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MP Ramswaroop, His Staff Neither Tested Nor Quarantined Before Entering Himachal, Didn’t Cite Emergency: Chauhan

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MP Ramswaroop sharma violates lockdown and curfew

Shimla-Entry of Ramswaroop Sharma, Member of Parliament, alongwith his staff into Himachal Pradesh, amid nationwide lockdown and state-wide curfew, has raised eyebrows of not only opposition parties but also of the people. Questions are being asked from the State Government and the Police Department over bending of rules and regulations for VIPs. Demand is being made to file FIR against the MP for not following lockdown guidelines which permits interstate movement only in cases of emergencies.

The MP, who was in Delhi at the time of the end of the Lok Sabha Session and announcement of the lockdown, returned to Jogindernagar, Mandi district, on April 10. Most parts of Delhi has been declared COVID-19 hot-spots, and despite that, the MP decided to travel to Himachal.

In his defense, the MP said he had obtained all required permissions from administration in Delhi as well as in Mandi district. He also said that he has self-quarantined himself alongwith the staff that traveled with him. The Director-General of Police, Sita Ram Mardi, has clarified that the MP has not violated any rules and had obtained required permissions, therefore, no FIR can be lodged against him.

The Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Gurudev Chand Sharma, also termed his movement legitimate.

However, the MP or the Police did not cite the emergency that made the MP and his staff eligible for permission to travel from a hot-spot State to Himachal. The only reason that the MP gave is that it is his duty to be among his people in a time of need.

Reacting to the MP’s this response, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla, took a jibe asking as to why the MP did not return to the State soon after the end of the session and stayed in Delhi till April 10.

Chauhan has also raised another point which has not been answered yet. According to the lockdown guidelines, every person entering the State must be tested and quarantined, but the MP and his staff were exempted from it, he said. Rapid testing kits are available in the State, therefore, testing shouldn’t have been a problem. He also pointed out that the DGP has been making a regular appeal to obey the lockdown guidelines along with warnings of action against those entering into the State without testing and mandatory quarantine. But no action is being taken against the MP for violating the same guidelines, he said.

In fact, the State Government has directed the district officials to test all persons with permits in the boarder areas for COVID-19 and allow only those who are found negative. But, as per the Chauhan’s allegations, the MP and his staff was exempted from this rule. 

Further, Chauhan has alleged that there were irregularities in the permit issued by the District Magistrate, Mandi, to the MP. He targeted the Government alleging that such permits have been issued to other BJP affiliated persons, and has asked the Government to make details of all such persons public.

He termed it discrimination to deny permission to thousands of other Himachali’s stuck outside the State to return due to lockdown but allow a VIP to enter the State even when there is no emergency.

Chauhan has demanded that same legal action which is being taken against others who defied the lockdown and entered the State should be initiated against the MP and his staff. All officials who facilitated his entry into the State should be held responsible for this carelessness amid a pandemic.

Environment

The GHNP and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary Ranked as Best Managed Protected Areas of India

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MEE Rank himachal pradesh GHNP

Shimla-The Great Himalayan National Park and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) have been ranked as the best managed protected areas in India. Sainj WLS has also been placed among the top five Sanctuaries.

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, on January 11 released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Country. At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country. The purpose of it was to assess the efficacy of Protected Areas, evaluation of management effectiveness.

The evaluation process was executed by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, in which  nation-wide 146 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, including 13 protected areas of Himachal Pradesh, were assessed through a team of evaluators. The score is given for various parameters including staff position, provision of financial resources, degree of protection, peoples’ participation and awareness of the communities towards the conservation values. Against a national average of 62 percent GHNP and Tirthan WLS scored a high of 84.17 percent while Sainj recorded 82.5 percent.

Currently, Himachal Pradesh has a network of 5 National Parks, 28 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 3 Conservation Reserves covering 8391.42 km2 which is 15 percent of the total geographical area of the state.

Top five and bottom five scored NP&WLS

Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India 2

Source: MEE Evaluation Report

According to this Evaluation three of the top five best managed Protected Areas in the country are from Himachal Pradesh. However, the Evaluation also mentioned weaknesses in management in these National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. (Scroll down for details info)

Top two highest and lowest scored NP&WLS in five regions

Managemaent Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

Source: MEE Evaluation Report

What is Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)?

Protected area (PA) management effectiveness evaluation (MEE) is defined as the assessment of how well NP&WLS are being managed—primarily, whether they are protecting their values and achieving the goals and objectives agreed upon.

The term ‘management effectiveness’ reflects three main themes of PA management -design issues relating to both individual sites and PA systems, the adequacy and appropriateness of management systems and processes, and delivery of the objectives of NP&WLS, including conservation of values.

 Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Protected Areas (PAs) has emerged as a key tool for PA managers and is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.

MEE is a very important document that provides valuable guidance on various aspects of wildlife and protected area expand MEE of Marine Protected Areas. A new framework for MEE of Marine Protected Areas has been also jointly prepared by WII and MoEF&CC.

In recent years there has been a general concern amongst PA professionals and the public that many NP&WLS are failing to achieve their objectives and, in some cases, are actually losing the values for which they were established (Hockings et al. 2008).

As a result, improving the effectiveness of PA management has become a priority throughout the conservation community. Protected areas that are effectively managed generally lead to improved biodiversity outcomes.

However, only 20% (21,743 NP&WLS) of the total coverage of protected areas reported in the WDPA has been assessed for management effectiveness according to the Global Database on Protected Areas Management Effectiveness (UNEP-WCMC, IUCN and NGS 2018). The result indicated that only 17.5% of the countries have achieved the 60% score of management effectiveness (Coad et al. 2015).

Further, Javadekar also announced that from this year onwards 10 best National Parks, 5 coastal and Marine parks and top five Zoos in the country will be ranked and awarded every year.

Management Strengths and Weaknesses of National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh

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Campus Watch

Proposed HPBOSE Date-Sheets for 8th, 10th, 12th Exams 2021 Issued, Objections Invited till Feb 10

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HPBOSE Exam Datesheet 2021

Shimla-Date-sheets for Class 10, 12, and 8 yearly examinations for the 2020-21 session have been released by the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education yesterday. These schedules would apply to both regular and State Open School (SOS) students. 

These are proposed date-sheets, which have been uploaded on the official HPBOSE website and objections have been invited from teachers, students, and parents. Objections can be mailed on [email protected] till 10 February 2021.

According to the proposed HPBOSE date-sheets, examinations for 10th class would be held from May 5 to May 20, 2021. For 12th class, exams would be held from May 4 to May 29. Exams for 8th class would be held from May 5 to May 19. While timings for class 10th and 8th would be 8:45 to 12 PM, class 12th exams would be conducted from 1:45 PM to 5 PM.

The Board has already decided that yearly examinations of HPBOSE for Class 10th and 12th for the session 2020-21 would not be conducted online. The decision was taken considering the fact that several regions of the state do not have Internet connectivity due to which students face difficulties.

HPBOSE Class 12 Date-Sheet 2021

HPBOSE Class 10 Date-Sheet 2021

HPBOSE Class 8 Date-Sheet 2021

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal to Administer 93,000 Dozes to Frontline Workers in First Phase of COVID-19 Vaccination

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COVID-19 vaccination in himachal pradesh

Shimla-In the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination in Himachal Pradesh, 93 thousand dozes would be administered to front line warriors including health care workers of the State, Central Government and armed forces, informed the State Government on Tuesday. For this purpose, 46 sites have been selected all over the State, it said. The dozes are expected to arrive in the State during the next couple of days. 

The Government said that the State has received AD syringes in sufficient quantity as per beneficiary and has been distributed to the districts. An additional stock of 0.5 ml AD syringes has been stored at State Vaccine Store, Parimahal, Shimla, Regional Vaccine Store, Mandi and Regional Vaccine Store Dharamshala to meet out any situation, it said. 

A State ‘Vaccination Store’ has been set up at Shimla whereas regional vaccine store had been set up at Mandi and Dharamshala, it was informed.

District Vaccine Stores had been set up in all 12 districts of the State, besides 371 stores in Medical Colleges, block-level, CHC and PHCs.

The Government said that tentative vaccine allocation would be calculated for each launch site with an additional 10 percent wastage of vaccine. Vial once opened would be utilized within four hours. The second dose for the beneficiary would be secured –First in First Out with the current allocation.

Three phases of Dry Run for COVID-19 vaccination have been conducted on 2nd January 2021 at State Capital, on 8th January in all district headquarters and 11th January in the entire State, the Government informed.

The Government also said that Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) management training have been given to the session site vaccinators for establishing referral mechanism and report on COWIN app. AEFI Committees at State and District level have also been notified with additional members of Pulmonologist and Medicine Specialists for casualty assessment of AEFI cases and spokesperson workshop would be held on 13th January.

Further, the State Government has constituted State Level Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, State Task Force chaired by Secretary Health, District Task Force by concerned Deputy Commissioner and Block Task Force chaired by respective SDM to monitor effective administration of vaccination of COVID-19.

No COVID-19 Death Reported on January 12

On Tuesday, according to the State Health Department, only 75 new cases were recorded in the State. As a sigh of relief, no COVID-19 death was reported. The tally for COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh had reached 56596 till January 12, 2021.  So far, the pandemic has claimed 949 lives.

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