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No Permit Required for Inter-District Movement, Nod to Open Public Transport, Barber Shops/Saloons, Run Cabs, Auto Rickshaws

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HP Cabinet Meeting May 23, 2020

Shimla– The State Cabinet meeting was held on May 23, 2020, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. Among various decisions, the Cabinet has decided that the private schools in Himachal Pradesh would be allowed to charge only tuition fee. The school won’t be allowed to make cuts in the salary of teachers or fire them during the period of lockdown. This decision was taken in view of the lockdown due to outbreak of Novel Corona Virus in the country, as well as, in the State.   

Further, decision has been taken to start public transport, including both private and government buses, from June 1st in all parts of Himachal Pradesh. While buses would ply from one district to another, inter-state transport would remain suspended. Buses would carry only 60 percent of their passanger capacities to ensure social distancing. The buses would be allowed to pass through containment zones but no passanger would be allowed to enter or exit the bus in these areas. No hike would be made in bus fares, the Cabinet decided. Cab services and auto-rickshaws would also be allowed to operate Monday onwards. 

The decision was also taken  to allow opening of the barber shops/saloons Monday onwards.  The Government informed that guidelines would be issued regarding the same soon. Also, now private vehicles would not require curfew passes to move within districts. Street vendors/Rehadi/phadi would also be allowed to operate Monday onwards. 

However, the schools and educational institutes will remain closed for now.  

The Cabinet also decided to establish three Fast Track Special Courts at Shimla, Rampur for Kinnaur district and at Nahan, district Sirmaur to deal with the rape/POCSO cases for a period of one year.

The Cabinet also authorized all the District Magistrates of the State under the proviso of Sub-Section (4) of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to extend the order issued by them under Section 144(1) of the Code upto 30th June, 2020. 

It was decided to implement the recommendations of 15th Central Finance Commission in the State.  Under  this Commission, out of the total grants received from it, 70 percent would be provided to Gram Panchayats, 15 percent to Panchayat Samitis and 15 percent would be allocated to Zila Parishads for undertaking various developmental works.

The Cabinet decided to levy transfer fee at the time of issue of permits under L-19 A licenses from local distilaries (D-2) located within the State   for procurement of all kinds of spirits i.e. Ethyl Alcohol, ethanol, rectified spirits, ENA and absolute alcohol used in  manufacture of sanitizers at the rate of Rs. 4.50 per bulk litre. This would give an additional revenue of about Rs. five crore to the State exchequer. 

It also gave its consent to levy license fee for Bar licenses L-3,L-4, L-5, L-4 and L-5 and L-4A and L-5A and Minimum Guarantee Quota on pro-rata basis for the year 2020-21.

It gave its nod to start a scheme for ‘Rehabilitation of Stray Cattle’ in Himachal Pradesh gau sadans in the State.  In the initial phase, it was decided to provide Rs. 500 per cow for cows in gausadans/gaushalas and cow sanctuaries.

The Government believes that it would help solve the problems of stray cattle, encourage individuals and organizations to adopt stray cattle, provide assistance for running of cow sanctuaries.  The Animal Husbandry Department was advised to complete tagging under Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) Scheme as per Government of India’s guidelines at the earliest.

The Cabinet gave its nod to complete shifting of works transactions of Jal Shakti Department and Public Works Department to Treasury Mode by abolishing the LOC system from 1st July 2020.

It said this step was taken to achieve transparency, accuracy and efficiency in the payment and accounting process for works transactions and to eliminate delays in pairing of payment and receipt instruments.

The Cabinet gave its consent to extend the period of four Special Land Acquisition Units (SLAUs) for a further period of one year with effect from 1.3.2020 to 28.2.2021 alongwith permission to continue with staff already engaged. These include SLAUs, Bilaspur, Pandoh-I, Pandoh-II and Shahpur for the acquisition of land for construction of four laning projects of Kiratpur-Bilaspur-Nerchowk-Pandoh, Pandoh-Takoli, Takoli-Kullu-Manali and Pathankot-Chakki-Mandi respectively.

It also gave its approval for an extension of Special Land Acquisition Unit (SLAU), Nalagarh for further one year from 1.1.2020 to 31.12.2020 for acquiring land for four laning of NH-21A Baddi-Nalagarh-Swarghat.

The Cabinet decided to transfer land in favour of Ministry of Defence, Government of India for the establishment of ECHS Polyclinic and ESM, CSD Canteen at Dehra Gopipur in district Kangra free of cost to facilitate the ex-servicemen and army personnel of the State.

