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Himachal: Tourists from Neighboring States Line Up at Borders, Residents Allege Discrimination in Quarantine Rules  

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Himachal Pradesh - tourist start coming

Shimla: With the decision of Jairam Thakur-led State Government to allow tourist activity and to allow people from other states to enter Himachal Pradesh without obtaining e-pass or permission from district authorities, a beeline of vehicles was seen at the Parwanoo inter-state barrier on Sunday. This led to a traffic jam as over 1700 vehicles including both residents and tourists lined up at the barrier.

A large number of them were sent back from the barrier as they lacked required COVID-19 negative report or had not registered on the e-pass portal.

However, several tourists were allowed to enter the state after verifying their documents and COVID-19 reports, the authorities said.

According to a media report, some tourists reached Kasauli and Barog – popular spots for weekend tourism. They reportedly returned after spending a few hours. Contrary to this, the mandatory condition for tourist entry says that visitors would have to make a booking of a minimum of five days.

Similarly, visitors and returnees had reached other boarders like in Swarghat and Mehatpur. 

Also Read: All SOPs for Hotels, Restaurants, Home-Stays and Others Involved in Tourism Industry

Another issue that the authorities would face is verifying that all tourists who had entered the State returned. Tourist would have to furnish a COVID-19 negative report not older than 72 hours, register on the online portal, and make an advance booking of a minimum of five days. The SOPs have not defined as to how to verify that every single tourists have existed the state after the expiry of the mentioned duration.

Further, residents of the State are questioning the government over discrimination in quarantine rules. While tourist can enter the state and roam around for a few days without being quarantined, the residents would have to follow institutional and home-quarantine strictly even if they have a COVID-19 negative report.

Also Read: Tourist Activity Allowed, Read New Rules for Entering State, Quarantine, Plying of Public Transport

It’s pertinent to mention that the Government is already facing a backlash over its decision to open the State borders for tourists at a time when the State is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The hoteliers were also not in favour of opening the State for tourists. The residents are feeling insecure following this decision as they fear it would lead to a bigger coronavirus outbreak. With appearance of 17 new cases yesterday, the the COVID-19 tally for the State had reached 1064. 

Considering the beeline of tourist vehicles merely after 48 hours of the announcement to allow tourism activity, it is clear that tourists are likely to flood the state in the coming days. Monsoon would be the only deterrent currently. What’s concerning is that hospitality industry did not get any time to train staff or arrange all facilities mentioned in the SOPs issued by the State Government. 

The public and hoteliers are of the opinion that this decision was taken in a haste without any consideration for consequences. On the other hand the State Government claims that it had asked the Centre to allow it manage the influx of visitors/returnees in accordance with the current situation. This request, Government said, was declined by the Centre. The Government believes that opening Himachal for tourists would bring relief to those employed in the hospitality industry. 

Misc News/Press Release

UHF Nauni With Western Sydney Varsity Launches Online Course on ‘Agri Skills Empowerment’

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UHF Nauni online course on agri skills launched

Solan-An international agricultural research programme between several Indian agricultural Universities including Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni and Western Sydney University (WSU) was launched recently through online mode, informed the Public Relation Officer of the varsity, Suchet Attri.

He said that the online programme titled ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme- Entrepreneurs’ has been started under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank. Under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the Institutional Development Project(IDP). Some of the agricultural universities, who are a part of the NAHEP have tied up with WSU for this programme. 

A total of 60 final year UG students from three colleges of the university will be undertaking the 20-week course. These students will also get an opportunity to visit WSU and have an opportunity to interact with researchers to develop an awareness of new research areas and business leaders to learn real-life examples and cutting-edge research, he informed. 

The online programme launch was done by WSU which was attended by Dr A. Arunachalam, ADG (International), ICAR.

Speaking at the event, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal congratulated the WSU and all the partner agricultural universities.

 He said,

“We are keenly looking forward to this partnership as our students and faculty will be exposed to contemporary knowledge in both innovation and entrepreneurship and a range of techniques and tools that have practical importance.”

The objective of the programme is to develop an Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme for high performing final year undergraduates in Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Science which will provide prospects for students to explore opportunities to become future leaders in research, academia or business. The programme will provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic and business leaders to identify and understand technology gaps, business ideas and strategic choices that lead to innovation-driven advantages in the agritech sector. Student learning will be through the exposure to research-informed new knowledge and business cases from the industry that will inspire students towards entrepreneurship.

UHF recently signed an MoU with WSU and three short-term courses on Entrepreneurship Development, Remote Sensing and Scientific Numeracy for the UG will also be started soon. 

The Vice-Chancellors of partner agricultural universities namely Dr Parvinder Kaushal, VC UHF Nauni; Dr Nazeer Ahmad, VC, Sher-e-Kashmir University for Agricultural Science and Technology; Dr Anupam Mishra, VC CAU, Imphal; Dr Ajoy Kumar Singh, VC, Bihar Agricultural University; Dr S Rajender Prasad, VC UAS, Bangalore and Dr RS Srivastav, VC Dr Rajendra Prasad CAU also joined the launch ceremony. 

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Read Cabinet Decisions on Regular School Classes, UG Students, General Tax Relaxation on Land/Buildings, Police Recruitment & More

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Himachal Pradesh- Regular school classes

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on October 27, 2020, held a meeting in which it took several decisions including resuming regular classes in schools. The Cabinet decided to conduct regular classes from 9th to 12th standard in educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh from November 2, 2020. Besides colleges of the State would resume classes by following the SOP/guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 

The Cabinet gave its approval to promote students enrolled in 1st and 2nd year UG courses for academic session 2019-20 to the next academic year based on the UG guidelines keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic.

