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HP Health Dept Issues Clarification Over Alleged Irregularities in ‘Ventilator Purchase’

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Himachal Pradesh Health Department Ventilator purchase

Shimla-The Health and Family Welfare Department, Himachal Pradesh Government, today issued a clarification regarding alleged irregularities in purchase of ventilators in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.   

It’s pertinent to mention here that the Health Department is already under the scanner of Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau for alleged scam in purchase of PPE kits which was reported on May 20 after an audio clip related to the same appeared. Following it, the Director, Health Services, AK Gupta was arrested and later suspended by the Government after a departmental inquiry.

Name of a leader of the ruling party was linked to the scam, following which Rajiv Bindal suddenly resigned. He said he resigned on “moral ground.”

Also Read: HP Health Dept Scam- There is More to It Than Just Alleged Bribery

This time, however, the Department was quick in releasing clarification.

After a news report appeared in the section of media based on a complaint of alleged irregularities in purchase of ventilators by the Health Department, a report with all documents was sought from the Director Health Services in this regard, said a spokesperson of the Department.

Also Read: Accused Ex-Director in Health Dept Scam Granted Bail

The Director, Health Services said that the Department intended to purchase the ventilators to strengthen all health centres of the Health Department.  For this, on March 28 2020, a committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Deputy Director Health Services to suggest technical standards for purchasing the ventilators and on the basis recommendation the purchase of ventilators were made.

The Spokesman said that the committee constituted at Directorate level under the chairmanship of Joint Director Health Services and the process for purchasing the ventilators was started and the rates and standards of ventilators available on GeM Portal were also studied.  The committee that on March 29, 2020, the rate of ventilator mentioned was Rs. 9.9 lakh.

Also Read: Official Suspended in ‘HP Secretariat Sanitizer Scam’

Meanwhile, the committee also studied the process of purchase of ventilators adopted by other states and it was observed that the Odisha Medical Supplies Corporation, which is an enterprise of the Odisha Government, had purchased the 20 joint ventilators on March 20, 2020, at the cost of Rs. 1.83 crore, which excluded GST.

“Keeping the value of time in mind and with the view to strengthen the Health Centres, the committee directed for purchase of 10 ventilators keeping, out of which seven ventilators were received on April 15, 2020, which were sent to Health institutions with immediately,”

 the spokesperson said.    

Director Health Services in his report informed that after that Haryana Medical Supplies Corporation purchased the above-mentioned ventilators on April 16, 2020, and the amount spent on each ventilator was Rs. 10.29 lakh, which is equal to the amount spent on the purchase of the entire lot by Directorate of Health Services.  Director Health Services in his report submitted that the cost of these ventilators on GeM Portal was Rs. 10.30 lakh till date.

The ventilators provided to Department include original instruments, medical air processor, basic accessories, adult/ paediatric, Neo-Natal implication accessories, optional accessories, ETCO 2 application accessories, SPO 2 application accessories, humidifier with a five-year warranty, the State Government has claimed.

The spokesperson said that Health Directorate has primarily found no irregularities in the purchase of ventilators. To make the process more transparent, a High-Level Investigation Committee would be constituted under the chairmanship Director Industries and Controller of stores. Director Medical Education, Principal IGMC and Deputy Controller Finance and Accounts, Directorate of Medical Education would be other members of the committee. The committee would submit its report within 10 days, the spokesperson informed.    

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Himachal Records a Sharp Spike in Daily New Covid Cases and Deaths, Two More Test Positive for Omicron

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh on Monday witnessed a major jump in the number of both daily Covid-19 positive people and Covid-19 related deaths. While the state recorded 2446 new cases, six people died due to Covid-19 related illnesses in the last 24 hours. The Kangra district reported four of these days. The Covid-19 death toll has jumped to 3880 in the state and the active cases to 12142.
Further, Solan (359) reported the highest number of cases, followed by Kangra (348), Mandi (312), and Sirmaur (310). The capital reported 289 new cases.

