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Shimla City- Hefty Garbage, Water, Electricity Bills Burden Economically Weak Amid COVID Crisis

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SHimla protest over garbage, water, electricty bills

Shimla– Nagrik Sabha Shimla on Monday staged a protest near the Office of the Municipal Corporation, Shimla, over hefty bills of electricity, garbage, water, and problems of the businessmen. A delegation of this front approached the Commissioner, Shimla MC, and submitted a memorandum of their demands.  

Citizens raised questions over the decisions of the state government to withdraw subsidy worth Rs. 80 crore on ration/food and subsidy worth 100 crores on electricity charges.  Questions were raised over the timings of these decisions  as a large section of the population, especially the poor and lower-middle-class families, are struggling to survive  amid COVID-19 crisis.

The Sabha said that nearly 70 percent of people employed in the private sector in the State have lost their employment partially or completely due to the corona pandemic. Over 5000 workers have lost jobs as hotels, restaurants, and commercial establishments remain closed in the State or not doing well even after the opening of lockdown. In Shimla, 40 percent of employment is linked to the tourism industry, the Sabha said. Closure of the industry has rendered thousands of porters/coolies, cab drivers, guides, those working with tours & travel agencies etc., unemployed. The livelihood of street vendors, hawkers, is hit adversely, the Sabha said.

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It also alleged that while people are struggling to just survive this crisis, they have been slapped with hefty bills by State Government, Shimla MC, and Electricity Board. These people were expecting relief but the government became indifferent to their financial crisis.  

To worsen things, these people are getting mentally harassed after receiving warnings of disconnection on non-payment of bills on time.

Citizens also complained that bills which were earlier issued monthly, have been issued collectively for four months and a little time has been given to deposit these bills. The meter reading rate for four months has increased manifold, they said.   

Similarly, bills worth thousands of rupees for garbage collection have been issued. Businessmen and commercial building owners are also being asked to deposit property tax amid this financial crisis.

The state government should waive off electricity, garbage, and water bills for March, April, May, and June months, the Sabha demanded. It warned of more protests if no relief was provided to the affected.

Citizens had also been complaining about hefty bills despite the fact that businesses like Paying Guest facilities are closed since March and there is no garbage to collect. But still, PG owners said, they have been slapped with hefty bills.

Further, former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, targeted the Centre Government and top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He referred to the hellish struggle of migrant laborers to reach their homes and their struggle to remain alive because of the imposition of curfew/lockdown in a haste without any warning.

He also termed the ‘Rs 20 lakh crores relief package’ announced by the Centre government a mere gimmick. He said the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister kept elaborating this relief for about a week, but when it came to allocation, it had nothing for the common people. He alleged reliefs were given to influential and rich while commoners and marginal businesses got nothing. He also pointed out that prices of diesel have become equivalent to those of petrol.

He also said that instead of the relief package, the Centre should have given 10 kg ration per month and deposit Rs 7500 in the accounts of those who do not fall under income tax limit. He said this demand was raised several times during the lockdown. There were several other issues that Chauhan raised while addressing the protestors. (Watch Video).

Though the protest was being staged in front of the Office of Superintendent of Police, Shimla, and several police personal were present on the site, social distancing was hardly maintained.

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Himachal: 80% Voter Turnout in 2nd Phase of Panchayat Polls

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Second phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Election Commission informed that the elections for 1208 Gram Panchayats were held today in the second phase in which around 80 percent polling was registered.

Overall, 75 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation cast their votes as per the standard operating procedures.

The highest polling has been registered in Nandpur Gram Panchayat of Nalagarh developmental block of Solan district where the voter turnout was reported to be 96 percent.

The poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state. The counting of votes for Pradhan, Up-Pradhan and members was under the process and the results were awaited till late evening. The counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on 22 January 2021 at block headquarters.

Election-related process and results have been uploaded for the general public on sechimachal.nic.in.