The Cabinet decided to amend the ‘Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojna-2019. Now units sanctioned under this scheme would come into commercial production within one year from the date of disbursement of the first instalment of loan by the bank under the Scheme for both manufacturing and service enterprises. Besides, in case such units have been set up by widows who are bonafide Himachali and having age upto 45 years, the amount of eligible subsidy has been enhanced from 30 percent to 35 percent.

It gave its nod to provide NOC in favour of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Degree College and Hospital, Ner Chowk district Mandi for increasing B.Sc. nursing seats from existing 40 to 60 seats.

The Cabinet gave its approval to create and fill up one post of Assistant Professor in Radiology and Gastroenterology in IGMC Shimla and one post each of Assistant Professor Anatomy and Pediatrics Department in Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda.

The Cabinet decided to upgrade Veterinary Hospital at Nagrota Bagwan in Kangra district to Zonal Veterinary Hospital alongwith creation and filling up of seven posts of different categories to man this hospital.

 

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Kinnaur Landslide: 14 Bodies Recovered in 30 Hours, Several Still Missing

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Kinnaur landslide rescue operation photos

Kinnaur: Landslide in Kinnaur district is unfolding as one of the biggest catastrophe in Himachal Pradesh as the of fatality count continues to rise. After 30 hours of the rescue operation, which was hampered multiple times due to shooting stones at the site, 14 dead bodies had been recovered till the suspension of the operation on Thursday evening. While 10 bodies were recovered on Wednesday, four more were exhumed from the rubble on Thursday.

As many as 15 persons were rescued and taken to Bhavanagar CHC for treatment.

The wreckage of the HP Road Transport Corporation bus was found scattered about 500 meters below the National Highway-5 in Nigulsari – the site of the massive landslide. The condition of the wreckage suggested there was little hope of survival of any passenger. The distraught relatives of the missing persons remained at the site, grieving with diminishing hope to see their family members alive as the rescue operation for today was suspended.

Kinnaur HRTC Bus wreckage

HRTC Bus Wreckage

The state of exhumed bodies added to the horror of the families, as well as, the rescuers. Some of the bodies were in such a state that their identification was next to impossible. While some bodies had their limbs cut off, one of them was found without the head.

As the rescue operation would be entering its third day on Friday, the death toll is likely to rise as the driver of the bus, who had survived the accident and was seriously injured, had estimated that 25-30 passengers were onboard when the landslide pushed it down the NH.

Further, there is still no sign of one vehicle (Bolero SUV), informed Director, State Disaster Management, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta. The exact number of people feared to be buried under the rubble was yet to be ascertained. According to the district administration, based on calls received from families, the number of missing people could be anywhere between 30-50.

Kinnaur rescue operation resumes

Meanwhile, some family members of the missing persons complained that while the rescue operation was initiated immediately from the Negulsari side, JCB machines took over five hours to reach the spot from the Chauri side. They complained that such a big delay was crucial and could have saved more lives.

It’s pertinent to mention that the HRTC bus had remained untraceable on Wednesday and the wreckage was found on the second day of the rescue operation. However, most passengers were yet to be traced.  

According to the Deputy Commandant, ITBP, Dharmender Thakur, shooting stones and sliding rubble posed a huge challenge for the rescue teams, which comprised of hundreds of personnel of NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, local police, and CISF. Undertaking this operation on a steep slope further created difficult circumstances for the teams. The lives of the rescuers were also at risk as the site remained vulnerable to reactivation of landslide.

This landslide in the Kinnaur district has become a matter of debate for geologists, environmentalists, seismologists and climatologists. Unscientific cutting of fragile mountains and blasting for the widening of roads and construction of tunnels for hydropower projects, changing patterns of rains, and seismic activity are being referred to be the reasons behind the increased incidents of landslides, especially in Kinnaur district.

At the same time, the inability of the state government to consider technical suggestions given by geological experts from time to time for mitigation of such hazards is also finding mention in the critical comments given by experts. The lackadaisical attitude of the government in the adoption of technologies, such as the early warning system developed by the IIT Mandi for mountainous regions vulnerable to landslides, is also attracting criticism.

It’s pertinent to mention that after the Kotrupi disaster – a massive landslide that had buried two buses and claimed 48 lives in August 2017-experts from IIT Mandi had carried out surveys and studies and provided several suggestions for minimizing damages, which fell into deaf ears.  