Himachal Pradesh has also reported two new cases of the Omicron variant. Both cases were reported from the Una district where two people had returned from foreign countries. Reportedly, one of them had returned from Dubai and the other from Frace. So far, the state has recorded three cases of the Omicron variant, according to the official statistics.

Daily Covid-19 Report Issued by HP NHM for January 17, 2022 (Till 7 pm)

Omicron cases in Himachal pradesh

The daily sampling, however, remains low despite a rise in positivity rate. On Monday, according to the statistics of the HP Health Department, 12,850 samples were taken. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been giving media statements directing the officials to increase testing, but the number remains below 15, 000.

According to the official statistics, last week (10 Jan – 16 Jan), Himachal Pradesh had reported 11280 new cases and the positivity rate rose to 14.1%.

Though the HP Government has imposed some Covid-19 restrictions, the entry of visitors to the state was yet to be restricted or regulated.

The surge is likely to continue till the third wave of the pandemic peaks in Himachal. Health experts and the state government had already warned about the advent of the third wave.

The government and experts had been urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and follow related protocols strictly to minimize the impact of the third wave. However, the compliance was reported to be quite low among all sections of the society and within the government itself.

The daily sampling, however, remains low despite rise in the positivity rate. On Monday, according to the statistics of the HP Health Department, 12,850 samples were taken. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been directing the officials to increase testing, but the number still remains below 15, 000.

According to the official statistics, last week (10 Jan – 16 Jan), Himachal Pradesh had reported 11280 new cases and the positivity rate had risen to 14.1%.

Though the HP Government has imposed some Covid-19 restrictions, the entry of visitors to the state was yet to be restricted or regulated.

The surge is likely to continue till the third wave of the pandemic peaks in Himachal. Health experts and the state government had already warned about the advent of third wave.

The government and experts had been urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and follow related protocols strictly to minimize the impact of the third wave. However, the compliance was reported to be quite low among all sections of the society and within the government itself.

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HP Cabinet Decisions Jan 14, 2022: No New Covid Restrictions, Nod to Tax Waiver for Transporters & Other Decisions

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HP Cabinet Decisions January 14, 2022

Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on January 14, 2022. It was expected that the state government could take a decision on imposing more Covid-19 restriction considering the sudden surge in daily new cases, however no such decision was taken. 

The Cabinet took various decisions including a nod to dispense with the process of 15 marks evaluation and enhancement of weightage of written test from 85 to 100 marks for direct recruitment to Class-III posts.

Tax Waivers for Transporters

The Cabinet gave its ex post facto approval for 100 percent waiver/ exemption of Token Tax, Special Road Tax and Passenger Tax of various categories of vehicles to provide relief to the transporters keeping in view the effect due to corona pandemic.

HP Cabinet decided to waive of remaining 50 percent Token Tax on Stage Carriage, Taxi, Maxi, Auto and Contract Carriage buses, Institutional Buses and 100 percent Token Tax on Contract Carriage Buses and Special Road Tax on Stage Carriage with effect from 1st August 2020 to 30th June 2021. I

The Cabinet also decided to waive off 100 percent Token Tax on Stage Carriage, Contract Carriage and Institutional Buses and Special Road Tax of Stage Carriage with effect from 1st July 2021 to 30th November 2021.

It also decided to waive off 100 passenger tax on contract carriage and institutional buses with effect from 1st April 2020 to 30th November 2021.

The HP Cabinet gave its approval for restructuring of State Taxes and Excise Department. Creation and filling up of posts would be carried out by the Department in a phased manner in consultation with the Finance Department and sync with the restructuring proposal.

The Cabinet gave its approval to fill up 108 posts of different categories in the Revenue Department on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to fill up 42 posts of Silk Inspectors in the Industries Department on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to fill up 13 posts of different categories in the Printing and Stationery Department.

It decided to fill up three posts of Statistical Assistant in Revenue Department on contract basis.

