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HP Cabinet Decisions: With 25% Hike, Minimum Bus Fare in Himachal Increased to Rs 7

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Himachal pradesh bus fare hiked by 25 percent

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in a meeting held on July 20, 2020, decided to increase the bus fare in the State. The fare would be Rs. 7 for the first three kilometres instead of Rs. 5.  There would be an increase of 25 percent in the present per kilometre tariffs for all travel beyond three kilometres for hilly and plain areas. The Cabinet gave its nod to withdraw the facility of free travel to Members of Parliament and MLAs in HRTC buses within and outside the State. However, this facility would continue for all former MLAs and MPs.

After the announcement of this decision to hike the bus fare, unrest is on the rise among the people. The government had been proposing this hike for some time after succumbing to pressure from private bus operators. Earlier, private transporters had declined to resume service and demanded hike in bus fare to operate with only 60 percent seating capacity. Later, the government waived off the condition of 60 percent occupancy and allowed public transport to operate at 100 percent seating capacity. Despite it, private operators had been demanding a hike. The state government had proposed a hike in the fare earlier too but, after facing a widespread backlash for putting burden on common people, the HP Transport Minister Govind Singh Thakur had later denied taking any such reason. The Minister had been maintaining that no hike would be made in the bus fare. 

In the coming days, the decision is likely to face protests with a demand of withdrawing this decision. The HP Congress Committee, Communist Party of India (M), Akhil Bharatiya Mahila Samiti, and CITU also condemned the decision, terming it as an additional financial burden on the public which is already hit by corona pandemic. They said that the government has allowed public transport to ply with 100 percent seating capacity, therefore, the decision to hike the fare is not justified. Further, the government has been facing backlash for failing to provide in any respite while billing citizens for its services despite the fact that a large number of people are economically hit due to the lockdown. The oppositions have been alleging that instead of offering relief to common people, the state and centre governments have been putting more financial burden on the plebeians. Moreover, the hike in petrol and diesel prices and waiving off or cutting subsidy on electricity and food supplies have caused a lot of unrest in the public. 

Other Cabinet Decisions

Information and Technology Department presented the hardware for e-Cabinet and the Cabinet authorized the Department to go-ahead for the purchase of 16 workstations. It was decided that the third-party security audit should be done for maintaining confidentiality.

The Cabinet gave its approval to convert 34 EGS instructors into Gramin Vidya Upasaks who have fulfilled the eligibility conditions of such conversion.

It decided to fill up three posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in the Prosecution Department on a contract basis.

It decided to convert the 771 vacant posts in the cadre of Assistant Librarians in the Education Department into Junior Office Assistant (Library) for the smooth functioning of libraries of educational institutions in the State.

The Cabinet decided to take over Lala Jagat Narain Himotkarsh Kanya Mahavidyalaya Kotla Khurd in Una district by the Government along with services of eligible teaching and non-teaching staff of the college as per extant policy.

The Cabinet also approved replacement of 38 ambulances under National Ambulance Service-108 in the State in lieu of ambulances which have outlived their economical life as the 108 ambulances have become the lifeline of the health system in the State.

The  Cabinet gave its approval to provide government land measuring 0-37-54 hectare on lease to HPSEB Ltd. for construction of 33/11 KV 2X3.15 MVA Sub Station Ukhali in district Hamirpur at a rate of 20 percent of the present circle rate i.e. Rs.11,26,200  as a lump sum and Rs. one per month lease for 99 years thereafter.

It also gave its nod to provide government land measuring eight Marala at a rate of 20 percent of the present circle rate i.e. Rs.34,008  as a lump sum and Rs. one per month lease for 99 years at Bamsan in Hamirpur district in favour of HPSEB Ltd. for construction of office of Junior Engineer and Complaint Room of Tikri Section.

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HP Statehood Day 2022: Relaxation in Electricity Charges, Third Option in New Pay scale, Higher Pay scale to Constables and other Announcements

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government, on the 52nd Statehood Day, has made several announcements. It announced 31 percent DA to employees, relaxation on electricity charges up to 60 units, enhancement of annual income for availing benefit of pensions and welfare schemes.

Benefits of higher scales would be provided immediately to all those constables who were eligible for higher scales. All the constables appointed after 2015 would be eligible for higher scale as per other categories of employees, the government announced.

The State Government announced that now while implementing the new pay scale, the employees would be given a third option besides two options already given to them. The State has recently implemented new pay scales for employees of the State Government. The state government said it felt that few disparities existed in the new pay scales of few categories.

Pensioners of the State Government would also be given pension as per the new pay scales of the Punjab government, the government announced.

The government also announced 31 per cent DA to all the employees of the State at par with the Central Government employees. Also, an increase in annual income for availing the benefits of various welfare schemes and pensions for the weaker sections of the society from existing Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 was announced.

Now, the domestic consumers of the state whose electricity consumption is up to 60 units per month would not be charged any fee per electricity unit.  They would be incurred zero cost per unit of electricity consumed. With this decision, domestic consumers whose electricity consumption is up to 125 units, would be charged only one rupee per unit cost.  Over 11 lakh domestic consumers would be benefitted from this decision and the State government would incur an additional expenditure of Rs 60 crore on providing this relief, the government informed.

For the farmers in the state, the government announced to reduce the present per unit cost of electricity from 50 paise to 30 paise.  This benefit will be payable from April 2022.

