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Bus Services in Himachal Resumed, Read All Directions for Passengers, Staff, Management

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Himachal Pradesh bus Service from june 1

Shimla– The Department of Transport, Himachal Pradesh, has issued notification confirming nod to restoring public transport within the State from June 1, 2020. The transport services would be allowed only between 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The buses are allowed to ply with a maximum of 60 per cent seating capacity to maintain social distancing. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police have been directed to provide adequate police force for crowd management

General directions have been issued for the staff and passengers.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: –

  1. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police shall provide adequate police force for crowd management and law & order maintenance at all bus stands.
  2. All Stage Carriage buses (except AC buses) shall operate on their respective routes.
  3. To maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding in above-said buses, the occupancy shall be maintained at no more than 60%.
  4. All passengers shall wear masks from the time of boarding till alighting from the bus.
  5. Driver, conductor and passengers should undergo self-monitoring for flu-like symptoms and in case any symptom appears, then she/ he shall report the same to the nearest health institutions.
  6. The buses shall be sanitized completely in the late evening hours or early morning before plying on their routes. The critical areas/touch points in the bus must be sanitized, periodically during the day.
  7. All safety protocols of the Health Department shall be followed by driver, conductor and passengers.
  8. No standing passengers shall be allowed in the buses during the journey.
  9. No e-pass shall be required for inter and intra district movement. However, for inter-state journey passengers must have e-pass issued by the District Magistrate.
  10. The Gram Panchayat/Municipal Committee shall render all possible assistance to the private operators and HRTC for boarding and lodging arrangement as and when demanded.

PROTOCOL FOR BUS STAND, BUSES AND STAFF: –

(a) At Bus Stand

  1. The entry/exit points shall be managed jointly by the team of District Administration, Health and Police department to ensure health check-up, screening and maintenance of Law & Order.
  1. Aarogya Setu App status would be checked preferably (for compatible device only) to ensure that passenger is free of COVID-19 symptoms. Passenger with “Red” status in AarogyaSetu App would not be permitted to travel.
  2. Only passenger(s) shall be allowed to enter the bus stand through single-entry point.
  3. Every toilet shall be sanitized and must have soap dispenser.
  4. HRTC shall ensure availability of masks, hand sanitizers at bus stands and their price shall  all be regulated the Regional Manager
  1. Bus Stand Management and Development Authority shall ensure adequate signages to guide the passengers.
  2. Public announcement system at bus shall regularly disseminate information about the precautions to be followed during travel.
  3. Physical distance of at least one meter shall be ensured while boarding and de-boarding.
  4. Proper queue system should be followed during boarding and at the ticket counter.
  5. Anyone moving inside the bus stand shall mandatorily wear the face cover.
  6. Adequate bins shall be placed for disposal of used material like etc. All such waste to be handled and disposed of as per the prescribed procedures.
  7. HRTC shall ensure that person sitting at cash counters be provided with adequate safety protective gears like gloves, masks, face cover, face shields, hand sanitizers etc.

 

(b). Inside the bus (passenger protocol)

  1. All passengers shall wear mask/face cover throughout the journey and ensure that co-passenger shall also wear masks.
  2. Passengers must use hand sanitizers regularly during their journey for their safety.
  3. It shall be ensured that only 60% of seats are occupied and seats marked as “Not to be used” are left vacant.
  4. Avoid unnecessary touching of common contact points.
  5. Avoid travelling in case of any illness. In case of emergency and illness, inform to the conductor for maintaining physical distancing during the journey.
  6. In case of any symptoms of illness of co-passenger, the information shall be provided to crew members of the bus.

