary Health R.D. Dhiman, Additional Chief Secretary Industries Manoj Kumar, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi, Principal Secretary PWD Secretary J.C. Sharma,  Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu, Secretary GAD Devesh Kumar and Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Amitabh Awasthi were present in the meeting.

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Dharamshala Hoteliers Say Condition of 5-Days Pre-Booking Unnecessary, Not Acceptable to Tourists  

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Dharamshala hotelier association on opening hotels

Dharamshala-The Hotel and Restaurant Association, Dharamshala, recently held a meeting under the Chairmanship of President Ashwani Bamba to discuss the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Himachal Pradesh Government.  

The Association said that the Tourism Department has made the condition of pre-booking of minimum five nights stay in a hotel mandatory. But prospective guests are not willing to accept this restriction.

“As even in the peak summer season, the average stay of a guest in any destination in the state is only for two nights. We cannot force the guest to stay for five nights in the rainy season,”

Ashwani Bamba said.

He said that the Association has also received feedback from its online as well as offline travel agents, who suggested that guest are not willing to travel to Himachal on these conditions.

“We fail to understand that when producing COVID-19 negative certificate has been made mandatory for entry to the State, what is the logic behind five nights mandatory stay,”

he questioned.

The Association also raised questions over the feasibility of implementing SOP regarding obtaining a certification declaring that a vehicle is sanitized.

“Who are the agencies authorized by the State Administration to issue such certificate and the validity of such certificate? Association feels that this is unnecessary and impractical and will only cause harassment to tourists,”

Ashwani said.

He suggested that instead of this condition, a self-declaration by the guest should suffice.

Also Read: First Open for Tourism, Then Train Staff, HP Govt Goes Topsy Turvy

Further, the SOP asking hotel owners to allow guests to check-in even if they have high temperature and showing visible symptoms of cough and breathlessness is not acceptable to the hoteliers, the Association said.

Further, there is a fear among hoteliers that in case a guest turns out to be COVID-19 positive, hotel premises may be sealed. Also, the SOPs do not mention any directions/instructions regarding the period for which premises of such hotel would be sealed and the staff will be quarantined, the Association said.

 “We suggest that instead of check-in the hotel, such symptomatic guest should be straight away sent to the Government COVID-19 health facilities for further medical check-up and quarantined at designated quarantine facilities till the arrival of his/her report,”

the Association said.

Further, the President said that due to the above-cited SOPs issued by the Department, the majority of the hoteliers are not willing to open.

The Association said that as the present set of SOPs is not favourable for prospective guests and hoteliers and there is an alarming rise in corona cases in Punjab, Delhi, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, they were not expecting many tourists to visit the State. Therefore, the Association said, it’s not advisable to open the hotels till July 30th.

“We are requesting the Government to take into confidence the stakeholders and revise the SOPs, where it incentivises guests to visit the State and to remove unreasonable restrictions,”

the Association said.  

Further, Ashwani informed that the Association has decided to review the SOPs and situation regarding corona cases on July 31 and the next course of action would be decided thereafter.

The Association has made it clear that if any hotel wants to open its premises with the present set of SOPs for the tourists, it may do so at his own risk.

What Hoteliers in Shimla Say About Opening Hotels

About 700 Tourist Visited Himachal During Last 5 Days

About 700 tourists visited the State in the last five days, informed Secretary, Tourism and Civil Aviation Devesh Kumar on Saturday.

He said that before framing the SOP for the opening of tourism units in the State, the Tourism department has examined the SOP of other states who have also opened the hotels for tourists in their respective State.

Advisory to Tourists Planning Visit to Himachal

As per the advisory issued, the tourists who wish to visit Himachal Pradesh are required to register themselves on the E-Pass web portal before 48 hours visiting Himachal under tourist category. The tourists have to carry COVID test certificate (RTPCR) issued by ICMR certified laboratory with a negative report and this should not be more than 72 hours. In addition, the tourist must have downloaded Aarogya Setu App on their mobiles.

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COVID-19: Kangra Crosses 300 Mark, Over 30 Including Policemen Quarantined After Rape Accused Tests Positive in Una

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Himachal pradesh rape accused test covid positive in una

Una-The Amb police station in Una district was sealed and over 30 people including policemen were home-quarantined after a rape accused tested positive for COVID-19. According to the initial information, the police had nabbed the accused in Tarn Taran, Punjab, on July 9 and brought him to the Amb police station. SP, Una, Karthikeyan Gokulachandran confirmed the report.

On Saturday, 11 new cases were reported in Himachal Pradesh. On Friday, the State had reported 31 new cases. On Sunday, two new cases were reported from Chamba district till noon. The COVID-19 tally for the State has now jumped to 1184, of which 262 are active cases, 898 cured, nine died, and 13 migrated to outside the state.

In Kullu district, after a COVID-19 case was reported from Ward Number 7 of Kullu Municipal Council, the district administration has sealed area falling between Loarn, Khalada road on the northern side and Sarwari Khad on the southern side and declared it as containment zone. The remaining area of the ward has been declared as a buffer zone.

 Earlier, the police line in Solan district was sealed and about 30 policemen were quarantined after two constables tested positive on Friday. Their samples were taken as part of routine sampling, and it was yet to be ascertained as to how they got infected. SP, Solan, Abhishek Yadav, confirmed the report.

