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In a Letter to CM Jairam, Citizen Points Out Loophole in Processing People Returning to Himachal on State Borders/Barriers

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Shimla-A sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh during the last six days can be attributed to the lack of a concrete strategy and haphazard manner in which people stranded in other States were being allowed to enter the State. Himachal Watcher had reported this mismanagement at the Mehatpur-Una border two weeks ago with a warning that the lockdown of 40 days could go in vain if the mass entry of people continued to be allowed without proper management and planning.

After A Strict Curfew/Lokcdown of Over A Month, This Shouldn't be Happening

It would be frustrating for the people of #Himachal and Punjab to face a curfew and lockdown for over a month for nothing. To get a more clear picture of what we are talking about, watch this video showing the scene at the Mehatpur-Una boarder and listen to what people standing in crowded queues said. #HimachalPradesh #COVID19Himachal #HPGovt #Una #Punjab CMO Himachal

Posted by Himachal Watcher on Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Now, a citizen of the State has also reported similar mismanagement at the barriers/checkpoints on boarders and wrote a letter to the Chief Minister with hand-drawn illustration.

A few days ago, along with thousands of others stranded in other States returning to Himachal Pradesh, With her brother, Ojasvi Jagitha had also lined up at the Parwanoo and Shoghi barriers/checkposts. Both of them were stranded in Panchkula for 45 days and followed the lockdown strictly by remaining at home.  They were confident that none of them had any chance of getting infected while they were inside their house. But, while going through the process of registering details and screening at barriers, Ojasvi noticed a loophole in the arrangement made which could be avoided easily. Now, after coming in contact with other people at the barrier, both are more scared of getting infected and feeling less safer than it did when locked up inside the house in Panchkula.   

Currently, Ojasvi and her brother are under home-quarantine with their family in Shimla as per the guidelines for the people returning from outside the State.

However, Ojasvi wrote a letter to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur to highlight this loophole, which could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread at such barriers on the State borders as well those within the boundary of the State.

She expressed her gratitude towards the State Government for allowing the stranded people to return to their homes. But she also expressed her concern.

“Yesterday, when I came back, I felt really threatened because of the process one has to go through while coming back. Of course, the process of check-in and medical check-up is very necessary for people returning. But there is something wrong with this process which can lead to a horrible situation,”

Ojasvi wrote in the letter.

She pointed out that although all persons returning have furnished all information while applying for E-Pass, the people had to manually register data at barriers again. There is no separation of people coming from red, orange or green zones. Social distancing is hardly being followed.

“While going through the whole procedure of checking, I feel scared. I am scared for myself and my family and my locality as I might have contracted the infection as I came in contact with hundreds of other people who had arrived from different zones at the barrier,”

she wrote.   

In her letter, with the help of hand-drawn illustration of Parwanoo and Shoghi barriers, she gave some suggestions to fix this loophole.

Stranded Himachalis returning to himachal pradesh

First, the people should be shortlisted for medical examination based on the zones they are coming from as this information is already taken while applying for the pass. This way, a person coming from a green and orange zone would not get mixed with those coming from red zones.

The process of clearance at the barriers could be made safer if the manual procedure of writing down details at these barriers again after filling the same details while applying for the pass can be avoided. Through a centralized system, the details of people having passes can be verified digitally. It will not only lessen the risk of contracting infection but also save a lot of time at barriers.

Then, there are the queues for thermal scanning where people come in contact with each other. One infected person could trigger a chain reaction due to these queues. She suggested conducting thermal screening and checking in vehicles so that long queues could be avoided.

COVID checking at shoghi barrier

While sanitization of vehicles, sanitization tunnels can be installed for the persons going for the medical check-up. She also suggested increasing the number of people being tested, especially those returning from the red zones.

She also pointed out that police personal and healthcare workers didn’t have PPEs, which makes them highly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

The Government appeared to have listened to one of this suggestion – testing all persons coming from red zones. Ojasvi hopes that the Chief Minister would also take note of other suggestions she gave in the letter.

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HP Bypolls 2021 Schedule Issued, Model Code of Conduct Comes Into Force in State

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hp bypolls 2021 schedule

Shimla-The Schedule for by-elections to Parliamentary Constituency and three Legislative Assembly Constituencies of Himachal Pradesh has been issued by the Indian Election Commission. With the announcement of this schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in eight districts of Himachal Pradesh.  As per the schedule, the entire process of elections would be completed by November 5, 2021.

