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Himachal: Protests Erupt Against HP Govt’s Decision to Hike Bus Fare

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Himachal Pradesh bus Fare hike protests

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government is under fire for giving a shock to the public by approving a hike of 25 percent in bus fare instead of relief amid a financial crisis in wake of the pandemic. Protests have begun in the state against this decision and, in this row, today the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee held a Dharna Pradarshan. The party said that this decision would put an additional burden on the public.

The Communist Party of India (M) has given a call for a state-wide protest on July 23 against this decision of the state government.

“First the government put a financial burden on the public by hiking rates of its various services including water, ration, electricity, diesel and petrol, and property tax, and now it has aggravated this burden by deciding to make a hike in bus fare,”

CPI (M) said in a statement released to media. 

CITU also staged a protest in front of the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, and warned the government of more protests if this decision was not withdrawn.

“Since the formation of the new government, bus fare has been hiked upto 50 percent and the minimum fare has witnessed a hike of 200 percent. At the time of the formation of the new government, the fare was Rs. 1.50 per kilometre, which has now been hiked to nearly Rs. 2.25 per kilometre. The minimum fare has been hiked to Rs. 7 from Rs. 5,”

said state chief of CITU Vijender Mehra.

“Despite a drop in the cost of crude oil, the prices of diesel and petrol has been rising in India. If the centre and state governments reduce heavy excise duty and vat respectively, then the government could avert putting a financial burden on the public by hiking bus fare,”

he said.

CITU termed it a nexus between the state government and private bus operators. Bus fare in Himachal is much higher as compared to hilly North-East states, it said. 

Further, it said that in a time when nearly 70 percent of people employed in the private sector have lost their jobs partially or completely, the people need relief from the government.

The protest held by Congress in Shimla was led by party chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore from Rajeev Bhawan to the Office of Managing Director HRTC at Old Bus Stand.

“In the last two and half years, the BJP government has increased the bus fare by 50 percent including a hike of 25% in 2018,”

Congress said in a statement to media.

Rathore has asked the Chief Minister to release details regarding total collection in the CM Relief Fund and its utilization. He also asked the Chief Minister to let the public know about the due share of the state in the ‘Rs 20 Lakh Crores’ package announced by the Prime Minister as a relief.

The state government has failed in providing alternate jobs/honorarium to the unemployed youth which has resulted in unrest amongst the youth of the state, the party said. Congress also demanded withdrawing the decision to freeze D.A. of all employees and pensioners of the state.

“At one stage, there was only one case left in the state and Himachal was on verge of becoming a corona free state. The sudden erroneous decision of the Chief Minister has resulted in a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases within no time.  It shows the failure and debacle of the administration of Jai Ram Thakur’s government,”

the opposition party said.          

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Shimla, Manali Receive Season’s First Spell of Snow, Cheers Tourism Industry

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snowfall in shimla 2021

Shimla-First spell of snow in Shimla’s tourist destinations, Narkanda and Kufri, has cheered the tourism industry as it would increase the footfall of tourists. Similarly, higher parts of Manali also reported a light spell of snow on Sunday evening. Lahaul-Spiti, however, reportedly witnessed heavy snowfall and Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, was closed for traffic. Parts of the Kinnaur district also recorded a spell of snow.

Chopal in Shimla had received 2-3 inches of snow, while Dodra Kwar recorded one foot of snow, according to the Met Department.

In Kullu, Jalori Pass had received 3 inches of snow, Rohtang top 2.5 feet, and Atal Tunnel 1.5 feet.

In Lahaul-Spiti, Koksar/Sissu had recorded 18 inches of snow, Keylong 8 inches, Darcha 12 inches, Udaipur 4 inches, Tindi 2 inches, Kaza 1 inch, and Lossar 2 inches of snow.

In Kinnaur, Chitkul had recorded 15.4 cms of snow, Kalpa 5 cms, and Sangla 7.62 cms. Nichar also received a light spell.

This change in weather has triggered a cold wave across the state. Further, the Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department had issued a yellow alert for December 5, 2021. The Met has predicted rain and snow on December 6 too. While the weather is predicted to be dry on December 8, the state could witness more rain and snow on December 7 and December 9, according to the Met Department.

Most roads, except in Lahaul-Spiti, remain open to traffic movement, the district administrations of Shimla and Kullu confirmed. Further, the administrations said preparations are being made to keep the roads clear in case of heavy snowfall.

This tourist season is crucial for the hospitality industry which was worst hit by the pandemic induced restrictions. However, the entry of Omicron – the new variant of Covid-19 that has been termed as a variant of concern by the WHO-haunts the season. India had reported as many as 21 cases of Omicron till Sunday. If the HP Government decides to impose restrictions on the entry of the domestic tourist in view of the spread of the new variant, the hospitality industry could again face losses.  

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Himachal Achieves 100% Vaccination Target, OPD at AIIMS, Bilaspur, Inaugurated   

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vaccination second dose in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh has achieved the 100 percent target of the second dose of Covid vaccination, the State government informed on Sunday.  Himachal Pradesh has become the first State of the country in achieving the target of cent per cent vaccination of targeted eligible age group, it informed.  

According to the HP Government, all eligible 53,86,393 adults have been administered the second dose of the vaccine.

District-Wise Vaccination Details

District

Number of People Vaccinated 

Bilaspur  318150
Chamba 352605
Hamirpur 361954
Kangra 1140439
Kinnaur 68460
Kullu 322643
Lahaul-Spiti 25494
Mandi 738818
Shimla 634019
Sirmaru 410187
Solan 584326
Una 429298

A complete vaccination was performed first in the inaccessible areas and tribal areas of the state and Kinnaur district became the first district in the entire country to administer the second dose of the vaccine to all eligible adults, the government informed.

On this occasion, Jagat Prakash Nadda, the Member of Parliament and National BJP President, also addressed a felicitation ceremony of Covid Vaccination Workers at Bilaspur on Sunday.

Nadda also dedicated the first OPD at AIIMS Kothipura in Bilaspur. The AIIMS Bilaspur would be made fully functional within the next six months, said Nadda.

 

jp nadda at aiims bilaspur

JP Nadda at AIIMS Bilaspur

He said that the foundation stone of this institution was laid about three years back and it would have been completed a year ago, but the pace was affected due to the corona pandemic. He said that Himachal Pradesh has got an Rs. 500 crore Satellite centre of PGI Chandigarh at Una.

He also congratulated the State Government, doctors, health care workers and all the frontline workers for achieving this unique feat. 

Union Minister of Health, Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh were also present on the occasion

 

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Himachal Records Fresh Spell of Snow, HP Met Issues Alert

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snowfall in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The weather in Himachal Pradesh has taken a turn with a prediction of rain and snowfall till December 5, 2021. At the time of writing this report, Kaza in Lahaul-Spiti was receiving a fresh spell of snow, cheering the tourists, as well as, the hoteliers. So far, the traffic movement was normal in the region.

This has caused a sharp drop in temperatures across the state.

The District Administration of Lahaul-Spiti has advised the locals and tourists to avoid wandering to high altitude areas unnecessarily.

The HP Meteorological Department, Shimla, has also issued a yellow alert for December 2 and December 5. While the plains can experience light to moderate rainfall at a few places,  the middle and higher hills could witness widespread rain and snow on December 2.   

For December 4, the HP Met had predicted light to moderate rain across the state. For December 5, however, the Met has issued an yellow alert with a prediction of rain and snow at several places.

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