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Himachal: Temples, Hotels, Private Bus Services to Remain Closed for Now

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Himachal Pradesh Temples Opening Postponed

Shimla-Temples and religious places in Himachal Pradesh will remain closed for now as the State Government and the District Administrations are yet to issue any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Though the centre has issued SOPs, Himachal has entrusted Deputy Commissioners to take a decision regarding re-opening of temples. Most of the temples in the State are under the Deputy Commissioners of the districts.

Himachal Pradesh – “Devbhoomi”- has a plethora of temples and places of religious importance like Tibetan Monastery and the abode of Tibetian spiritual leader Dalai Lama. The income of these temples plays a considerable role in the economy of the State. There are towns and regions which financially depend on visitors/pilgrims. A large number of visitors from outside the State, especially from Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab and Delhi, West Bengal visit these temples or arrive for pilgrimage.

But from March 17 – the day temples were shut down and tourists were prohibited to enter the State-there is no income. Salaries of priests and others employed at these temples are paid from their income.   

Also, the Language, Art and Culture Department of Himachal Pradesh Government is supposed to issue guidelines in this regard.

So far, DCs have not issued any notification in this regard and are of the view that the staff at temples, shopkeepers around these temples and other traders need to be trained and sensitized to ensure safety.

Though the State had announced re-opening temples and hotels and restaurants from June 8 for only residents of Himachal Pradesh, it would require a great amount of effort from the district administration to filter visitors and ensuring that no person from outside the State is lining up at temples. The State borders are open for movement of traffic and a large number of people have already returned and would continue to return to their native places in the State for a while.

With the return of these people, the State has witnessed a big spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. The state has reported over 410 cases so far. Of this total, over 350 cases have been reported May 3, 2020, onwards – the day boarders of the State were opened for returnees. The cases continue to rise with several cases being reported every day.

Therefore, the State Government need to be very careful while opening temples. Lack of social distancing, screening, sanitizations of temples, proper preventive measures to save temple staff and shopkeepers could turn temples into hotspots of COVID-19 spread within no time.

“We are in no hurry to open the temples to the public. We will take a call at an appropriate time once all precautions are put in place and staff at the temples are fully trained for implementation of the guidelines,”

said Deputy Commissioner Kangra Rakesh Prajapati.

Kangra, Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur districts have famous temples and shrines which the pilgrims from all over the country especially Haryana, Punjab and UP visit every year.

Kangra district alone receives lakhs of pilgrims and visitors every year as it houses famous temples like Jawalamukhi, Chamunda Devi, Bagalamukhi, Brijeshwari etc. Dharamshala is famous for its Monastery and because of the residence of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.  

“Once we open the access of the public to the temples, it will be difficult to differentiate between the locals and those reaching the temples from outside as a lot of people have already come to their homes from outside during the lockdown,”

said Prajapati.

To implement SOPs, the District Administrations in these districts are likely to conduct training of staff, priests, guards and shopkeepers around the temples during the current week. There is a possibility that some of the temples would be opened for the people of the State for paying obeisance.

However, religious gathering and events would remain prohibited.

Hotel and Restaurant Owners Want to Remain Closed

The hospitality industry, which is worst hit due to the lockdown in wake of the corona pandemic, is also reluctant in opening hotels and restaurants. Hoteliers were asked to re-open from June 8, but they declined to do so. Various associations of hoteliers from various districts had held a video conference with the State Government last week.

Also Read:‘Quarantine Tourism’ and Opening Hotels in Himachal Bad Idea: Hotel Associations

They had told the Government that before the hotels could be opened, the staff would need to be trained properly, which would take time. Also, as the entry of tourists is still prohibited, the hoteliers are preferring to remain closed.

Private Operators Remain off the Roads

The State Government had decided to re-open public transport after the end of phase three of the lockdown, and the HRTC had resumed the services on a conditional basis like plying with only 60 per cent of seat capacity, regular sanitization before and after every tour, ensuring social distancing etc. However, private operators have declined to run buses and demanded a hike in fares in order to start operating at 60 percent passenger capacity.  