 

(c). Bus protocol

  1. Boarding and de-boarding in the bus shall be from the rear and front door respectively. 
  2. A sticker shall be pasted on seats marked as “Not to be used”. 
  3. Every alternate seat shall be left unoccupied i.e. in case of three seats, middle seats, shall be left unoccupied and in case of two seats, only window seat shall be occupied. 
  4. While issuing the tickets, the conductor shall avoid physical contact with the passengers and maintain proper physical distance.
  5. Passenger must assist the driver/conductor to maintain 60% occupancy. 
  6. Proper ventilation must be maintained during the journey by opening the window glasses. 
  7. Buses shall be stopped for boarding and de-boarding on the designated bus stands/stops only. 
  8. Stage Carriage buses can pass through containment zones, however, boarding and de-boarding of passenger(s) shall be strictly prohibited within containment zones.
  9. Regional Manager, HRTC shall ensure that the proper hygiene and cleanliness is maintained at authorized Dhabas for passenger’s safety, which are to be notified by the District Magistrate.

(d) Conductor

  1. He shall wear mask/face cover, gloves and face shield throughout the journey.
  2. While issuing tickets, he/she shall ensure physical distancing from the passengers.
  3. He shall not allow passenger(s) to be seated on the seat marked as “Not to be used”. 
  4. He shall educate passenger(s) about the protocol to be followed during the journey and ensure that all safety precautions are adhered to by the all concerned. 
  5. He shall ensure proper ventilation in the bus.

(e) Driver

  1. HRTC/Private operators shall ensure proper segregation of a separate cabin for the driver.  He shall ensure minimum contact with the passengers and the public.
  2. He shall use protective gears like masks/face cover hand sanitizers etc.

 

(f) Way Side Amenities protocol

1, Proper sanitization and cleanliness must be ensured in the dining area, kitchen and toilets at Dhabas/restaurants.

2. Every Dhaba/restaurant must have sanitised for public use.

3. Soap dispenser must be available in the toilet and each washbasin.

4.Seating arrangement in the dining area must be such that proper physical distancing be maintained.

Any violation of these orders will be subject to prosecution under relevant provisions of the National Disaster Management Act 2005, the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and such other laws as may apply.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: How Orchardists Can Save Apple Crops from Scab, Premature and Alternaria Leaf Fall

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Himachal Pradesh saving apple from scab

Due to the arrival of monsoon, there is an excess of moisture in the air due to which an outbreak of diseases in plants is witnessed. The problem of scab in apple, which was considered to be almost eliminated, was also seen in some areas of Himachal Pradesh last year. This year, incidents of scab disease have been reported from some areas of Kullu, Mandi and Shimla. Therefore, it is necessary to take measures to prevent the progression of the disease. Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has issued an advisory to farmers for the effective management of apple scab, premature leaf fall and Alternaria leaf fall. The following advisory must be followed by the orchardists to effectively manage the diseases. 

For mid-hills

The sprays of propineb @ 0.3% (600gm / 200L water) or dodine @ 0.075% (150gm / 200L water) or metiram 55% + pyraclostrobin 5% WG @ 0.150% (300gm / 200L water) or tebuconazole 8% + captan 32% SC @ 0.25% (500ml / 200L water) are recommended for the management of apple scab.

Metiram 55% + pyraclostrobin 5% WG @ 0.150% (300gm / 200L water) or fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin 500 SC @ 0.01% (20ml / 200L water) are recommended for the management of premature leaf fall and Alternaria leaf spot in apple.

For low hills

The sprays of propineb @ 0.3% (600gm / 200L water) is recommended for the management of apple scab, while tebuconazole 50% + trifloxystrobin 25% WG @ 0.04% (80gm / 200L water) is recommended for the management of premature leaf fall. 20-25 days before harvest, the sprays of metiram 55% + pyraclostrobin 5% WG @ 0.1% (200gm / 200 L water) is recommended for the management of apple scab and Alternaria leaf spot.

 

Apple scab Chemicals sprays

The university has advised the farmers to strictly follow the spray schedule recommended by the university and the horticulture department and take all safety precautions while undertaking spray.

Dr Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor of the University said that the university is alert about the whole situation and it has been ensured that the scientists working in the University departments, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Regional Research Stations located in the areas from where such incidents have been reported are providing scientific inputs to control the problem. The scientists are also visiting the orchards. He added that the university is very cautious towards this situation so that the farmers do not suffer losses.