Relief to Flood Affected Farmers of Lahaul-Spiti

The Cabinet gave its nod to provide relief to flood-affected farmers of Lahaul-Spiti district for current agriculture and horticulture losses caused due to extensive rains on 27th to 30th July last year. The farmers would be provided Rs.2000 per bigha for losses between 25 to 50 percent, Rs. 2500 per bigha for losses between 50 to 75 percent and Rs. 3000 per bigha for losses to agricultural and horticultural crops above 75 percent. Rs. 3000 per bigha would also be provided to farmers for losses to their lands caused due to landslides/flash floods/avalanches etc. and Rs. 1000 per bigha would be provided for the desilting of agricultural and horticultural lands. 

It also gave planning permission for the construction of the PHC building between Lions Club and Housing Block No. 46 in Sector 6 New Shimla with relaxation beyond permissible norms in the public interest.

HP Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy-2021

HP Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy-2021 for clean and green energy development through expeditious of full energy potential especially hydro and solar. The Government aims to add 10000 MW of green energy through hydro, solar and other green energy sources by 2030 and the development of green energy sources

It also aimed at developing a transmission Master Plan to facilitate planning and timely execution of hydro and solar projects. It also lays stress on renewal energy sources viz. solar, wind, biomass and other non-conventional energy sources.

HP Swarnim Jayanti Sports Policy 2021

The Cabinet gave its approval to the Himachal Pradesh Swarnim Jayanti Sports Policy 2021 to develop and maintain sports infrastructure, encourage public-private participation in creating sports infrastructure, coordinate with educational institutions for the promotion of sports and to encourage, train and support sportspersons for participation and excellence in national and international championships with high standards of ethics. 

 

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Covid Restrictions Increase as Himachal Reports a Big Spike With 1200 New Cases in 24 Hours

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covid restrictions in himachal pradesh 2022

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh is witnessing a sudden spike in the number of daily Covid-19 positive cases as warned by the health experts and the government. In a span of eight days, the rate of new cases has jumped to more than double.

On Monday, of the total 9942 samples tested for Covid-19, 1200 were found to be positive with two Covid-19 deaths.  This number was below 500 on Sunday.

The surge has come ahead of the `warning of the third wave which is expected to peak by the March-end.

The state government has begun to increase restrictions as a precautionary measure. But the most crucial measure – restrictions on visitors from outside the state- is yet to be attended. Currently, Hill state is reporting a huge footfall of tourists due to snowfall. All tourist destinations are crowded with tourists as it’s the peak season. The imposition of restrictions on visitors would affect the tourism industry.

Also Read: HP Govt Closes Educational Institutes in State in Wake of Surge in Daily Covid-19 Cases

The HP Government has already imposed a night curfew, closed all educational institutes, banned all social and religious gatherings and imposed conditions on the number of people for those which have been allowed, shifted to a 5-day week for the government offices with only 50% attendance. Further, timings of the opening of the markets/shops have also been modified. However, these restrictions wouldn’t apply to chemists/medical stores. These restrictions would remain in force till January 26, 2022. 

Also Read: HP Govt Offices to Operate 5-Days a Week with 50% Attendance, Ban on Social and Religious Gatherings

In the Shimla district, the shops/markets would be allowed to open between 10 am to 7 pm.  However, motor mechanics are allowed to remain open till 11 pm. Similarly, restaurants can remain open till 10 pm, and those located along the National Highways till 11 pm.

In the Una district, all shops/markets except some would be allowed to open only till 6:30 pm and will remain closed on Saturday.

The district administration of Hamirpur has decided this timing to be between 6 am to 6 pm. The markets would remain closed on Saturday and Sunday except for those selling essentials.

For the Kullu district, shops/markets would remain open till 6: 30 pm and 6 pm in Solan. Similarly, administrations of respective districts have the liberty to create their roaster for these timings.

The return of these restrictions to the state and the warning of more daily cases during the next couple of months is causing a panic in the public, worsened by speculations of a possible lockdown in stock.

 

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