The deceased were identified as:

  1. Rohit Kumar
  2. Vanshuka
  3. Meera Devi
  4. Nitisha
  5. Prem Kumar
  6. Gyan Dassi
  7. Devi Chand
  8. Kumari Radhika
  9. Bhupender
  10. Kamlesh Kumar
  11. Lakshman Thapa
  12. Vijay Kumar

Two others were yet to be identified. The state government has announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 5o thousand to the injured. HRTC has also announced Rs. 1 lakh ex-gratia to the passengers of the bus killed in the mishap. 

Further, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and several other political leader visited the spot and met the relatives of victims on Thursday. 

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Kinnaur Tragedy: HRTC Bus Wreckage Found, Death Toll Rises to 13 and Likely Rise

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Kinnaur HRTC Bus wreckage

Kinnaur-The rescue operation at the site of the landslide in Nigulsari, Nichar Tehsil of the Kinnaur district, was resumed on Thursday morning. The wreckage of the ill-fated bus of the HP Road Transport Corporation was found 500 meters below the road and about 200 meters above the Sutlej River. The pictures showed that the bus was completely crushed and torn to pieces. 

So far, 13 dead bodies had been recovered and 14 injured including the driver and the conductor of the HRTC bus, which was on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar, were rescued and taken to hospital. The death toll is likely to rise as the passengers were yet to be traced. According to the driver, there were 25-30 passengers in the bus when it was hit by the landslide. A Bolero SUV alongwith passengers was also missing and was yet to be traced.  

Kinnaur rescue operation resumes

The mishap occurred at about 12:30 pm on Wednesday. The rescue operation was suspended at 9 pm due to dark conditions and shooting stones, which made the rescue operation difficult.

Till the suspension of the operation, the rescue teams comprising of NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, Central Industrial Security Force, and local police had traced three cars and a tipper.  

The rescue teams were searching from two directions and were using drones too.   

Kinnaur tragedy drone picture

The landslide had hit about 200 meters patch of the National Highway-5 – about 10 kilometres away from Bhavanagar.

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Kinnaur Tragedy: 10 Bodies Recovered, Still No Trace of HRTC Bus, 50-60 Persons Feared to be Missing

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Kinnaur tragedy drone picture

Kinnaur: The rescue operation at the site of the landslide in Nigulsari, Nichar Tehsil of the Kinnaur district, was suspended at 9 pm on Wednesday due to dark conditions and shooting stones, which made the rescue operation difficult. The rescue operation would be resumed on Thursday morning, according to the information provided by the district administration.

So far, 10 dead bodies, including those of five women and a child, had been recovered and 13 injured were rescued and taken to CHC Bhavnagar. Though the exact number was not known, 50-60 persons were feared to be buried and were yet to be traced.  

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 7

Source: ITBP

The rescue teams comprising of state NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, Central Industrial Security Force, and local police had been carrying out the rescue operation aggressively.

The HRTC bus carrying 25-30 passengers and a Bolero SUV were still untraceable. As earth removers removed the rubble, two cars and a truck were traced, but the bus and the SUV weren’t found beneath the rubble. It’s being suspected that rubble and boulders might have pushed the bus and the SUV down the gorge and into the Sutlej River.

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 5

Source: ITBP

The HRTC bus and a utility vehicle (a Bolero) and their passengers have not been found under the debris. They are still untraceable. Both vehicles may have rolled down with the debris,” informed Director, State Disaster Management Force, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta.

The rescue teams were searching from two directions and were using drone too, informed Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain Sadiq.    

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures

Source: ITBP

The landslide had hit about 200 meters patch of the National Highway-5 – about 10 kilometers away from Bhavanagar. The ill-fated bus was reportedly on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar in Uttarakhand via Shimla.

Kinnaur tragedy drone picture

Source: ITBP

The survivors included the drivers of the bus, Mahender Pal, who had first informed his higher officials about the landslide, and the conductor, Gulab Singh.

Meanwhile, ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh was announced for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50 thousand for the injured.

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 3

Source: ITBP

The landslide has again stirred a debate over ecological damages to the fragile Himalayan region due to rampant blasting and tunneling for hydropower projects and cutting of hills for the widening of roads in an unscientific manner. As compared to the previous year, landslides and cloudbursts doubled in 2o21.

Earlier, on July 25, a landslide had claimed nine lives after boulders rolling down a hill hit a tourist vehicle on Sangla-Chitkul NH in the Batseri region in Kinnaur district. 

According to the statement given in the Legislative Assembly, the ongoing monsoon session has claimed 212 lives and caused damages worth over Rs. 500 crores. The death tally would rise as the rescue operation would be resumed tomorrow.

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 2

Source: ITBP

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 6 Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 4

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