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Apple Season 2020: Read HP Govt’s Preparation and Ideas/Suggestions to Solve Problem of Labour-Shortage

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Shimla Apple Season Labour shortage

Shimla: Horticulture industry of Himachal Pradesh accounts for about Rs 5000 crore per annum. According to Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, this apple season, about 5.83 lakh MT Apple production is expected.

However, this season,  transportation of apple produces to markets would be a challenging task for orchardists in Himachal Pradesh in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of labour due to return of migrant labourers to their home states.

Though Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has been assuring orchardist that they would not face any shortage of labour, the Government is still struggling to figure out how to deal with this problem. There are only suggestions and ideas so far.

In one of such ideas, he is suggesting that farmers should avoid the use of colour spray to slow down the season. He said that this would help them solve the labour problem.

“The farmers must be motivated to avoid use of colour spray so as to slow down to season. This would not only ensure good price but also help in solving the labour problem,”

Thakur said.

To bring back the labourers who had left the State, Chief Minister is asking the Department to hold meetings with contractors and ask them to further contact the labourers in other States. He talked about an adequate arrangement to facilitate them.

“The State Government could even consider sending buses up to even Dehradun and other places to bring Nepali labourers to the State. The matter should also be taken with the District Administration of bordering districts of Nepal to bring labour to the State,”

he said.

He also talked about developing some mechanism to bring labour from different parts of the State to the apple growing areas. This would reduce the over-dependency of growers on Nepali labour, he said.

Chief Whip Narender Bragta has even already thanked the Chief Minister for facilitating the orchardists. He suggested that Alternative labour from Sirmaur, Chamba districts etc. should be arranged.

The State Government has empanelled 26 firms for the supply of packaging material viz. cartons, separators, trays and other allied items of different categories. About 1.20 crore cartons are ready with these firms for supply to the orchardists, claimed the State Government in an official statement released on June 27.

The Government claimed that the Horticulture department has tied up marketing arrangements for the growers at Aazadpur Mandi in New Delhi and Gannaur Mandi t Sonipat in Haryana. It also claimed that controlled atmosphere stores have been identified in government and private sectors in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi having a total capacity of about 1.17 lakh metric tonnes. A cold storage facility of 32000 MT is available to facilitate the horticulturists, the Government claimed.

Public Works Department has been asked to ensure proper maintenance of the roads and other linking roads in the apple growing areas to make it sure that the flow of vehicular traffic was smooth. However, HPPWD is already infamous for its widespread corruption and poor attitude towards the maintenance of roads. None of the two Governments could ever tame the Department. 

Further, the State Government’s theory says that the orchardists would get a remunerative price of their products as this year the import of apple from other countries would not be possible due to COVID-19 crisis.

The Government said that APMC will facilitate the movement of agricultural market functionaries and concerned District Magistrates would issue them transit passes. APMC has been asked to install CCTV cameras at all Mandis and individual yards. 

However, up to what extent the Government’s claims are realized, remains to be seen.

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Educational Institutes Closed Till April 21 Amid COVID-19 Surge, No Decision on Other Restrictions

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HP Cabinet decision on curfew

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today held a meeting in which it expressed concern over the sharp surge in Covid-19 cases in the State. The Cabinet decided to keep all educational institutions closed till April 21. The institutes would also remain closed for teaching and non-teaching staff except the staff required for exam duties till the 21st of this month.

A decision was taken to fill up 311 posts of Forest Guards in the Forest Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment. These include already approved 113 posts of Forest Guards by the State Cabinet during its meeting held on 9th of March this year.   

The Cabinet decided to fill up 25 posts of Agriculture Development Officers on a contract basis in Agriculture Department through HP Public Service Commission against direct recruitment quota. 

It decided to implement the central sector scheme SVAMITVA in the state for surveying the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using Drone technology. For this, Revenue Department would be designated as the Nodal Department for implementation of the scheme with the support of the Panchayati Raj Department. For this, MoU would be signed with the Survey of India for starting the scheme in the State. A State Steering Committee, State Project Management Unit and District Project Monitoring Unit would also be constituted for effective implementation of the scheme.

The cabinet also gave its nod to extend employment on compassionate ground to the eligible indigent of the deceased employees against available vacant posts of Class-III and Class-IV in relaxation of five percent quota as against the available vacant posts of class-III and Class-IV in DC offices of Shimla, Kinnaur, Solan and Kangra and office of Settlement Officer Kangra Division.  

It also gave its consent that the project for the development of multi-storey parking-cum-shopping complex at U-Block Mandi may be awarded under PPP mode to the highest bidder at an annual concession fee of Rs. 63,63,000 plus GST and all other applicable taxes per annum, as per terms and conditions of RFP. The selected bidder would also pay an upfront premium of Rs. 2 crores to the authority by way of five equal instalments of Rs. 40 lakh each for 24 months starting from the compliance date.

The cabinet also gave its approval for the creation of five posts of different categories for each newly created Nagar Panchayats viz Shahpur, Chirgaon, Nerwa, Nirmand, Anni, Kandaghat and Amb for smooth functioning of these newly created Nagar Panchayats.

Presentations were also made before the Cabinet by Jal Shakti Department on the prevailing drought situation in the State. It was decided to hold a review meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister including all the stakeholder departments for further decisions.

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Una Murder Case: Body of 22-Year-Old Girl Exhumed, Enraged Villagers Create Ruckus

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una girl murder case

Una-The alleged murder of a 22-year-old girl in Jadla Kohri village under the Gagret sub-division of Una district created a stir on Wednesday as the police exhumed her body from near a temple complex.

According to the allegations, a man who was identified as one of the ‘pujaris of the temple, has admitted killing the girl. He reportedly admitted hitting her on the head with an iron rod and later burying the body.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amb, has confirmed the report.

Una murder case

According to the initial information, the girl was missing since April 3, 2021, and a complaint regarding the same was filed at the local police station in Gagret the next day.

The police zeroed in on the said accused based on call details and reached the temple today. A large number of villagers also followed the police. When the police exhumed the body based on the location identified by the accused, angry villagers turned violent and demanded handing over the accused to them. A minor clash between police and villagers was also reported. Villagers vandalized the temple premises.

Amid this tense atmosphere, police somehow protected the accused from the enraged mob and managed to get him out safely.

The body of the girl was sent for post-mortem, the Superintendent of Police, Una, Arjit Sen, confirmed.

Though not officially confirmed, some local media reports suggested that the deceased and the accused were known to each other. The girl had recently got engaged to another man.

 Further details are awaited.

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