 ESI Hospital, Parawanoo, was also sealed after a doctor tested positive. The doctor is believed to have contracted the disease while taking samples for testing.  

According to the official statistics released by the State Health Department on July 11 (9 PM), a total of 98367 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in the state. Currently, 20392 persons are under active surveillance.

District-wise, Kangra has reported highest 303 cases, followed by Hamirpur (272), Solan (177), Una (138), Chamba (61), Shimla (55), Bilaspur (51), Mandi (38), Sirmaur (42), Kinnaur (35), Kullu (8), and Lahaul-Spiti (4).

HP Health Department’s Daily COVID-19 Bulletin (12 PM) for July 12, 2020

Latest Himachal Pradesh corona updates

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Read HP Cabinet Decisions on Hike in Bus Fare, UG Exams, School/College Admissions, Jobs & Others

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Himachal Pradesh cabinet meeting july 10, 2020

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet said it is considering to give an approval to hike bus fare by 25 percent in the State.  The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting held on July 10, 2020. The Transport Minister, Govind Singh Thakur, said a notification regarding the same would be issued soon. Private bus operators had been demanding hike in fares since the opening of public transport services. Most of the private transporters had declined to resume service with the State Government’s condition of 60 percent occupancy. The government had later allowed plying of public transport with 100 percent capacity, but the private bus operators still pressurized the Transport Minister to consider hiking the bus fare.

Though the official notification was yet to be released, the decision has already begun to face resistance from the people and oppositions.

The State unit of Indian National Congress, Shimla Nagrik Sabha and Communist Party of India have released statements questioning the timing of the decision. Former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, termed this decision against the public interests as a hike has been made when the majority of people are going through a financially tough time due to the lockdowns in wake of coronavirus outbreak.

Further, Nagrik Sabha said that the private transporters and HRTC staff should have been provided relief by the state government but instead, the burden has been put on the public, which is not justified. About 70 percent of people employed in private sector and small businesses are partially or completely hit due to the corona pandemic, the Sabha said. 

UG Final Year Exams and School Admissions

Further, the Education Minister, Suresh Bhardwaj, informed that the Cabinet has given nod to the Education Department’s proposal to start admissions in government schools and colleges from 13 to 25 July. The admissions in schools/colleges would facilitate the students who have passed Class 10 and Class 12. Students can apply for admission online, telephonically, or by physically visiting the schools/colleges, he informed.

Regarding the examination of the final year of under-graduation and post-graduation would be held in August (after 16th) and September respectively. The Minister said that according to the new guidelines issued by the UGC, it would be mandatory to conduct examinations for the students of last semester/year of under graduation. The examination could be conducted at centres or online, the Minister said. In case the students are not able to appear in the examination at the colleges and universities, they would be given a facility to appear in the exam in nearby centres. In case, some students fail to appear in the examination due to some genuine reason, another chance would be given to such students to take the examination in the same academic year.

However, no decision was taken regarding the examination of the first and second years students of under-graduation. In case it is decided to promote students of these years, the criteria would be set after further discussions, the Minister informed. 

Job Opportunity for Eligible Unemployed Candidates

The Cabinet also gave its nod to the draft policy for engaging ‘Part-Time Multi Task Workers’ in government schools. It will initially provide an opportunity for 7852 eligible unemployed candidates to earn honorarium at the local level. These workers will be paid an honorarium of Rs. 31.25 per hour for six hours per day for ten months in an academic year.

State Cabinet approved the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Himachal Pradesh (Amendment) Rules, 2019. The government said it would extend the provision of ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ in respect of industrial establishments under their domain as per provisions of Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and Rules made thereafter. This would offer the ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ the same statutory benefits as were being proportionately given to regular workers, thus, decrease the exploitation of contract workers as the employer would directly hire the workers without any mediator in the form of contract for a fixed term, the government said.

Other Cabinet Decision of HP Govt

The Cabinet gave its approval to Himachal Pradesh Ease of Compliance to Maintain Register under various Labour Laws, Rules, 2019.

It granted its approval to adopt CPWD works Manual 2019 and other publication of CPWD in Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department.

It decided to open new Horticulture Division in Public Works Department at Shimla. The government said that all the existing Sub-divisions of the Horticulture would be brought under the administrative control of this Division. This new Horticulture Division would help build green roads by ensuring roadside plantation and slope stability activities through bio-engineering technology.

The Cabinet gave its consent to establish a training academy centre at Barchwad in Sarkaghat area of Mandi district to train those youth who are willing to join Indian Army/Navy/Air Force and other paramilitary forces to serve the country.

It decided to enhance the honorarium of part-time water carriers engaged in Elementary and Higher Education Departments of the State Government by Rs. 300 per month from Rs. 2400 to Rs. 2700 per month.

The Cabinet decided to provide a monthly ‘Loktantra Prahari Samman Rashi’ of Rs. 8000 per month to those persons who have undergone 1-15 days incarceration and Rs. 12000 per month to those who have undergone 15 days or above incarceration during the emergency between 25th June 1975 to 21st March 1977 under MISA –Maintenance of Internal Security Act and DIR-Defence of India Rules as a token of respect to them for standing up for democracy and fundamental rights of the people.

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