It gave its approval to provide an extension in services of already engaged SMC teachers of various categories in Elementary and Higher Education Departments for the academic session 2020-21 and their remuneration may also be disbursed to them for the academic session 2020-21 subject to the outcome of Special Leave Petition (Civil) pending in Hon’ble Supreme Court.    

The Cabinet decided to raise the honorarium of IT teachers engaged on an outsource basis in the Education Department by 10 percent from 1st April 2020. This would benefit 1345 IT teachers.

The Municipal Councils of Mandi, Solan and Palampur would be upgraded to Municipal Corporations by the inclusion of adjoining areas, the Cabinet decided. It also decided to create six new Nagar panchayats – Kandaghat in Solan district, Amb in Una district, Ani and Normand in Kullu district and Chirgoan and Nerwa in Shimla district. It also gave its nod for re-organization of these Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). This includes Ner Chowk and Karsog in district Mandi and Nagar Panchayat Jwali in Kangra district by exclusion and inclusion of certain areas.

The Cabinet decided to exempt land and buildings in newly included areas of these Urban Local Bodies from payment of general tax for a period of three years and to retain the customary rights as provided in the Wazib-Ul-Urz in the record of rights.

Election to the ULBs in the State (including newly created Nagar panchayats) and newly created Municipal Corporations of Mandi, Solan and Palampur would be conducted in January 2021, after consultation with State Election Commission, the Cabinet decided. The elections to Municipal Corporation Dharamshala would also be conducted with all ULBs in January 2021. The elections for Shimla Municipal Corporation will be conducted in due course in 2022.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fill up:

  • 1334 vacant posts of Constables which includes 976 male and 267 female and 91 drivers on regular basis through direct recruitment.
  • 32 posts of leading fireman, 11 posts of driver cum pump operator in newly opened Fire Posts at Sansarpur Terrace in Kangra district, Bahawalnagar and Sangla in Kinnaur district and Patlikuhal in Kullu district.
  •  22 posts of Copyists in 22 Subordinate Courts of the State on regular basis.
  • 9 posts of different categories in the State Food Commission for its smooth functioning.

The Cabinet also decided to restore ‘Janmanch’ Programme from 8th November this year.

It gave its nod to allow one-time amnesty by redefining zero dates for projects which are under investigation and clearance stage where Implementation Agreements (IAs) have already been signed and by redefining Scheduled Commercial Operation Date (SCOD) for projects under construction stage.  This decision will benefit 221 power projects having a total capacity of 1060 MW.

The government has also decided to rename Government College Takipur in Kangra district as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government  College, Takipur.

It also gave its consent to create and fill up one post of Assistant Professor in Super Specialty Surgical Oncology Cell in Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla.

The Cabinet decided to employ Miss Tanzin Dolkar sister of martyr Tanzin Chhultim of the village and P.O. Karpat in Lahaul-Spiti district who laid down his life during terrorists in Srinagar on 3rd August 2017. She would be appointed as Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis in the office of DFO Lahaul-Spiti. 

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Himachal May Witness Second Wave of COVID-19 During Winter Season: Govt

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Himachal Pradesh-second wave of covid-19

Shimla– After lockdowns, the people seems to have resumed their normal routine and the government seems to have reduced tracing of COVID-19 cases, but the pandemic continues to tighten its grip. Official data released by the State Health Department, Himachal Pradesh had reported 20585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 till October 26, 2020, and witnessed 288 fatalities. Till yesterday, a total of 371107 persons were tested for COVID-19 in the state.

Though it should have been a priority since the beginning of the pandemic, it was on yesterday that the Chief Secretary Anil Khachi mentioned that the State should aim for zero fatality, and to achieve it, home isolation protocol should be strictly reinforced.

Currently, the state government has not formed any effective mechanism for medical check-up of COVID-19 patients under home isolation. It was only yesterday that the Himachal Pradesh Government spoke about regular medical check-ups of the people who have opted for home isolation. Directions have been issued to the health officials to ensure it. Such patients would be rushed to hospitals only if their condition worsens, the government said. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- October 26, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh Winters-second wave of covid-19

If the Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi was to be believed, the department was conducting about four thousand tests per day. He said that people need to be more cautious as the second spikes of the virus may take place during the winter season.

The government claimed that about 90 percent of deaths reported due to COVID-19 took place within 24 hours of patients being admitted in health institutions. The government admitted that the aged people and patients with co-morbidity need special attention.

The festive season ahead of Diwali poses another challenge for the government in making the public maintain social distancing, use face mask and hand sanitizers. There is hardly any check on unnecessary gathering in social functions.

Existing COVID-19 Care Centres and Hospitals are already over-burdened, the government accepted. However, the government is yet to work on increasing the testing facilities, procure adequate machinery in the makeshift hospitals, and provide staff on outsource basis.

According to Director General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, the police was taking all possible steps to persuade the people to maintain social distancing in public places.

Further, senior doctors have been asked to visit patients admitted to hospitals. The government said that thrust must be laid on Education, Information and Communication (IEC) so that the person with any kind of symptoms immediately visit the hospital for COVID-19.

According to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, to monitor the situation he held 34 video conferences with the Deputy Commissioners, Superintendent of Police and Chief Medical Officers of the State. He said that necessary directions were given to the district officers to take steps to mitigate the crisis. He said that 14 video conferences were also held with the elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions to ensure people’s participation in effectively combating the crisis.

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