Also Read: Private Bus Operators in Himachal Refuse to Start Operating from June 1 Unless Govt Provides Relief

 

 

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Nauni Varsity Already Sold Over 90,000 Fruit Plants, Read About Next Open Sale

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Fruit plant sale at uhf nauni 2021

Solan-The restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID 19 have not affected the annual sale of planting material prepared by Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni. Despite the restrictions on large gathering, over 90,000 temperate fruit plants have been sold to over 2,500 farmers from the four university nurseries in Nauni and Kandaghat.

This year, the university started the annual sale of planting material from 5th January in a staggered manner by limiting the number of farmers who were allotted plants on any given day ensuring strict compliance with the COVID 19 guidelines. The allotment list of the farmers who had applied for plants by filling the online demand form within the stipulated date was uploaded on the university website. This list mentioned the number of allotted plants along with the date, time and name of the university nursery from where these plants could be collected.

Owing to its high quality, the planting material prepared by the university sees a huge demand among the farmers of the state and the many parts of the country. This year, apple varieties like Jeromine, Red Velox, Scarlett Spur, Granny Smith and Gala Group were among the varieties which were popular among the farmers. Continuing with the trend, the demand for various stone fruits also witnessed an increase along with demand for apple plants from the lower regions.

On Saturday, Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor chaired a meeting of the Seed and Planting Cell of the university. It was decided during the meeting that as the university has already provided plants to a majority of the farmers who had filled the demand form, the remaining plants will be open for sale for all farmers. The sale of the remaining planting material of select varieties of apple, pomegranate, plum, pear, peach, apricot, walnut, fig, etc will be open to everyone from 18th January. The farmers have been advised to confirm the availability of the desired variety of fruit plants from the nursery before visiting.

The numbers of the nurseries are as follows- Fruit Science- 9418127315, Model Farm, Nauni -82196 68423, KVK Solan (Kandaghat)- 70188 56503, and Seed Science- 9418140341.

In addition to the planting material provided by the university nurseries in Nauni and Kandaghat, the regional stations/ KVK of the university at Mashobra, Bajaura, Reckong Peo, Rohru, Tabo, and Chamba also supply temperate plants to the growers at different dates. 

 

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COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Launched in Himachal, 1,536 Healthcare Workers Vaccinated on the First Day

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COVID-19 vaccination drive in himachal pradesh

Shimla– The COVID-19 vaccination drive in Himachal Pradesh started from IGMC Shimla after the Nation-wide vaccination drive was launched today by the Centre Government.

In the first round itself, 3 crore people are being vaccinated across the country. This drive would be taken up to 30 crores in the second round when elderly and people with serious co-morbidities will be vaccinated. There are only three countries- India, USA and China, who have a population of more than 30 crores. 

Two types of COVID-19 vaccines have been supplied for the vaccination drive. These include Covishield vaccine (made by Serum Institute of India Ltd) that has been supplied to all States/UTs.

The second is Covaxin vaccine (made by Bharat Biotech International Ltd) that has been supplied to 12 States.

In Himachal Pradesh, the first phase, 93000 doses would be administered to the front line warriors including health care workers of the State, the government informed.

Today 2,499 health care workers were to be administered dose through 27 identified sites in the State. However, only 1535 healthcare workers were vaccinated on the first day. It was 61 percent of this set target. Though a media report highlighted that a few minor incidents where beneficiaries showed symptoms of dizziness, anxiety, nausea and shivering were reported, the government did not dwell upon it much.

Further, about 74500 health workers would be vaccinated and each beneficiary would be provided two doses and the second dose would be administered after an interval of 28 days, the government informed.

State Vaccination Store has been set up at Shimla while Regional vaccine store has been established at Mandi and Dharamshala. District Vaccine Stores have been set up in all the 12 districts of the State besides 386 cold chain points in the State.