What is Apple Scab

Apple scab is caused by the fungus, Venturia inaequalis. The fungus overwinters mainly in the infected fallen leaves on the orchard floor through the formation of pseudothecia, which produce ascospores in the spring. After deposition on leaf or fruit surface, the ascospores germinate in a film of moisture. 

The minimum wet period needed for infection is 9 hrs at 17oC. Once the infection has occurred, the fungus produces conidiophores and conidia. Sporulating lesions become visible approximately 9-17 days after infection depending upon the temperature, leaf wetness and relative humidity. The minimum relative humidity needed for sporulation to occur is between 60-70%. Upon sporulation, conidia are dispersed to leaf and fruit tissue by wind and splashing rain. 

Scab symptoms are observed on leaves, petioles, fruits and twigs. The symptoms appear in the spring as small dull olive-green patches on the young emerging leaves and sometimes only on the underside. As the disease progresses, darker spots develop on both surfaces of the leaves. Young lesions are velvety, brown to olive green or mousy black having feathery and indistinct margins.

Later, these lesions coalesce and the tissues surrounding them thicken and the leaf surface is deformed, curled and distorted. Sometimes, the entire leaf surface gets covered with scab lesions. Such infected leaves turn yellow and may fall prematurely. Small superficial lesions or large patches develop on the fruit surface usually at the calyx end. The severe early infection results in the formation of misshapen fruits and serious cracking while shrivelling often occurs. The lesions on the twig are small, 3–5 mm long, slightly raised and reddish-brown spots which later develop as blisters and cause bursting of bark. 

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Himachal Not Ready, Tourism Industry Rejects Govt Notification, Shuts Hotels

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Himachal pradesh hoteliers not opening hotels 2

Kullu-Tourism industry leaders and village heads in the state have rejected the Himachal Pradesh government’s guidelines to reopen tourism in the state.

“The government is washing its hands off and wants to take no responsibility for the safety and hygiene of the tourism sector”

said Anup Thakur, president of the Manali Hoteliers Association.
Hotels in Kullu, Manali and Shimla aligned with two Hoteliers Associations have decided to stay closed until September. They have requested the state government to train tourism industry staff and prepare medical facilities in the state before allowing tourists in.
On July 4, the HP State government had released a list of standard operating procedures, (SOP) with safety and hygiene guidelines.

“The hotel industry was not involved in the making of these SOP’s, unfortunately,” said Sanjay Sood, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Shimla, “our industry has taken so many losses and peak tourist season has ended, I don’t understand why the government is in a hurry to open the state for tourism, risking the lives of all citizens,”

he added.
With no Hindi translation available from the state government, it is difficult to believe that the 29-page long English document posted on the tourism department’s website has even been read by all hotel, homestay, bed and breakfast and small tourism business owners. In a state where the majority of the population prefers to speak and read in Hindi, it is both arrogant and illogical for the State government to make and post guidelines only in the English language.

Most of the hotels in the state are owned by small business owners and located in rural areas.

 “We mostly have small hotels with 5 to 50 rooms in the state,”

says Sanjay Sood.
These small hotels and all other tourism related small businesses do not have the resources or the training to follow the complicated guidelines and procedures that the state government has laid out.

“In Kullu district, 90 percent of the hotels and homestays are in village panchayat areas,”

added Anup Thakur.
People in villages are worried about being infected by the coronavirus and are already watchful of outsiders and vehicles from outside the state. Village pradhans have consistently refused to allow outsiders keeping in mind that testing for COVID-19 and health facilities in rural areas are zero to almost nil.