Further, the HP Government said that in the year 1971, the per capita income of the state was only Rs 651 which has increased to Rs. 1,83,286, the GDP of the State has gone up from Rs 223 crore in 1971 to Rs 1,56,522 crore. The literacy rate of the State has gone up to 82.80 percent which was 23 percent in 1971. The agricultural production in the state has increased from 954 metric tons to 1500 metric tons and food grain production in 1971 was 9.40 lakh MT which has increased to 16.74 lakh MT, the state government said.

The state-level function of 52nd Statehood Day was celebrated at historic Thodo ground in Solan, where Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur unfurled the Tricolor and took salute from the contingents of Police, IRB Jungalberi, Home Guards and, NCC girls etc.

The parade was commanded by DSP Pranav Chauhan.

The Chief Minister also honoured three war widows of Solan District including Dil Kumari Thapa, Savitri Devi and Nirmala Devi on this occasion. Head constable Sandeep Chandel was also felicitated by the Chief Minister who has been awarded Prime Ministers Police Medal for life-saving for the year 2018.  

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Covid Restrictions in Himachal Extended Till Jan 31st, State Reports 11 Deaths in 24 Hours

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Covid restrictions in himachal pradesh 2022

Shimla-Covid-19 restrictions in Himachal Pradesh has been extended till January 31, 2022. Currently, the state is witnessing a sharp spike in daily Covid-19 cases and deaths. Today, despite a low sampling of 7896, the State reported 1766 new cases and 11 Covid-related deaths. During the last eight days,  the State has recorded over 50 deaths due to Covid-19.

The deceased included a 2-year-old female child too. Shimla district reported the highest five deaths. The Covid death toll in the state had risen to 3927 according to the latest update. But the State did not impose any new restrictions, like on the entry of visitors and curtailing capacity of public transport. Further, during the last 24 hours, Shimla, Solan, and Kangra districts reported more than 250 cases each. 

Covid restrictions in himachal pradesh extended

 A notification in this regard was issued by the Government of Himachal Pradesh (Revenue Department – Disaster Management Cell) on Monday. 

“Taking note of the present situation of Covid-19 in the State, the restrictions announced on January 5th, 8th, 9th, and 13th will continue to remain in effect till 6 am of 31st January 2022,” the notification said.

Programs scheduled on the occasion of Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day ( 25th January) and Republic Day (26th January) would be held on the condition of 50% capacity of indoor/outdoor spaces.

The educational institutes, including ITI, polytechnic colleges, and coaching institutes, would remain closed. Online classes, however, would continue in schools.

With the ongoing surge in daily cases and deaths, more restrictions could be in stock.

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Mandi Hooch Case: Political Storm Over Arrest and Expulsion of Hamirpur Congress Leader

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Hamipur district congress neeraj thakur

Mandi-On Sunday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee expelled General Secretary of the Hamirpur District Congress Committee following his arrest from Chandigarh in alleged connection with the Mandi hooch case.

It’s pertinent to mention that last week seven persons had lost their lives in two days and eight others are still hospitalized due to consumption of spurious liquor in Salapar area of Sundernagar Tehsil, Mandi district. Following this tragedy, a police SIT was formed, various places were raided, seizures of incriminating materials were made, several persons were arrested. So far, the police have arrested 13 persons in this connection and more arrests could be made as the SIT unfolds layers of people involved.

Neeraj Thakur, who was said to have risen to a political leader from a salesman at a liquor shop, had created an empire for himself allegedly from the illicit trade of spurious liquor. The worth of his properties and assets is being assessed, but the initial reports suggested his assets were disproportionate to his income. Now every political leader he was in contact with is under the scanner of the police SIT.

Also Read: Mandi Hooch Case: HP Police Claim Bursting Large-Scale Illicit Liquor Trade, Nabs Kingpin

According to Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Shalini Agnihotri, on Sunday, police detained Praveen Thakur, who is a resident of Hamirpur, two persons, identified as Sunny and Pushpender of Uttar Pradesh, AK Tripathi of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sagar Saini of Delhi. The police have claimed that it has also apprehended the kingpin.

The state Congress chief and the opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri who had been issuing statements holding the BJP government responsible for the Mandi hooch tragedy is on backfoot following the expulsion of Neeraj. At the same time, the failure of the state Excise and Taxation Department in checking this flourishing illicit trade of spurious liquor right under its nose is also evident.

State BJP general secretary Trilok Jamwal, State BJP spokesperson Baldev Tomar and co-media-in-charge Karan Nadda on Sunday issued statements referring to the expulsion of Neeraj as evidence that the Congress leaders were involved in, as well as, patron of liquor mafia in the State.

Further, with elections to the Shimla Municipal Corporation and elections to the state Assembly later this year, this issue has turned into a political storm.  

According to the SIT investigation, the illicit liquor factory was operating in Hamirpur District and raw materials were procured from both within and outside the State. The police said that Gaurav Manhas appears to be the kingpin of the illegal trade. Gaurav, with the assistance of Praveen, Pushpender and Sunny from UP, was running this illegal bottling plant at Hamirpur building owned by Praveen.

In addition, the DGP informed, Manu and Gagan were his partners in the bottling plant busted under the jurisdiction of Police Station Nalagarh. Gaurav has a strong network of distributors and supply chains for raw materials and finished liquor.

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