AEFI Committees at State and District level has also been notified with additional members of Pulmonologist and Medicine Specialists for casualty assessment of AEFI cases.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, however, urged the people of the State to ensure that all precautions are maintained despite having administered COVID-19 vaccine.

Further, in India’s vaccination campaign, those who are at the maximum risk of getting infected will be vaccinated first. Doctors, nurses, hospital sanitation workers and para-medical staff will get the doses first. This priority is available to the medical hospitals in both the public and private sectors.

After the medical staff, the members of essential services, and those responsible for the country’s security and law and order will be vaccinated.  Security forces, police personnel, fire brigade, sanitation workers will be given priority. This number will be nearly 3 crores and Government will bear the expense of their vaccination.

According to the Centre Government, on the first day of the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination program, a total of 3,352 sessions were held wherein 1,91,181 beneficiaries were vaccinated as per the provisional reports. Additional 3,429 beneficiaries were vaccinated in Defence institutions.

Further, according to the official statistics of the HP Health Department, the State reported only 71 new COVId-19 positive cases on January 16, 2021. Only one COVID-19 death was reported in which a 80-year-old male died in Kangra district. So far, the State has reported a total of 56973 cases and claimed 952 lives. If the statistics to be believed, the number of active cases has dropped to 755 today evening. 

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Himachal’s Schools, Colleges to Re-Open for Regular Classes in Feb, DDU Shimla to be Notified Non-COVID Hospital

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Schools re-opens in Himachal Pradesh pradesh

Shimla-Schools in Himachal Pradesh would open for regular classes from February 1, 2021, the State Government decided in a meeting of Cabinet held on Friday.  

All the teachers of summer closing government schools have been asked to attend the schools from 27th of this month. The students of classes 5 and 8 to 12 of summer closing schools would be allowed to attend regular classes from 1st February 2021 by strictly following laid down SOPs. The school management would have to ensure strict use of face masks, social distancing and use of sanitisers in the school premises.

In winter closing schools of Himachal, the students of classes 5 and 8 to 12 would be allowed to attend regular classes after winter vacations with effect from 15th February 2021. Online system for education under Har Ghar Pathshala would continue. The similar system can be adopted by the private schools in the State, the Cabinet suggested.  

 Similarly, ITIs and Polytechnic and Engineering colleges would also be opened from 1st February 2021.  

All the government colleges would be opened for regular classes from 8th February 2021 after winter vacations.

There were reports that the government has also decided to allow gathering of more than 50 people.

It also decided to notify Zonal Hospital Dharamshala and DDU Hospital Shimla as Non-Covid Hospitals.

Further, State Government has constructed four Make Shift Hospitals at IGMC Shimla, CH Nalagarh, RPGMC, Tanda and Medical College, Ner Chowk. Now, the Cabinet said that due to reduction in Covid-19 active cases, the Cabinet decided to use the Make-Shift Hospital at:

  1. IGMC as Medicine Intensive Care Unit
  2. Make-Shift Hospital at RPGMC Tanda as Communicable Diseases/ Infectious Diseases Ward,
  3. Make-Shift Hospital at CH Nalagarh as Trauma Care Centre
  4. Make-Shift Hospital at SLBSGMC Mandi at Ner Chowk as Super Specialty Ward.

The Cabinet gave a mining lease on 599.1935 hectares of area for extraction of limestones and mining minerals for cement plant in villages Kamandal, Kumarla, Gitrata and Aara of Chopal Tehsil in Shimla district for three years to RCCPL Private Ltd., Navi Mumbai.

The Cabinet decided to set up Women Help Desks in District Police Offices and Police Thanas in the State. It also gave its nod to purchase 136 scooty/scooter alongwith 272 helmets and 136 Desktop Computer for the Women Help Desks in Police Department. 

Further, six posts of different categories for newly created Civil Courts at Jhandutta in Bilaspur district and Jaisinghpur in Kangra district would be created and filled, the Cabinet decided.

 

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