“Almost all the panchayats in Manali area (Palchan, Vashisth, Jagatsukh, Shanag, Burwa, Prini, Gojra) have submitted to me in writing that they are not ready to reopen for tourism, this is a warning for me,”

said Anup Thakur.
Himachal Watcher has a copy of the letters and the panchayats have refused to allow tourists in hotels that fall in their jurisdiction.
For residents coming back to Himachal Pradesh, there is a 14-day mandatory institutional or home quarantine, for tourists entering the state, there is no quarantine rule, they are allowed everywhere and can endanger residents if they are infected by the coronavirus. The coronavirus has a 5 to 14 days incubation period during which people may test negative and might show no symptoms but are still carriers and can infect healthy people.
Until now Himachal Pradesh has escaped the worst of coronavirus disease, with 1083 cases officially as of 8 July and 9 deaths.
Long queues were seen at Shoghi barrier before Shimla and many vehicles were turned back as they had no COVID negative test reports. In Kullu district, police sent back 70 tourists without COVID-negative test reports in the required format, (just slips of paper from hospitals saying they were COVID negative), seven tourists were allowed as police confirmed they had both a 5-day booking and a negative COVID test report from the last 72 hours. One group who lied to the police to enter Himachal, saying they had a wedding and had no valid hotel booking were arrested and charged under relevant sections of the law.
News reports of fake COVID test reports being given for a price in Uttar Pradesh have also alarmed locals in Himachal. The timing of this decision is also being questioned.

“With the speed that cases are increasing now, 25000 new cases per day, this decision is arbitrary and we need better tracking, tracing and treating of cases, not allowing 1000’s of people daily,”

said Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla. A new study by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers should worry all Indians, it predicts that India could see 2.87 lakh cases daily by Feb 2021. The same study also calculates that coronavirus cases are actually 12 times higher, with 50 percent more deaths.

“We want to promote healthy and safe tourism and this is not the way, we also want tourists to have a good experience when they are in Himachal,”

says Anup Thakur. Whether this decision of the government helps livelihoods in Himachal or pushes residents into a corner with no way out is something only time will tell.

 

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HP Govt Announces ‘Loan Scheme’ for Hospitality Sector, Know Who is Eligible, How to Apply

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HP Govt Scheme Interest Subvention on Working Capital Loan

Shimla-HP Government has announced a scheme for Interest Subvention on Working Capital Loan for Hospitality Sector in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, informed the Director of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yunus Khan on July 7, 2020. It implies that the government would be paying a part of the interest on the loan or offering subsidy on the interest. 

Yunus said that the Government has notified the scheme for Tourism sector for providing loan to working capital for immediate needs. The rate of interest fixed is a maximum of 11 percent per annum on a monthly compounded basis. 

The interested registered tourism units can avail the benefit of the scheme till March 21, 2021, from the date of notification of this scheme.

The loan would have to be repaid in four years including initially two years of interest subvention and also includes the initial one year of the moratorium. In the first two years of the repayment of the loan, 50 percent of the interest amount will be reimbursed by the State Government at the end of these respective years, whereas the remaining two years interest will be paid by the borrower himself.

How to Apply

Yunus further said that the interested tourism unit operators may apply for working capital loan with District Tourism Development Officer in the State. The concerned Deputy Director/DTDO/ATDO would sponsor the case to the Bank for a loan. Under this scheme, they may avail the facility of loan from State Cooperative Banks viz: HP State Cooperative Bank, Kangra Central Cooperative Bank and Jogindra Central Cooperative Bank and Commercial Banks.

Eligibility

First criteria is that a unit must be registered with the Government. Further, the criteria of eligibility would be based on an tourism unit’s GST payment history. However, small registered units who are not covered under GST would be eligible under the said scheme at Rs. 1.5 lakhs per room subject to a loan of a maximum of Rs. 15 lakhs.

If the registered unit has paid average GST of upto rupees one crore per year, then he would be entitled to a working capital loan of Rs. 50 lakhs and for GST payment of above rupees one crore and upto rupees three crores, the unit can avail loan of Rs 75 lakhs. Units with GST payment of above Rs. three crores, can avail loan of Rs. 100 lakhs.

 

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