The election for third and final phase for 1137 Panchayats would be held on 21 January 2021.

The first phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions in Himachal Pradesh was held in 1228 Gram Panchayats on January 17, 2021. The overall polling percentage in the first phase was reported to 77.50%.

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Bird Flu Confirmed in Dead Poultry Dumped Near Himachal Borders, Ban on Poultry Products Extended   

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Himachal Pradesh Extends Ban on poultry

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government has temporarily extended the ban on entry of poultry and poultry products into the State from neighbouring states for one more week. A notification to this regard was issued on January 18, 2021.

 The Government said that during the past few days, there had been incidences of dumping of dead poultry in the border areas of the State. Samples were collected from these dead birds, and disposed of the remaining birds as per protocol, it said. NIHSAD Lab, Bhopal, has confirmed Avian Influenza-H5N8 in the dumped birds.

Hundreds of dead poultry birds were found dumped along the Parwanoo-Solan stretch on the National Highway. The police was yet to identify culprits responsible.

However, the State Government said that the Flu has not been detected in the local poultry.

The State Government said that a “Bird Flu” outbreak was notified on January 6, 2021, in Pong Dam wetland of district Kangra. The count for migratory bird death due to the Flu had mounted to 4936 till January 18, 2021. On January 17, only 21 migratory birds died in the Pong Dam wetland area.

The State Government said a sharp decline was reported in death of migratory birds due to avian influenza outbreak in the Pong dam lake wildlife sanctuary.

Ten Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) of Wildlife Wing would continue to work in the wetland for collection and safe disposal of dead birds as per protocol till no mortality is recorded. 

Till January 18, 2021 outbreaks of Avian Influenza have been confirmed in 5 States for poultry birds and in 9 States for crows, migratory and wild bird.

Culling of poultry birds had to be taken in all the affected epicentres including CPDO, Mumbai. Culling operation of poultry in Haryana was also underway. The outbreak has is causing losses worth crores to poultry farmers. 

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447 Cases of Adverse Effect Including 3 in Himachal Reported Post COVID-19 Vaccination

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COVID-19-vaccination-adverse effect in himachal pradesh

Shimla– Amid skepticism over the COVID-19 vaccination, India has reported over 400 cases of adverse effect post-vaccination, informed the Ministry of Health. To be more specific, a total of 447 Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFIs) were reported on 16th Jan & 17th Jan’21.

Out of these, three required hospitalization. Of these, one was discharged from Northern Railway Hospital Delhi within 24 hours; one was discharged from AIIMS Delhi, and one is under observation in AIIMS Rishikesh and is being monitored.

Most of the AEFIs reported so far are minor like Fever, Headache, Nausea etc.

In Himachal Pradesh, about three cases of AEFIs were reported on day 1 of vaccination drive. These were reported from Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Tanda, Kangra, Civil Hospital Paonta Sahib, and Maharishi Markandeshwar University Medical College, Solan.

In these cases, symptoms reported included dizziness, anxiety, nausea and shivering and persons recovered after management as per protocol, it was informed.

In Himachal, 2,499 health care workers were to be administered dose through 27 identified sites in the State on January 16. However, only 1535 healthcare workers could be vaccinated on the first day. It was 61 percent of this set target. The second round would be held today.  

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.

An Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) is any unexpected medical occurrence which follows immunization. It may not be related to the vaccine or vaccination process. The Ministry had laid down protocols for reporting, immediate case management at vaccination session site, transportation and hospitalization and further care of such cases. Protocols are also in place for systematic investigation and causality assessment of serious AEFIs, the Ministry said.

India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on Day1 under its COVID19 vaccination program, the world’s largest such exercise.

Total of 2,24,301 beneficiaries have been vaccinated till today as per the provisional report.

The second day of the massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination program was also conducted successfully. A total of 553 sessions were held in six States. As many as 17,072 beneficiaries were vaccinated on Day2, as per the provisional reports.

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