The schedule would remain the same for bypolls to Parliamentary Constituency and three Legislative Constituencies.

These include Mandi Parliamentary Constituency, which got vacant after MP Ram Swaroop Sharma reportedly committed suicide and three Legislative Assembly Constituencies – Fatehpur (08), Jubbal Kotkhai (65), and Arki (50).

HP Bypolls 2021 Schedule

  1. Notification – October 1, 2021
  2. Last Date of Nominations -October 8, 2021
  3. Date for Scrutiny of Nominations – October 11, 2021 
  4. Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures -October 13, 2021
  5. Date of Poll -October 30, 2021
  6. Date of Counting – November 2, 2021 

The entire process for the elections would be completed by November 5, 2021.

The Commission said it has reviewed the situations related to the pandemic, flood, festivals, cold conditions in certain regions, feedback from concerned States/UT and taken into consideration all facts and circumstances before announcing the schedule for bypolls.

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Art & Culture

Kullu Dussehra 2021: All Religious Ceremonies to be Allowed, But No Commercial and Cultural Events

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Kullu dussehra 2021

Shimla-The International Kullu Dussehra would be organised from 15th October to 21st October, 2021, the Himachal Pradesh Government informed today after holding a meeting regarding the same.

The HP Government has decided that all deities would be invited for the Dussehra festival. Orgnaization of all religious ceremonies would be allowed traditionally, but the cultural and commercial activities would not be held.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presided over meeting of State Level Kullu Dussehra Committee. Directions were given to ensure proper security system, uninterrupted electricity supply and adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.

It was also decided in the meeting that Language, Art and Culture Department would provide an additional amount of Rs. 10 lakh to district administration Kullu for organising Kullu Dussehra festival.

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HP Cabinet Decisions Sept 24: Approval to Open Schools from 27 Sept,  Fill 8,000 Posts, Changes in Transfer Policy of JBT, C, and V Teachers

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HP Cabinet Decisions september 24, 2021

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in a meeting held today, has decided to open schools from September 27 for the students of 9th to 12th classes. The students of class 10th and 12th would attend schools on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, whereas students of class 9th and 11th would attend schools on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a week. Online classes and examinations will continue for classes upto 8th standard.  

Further, the HP Cabinet also decided to create and fill up 8000 posts of Multi-Task Workers in the educational institutions under the Higher and Elementary Departments as per the provisions of the Part-Time Multi-Task Workers Policy 2020. As per the policy, these Multi-Task Workers would be provided with a consolidated honorarium of Rs. 5625 per month for 10 months in one academic year.

The Cabinet decided to amend the transfer policy for inter-district transfer of JBT and C and V teachers in the State by reducing the existing tenure from 13 years to five years, including the contract period, for transfer to another district and also increase the quota from existing 3% to 5%.

It also decided to enhance the honorarium of IT teachers outsourced in various educational institutions in the State by Rs. 500 per month from April 1st, 2021.

It also gave its approval for renaming Forest Training Institute and Rangers College Sundernagar as Himachal Pradesh Forest Academy.

The HP Cabinet gave its consent to draft a proposal for the Customised Package of Incentives for Mega Industrial Projects in the State under Himachal Pradesh Industrial Investment Policy and Rules -2019.

It gave its approval for filling up 20 posts of Naib Tehsildar in the Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis.

It also gave its approval to the policy of replacement/maintenance of damaged crash barriers in the State.

It also decided to rename Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojna as Mukhyamantri Grihini Suvidha Yojna.

It also decided to rename Himachal Health Care Yojna- Himcare as Mukhyamantri Himachal Health Care Yojna-Himcare.

The Cabinet gave its nod to rename Sahara Yojna as Mukhyamantri Sahara Yojna.

The Cabinet gave its consent to create and fill up 10 posts of different categories in Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission, Hamirpur for its smooth functioning.

The Cabinet decided to upgrade Primary Health Centre Swarghat in Bilaspur district to Community Health Centre along with the creation of requisite posts.

It also decided to upgrade Primary Health Centre Gadsa in Banjar area of Kullu district to Community Health Centre along with creation of requisite posts to man this health institution. 

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