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Tourist Influx Worries Himachal as Deadlier Variant of COVID-19 Confirmed in 80% of Samples in Punjab

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Himachal pradesh tourist season 2021

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh has reported seven COVID-19 deaths in the past two days with a surge in new cases. Four deaths were reported on Wednesday itself, taking the death tally to 1012.

A massive increase in new COVID-19 cases in neighbouring state of Punjab is concerning for Himachal Pradesh. The tourists from Punjab and other states continue to visit the state without any restriction and monitoring of any sorts.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amrinder Singh, revealed that 81% of the 401 samples sent from Punjab for genome sequencing tested positive for the United Kingdom (UK) variant of the coronavirus – the B.1.1.7 or SARS-CoV-2 variant.

Studies have shown that this new variant is deadlier; it has a higher mortality rate. The SARS-CoV-2 variant is also about 40 to 70 percent more transmissible than previous variants.

Singh said, the new variant is affecting the younger population and urged the Prime Minister to pace up the vaccination drive and include the younger population in it as well.

Also Read: Schools in Himachal to Open for Non-Board Classes from Next Month, Admissions for 2021-22 Session from April 1: Education Department

The Centre yesterday directed states to include all people aged above 45 years in the vaccination drive. The Centre has also rolled out new guidelines for April in wake of the spike in cases in as many as six states – Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu. These states together account for 80.90% of the new cases (40,715) reported in the last 24 hours.

new covid-19 cases in india in march 2021

Punjab and Maharastra each have reported 58 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, which is the highest among the six states.

Covid-19 deaths in punjab in march 2021

However, the state government is still reluctant to comment on a strategy to take preventive measures against the entry of the new variant into the state.

On the condition of anonymity, an official of the district administration said, the government is concerned that any mention of the possibility of restrictions and conditions on movement of tourists ahead of the tourist season would enrage the tourism industry.

Although the Centre has directed states/UTs to increase testing, the rate is still not high enough in Himachal Pradesh, the official said.

Also Read: No Fairs, Restriction on Social Gathering, Strict Adherences to Masks and Social Distancing: HP Govt

The state government hasn’t made plans to make precautionary measures like producing COVID-19 negative reports or conducting rapid tests of those entering the state mandatory.

The Centre has already made it clear that no restrictions would be imposed on the inter-state or intra-state movement of people or goods.

Tourists from Punjab flock to Himachal daily, especially on weekends. With the summer -peak tourist season- likely to kick-off in April, the footfall of tourists is only going to rise manyfold. The officials are of the view that completely neglecting taking preventive measures on inter-state movement, especially from the states with a massive surge in new cases, would jeopardise the lives of the people in the state.

Further, the possibilities of more strict lock-downs appears to be thin, especially as India struggles to get out of the recession and unemployment crisis it’s facing.  The Reserve Bank of India recently made it clear that another lock-down would be unbearable for the nation. 

“There is a restless urgency in the air in India to resume high growth, and incoming data point to even contact-intensive services such as personal care, recreation and hospitality gathering traction,” central bankers led by Deputy Governor Michael Debabrata Patra wrote in the Reserve Bank of India’s latest monthly bulletin. But “another outbreak, more lockdowns and restraints, will get unbearable in spite of learning from the initial experience of living with the virus.”

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HP Bypolls 2021 Schedule Issued, Model Code of Conduct Comes Into Force in State

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hp bypolls 2021 schedule

Shimla-The Schedule for by-elections to Parliamentary Constituency and three Legislative Assembly Constituencies of Himachal Pradesh has been issued by the Indian Election Commission. With the announcement of this schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in eight districts of Himachal Pradesh.  As per the schedule, the entire process of elections would be completed by November 5, 2021.

The schedule would remain the same for bypolls to Parliamentary Constituency and three Legislative Constituencies.

These include Mandi Parliamentary Constituency, which got vacant after MP Ram Swaroop Sharma reportedly committed suicide and three Legislative Assembly Constituencies – Fatehpur (08), Jubbal Kotkhai (65), and Arki (50).

HP Bypolls 2021 Schedule

  1. Notification – October 1, 2021
  2. Last Date of Nominations -October 8, 2021
  3. Date for Scrutiny of Nominations – October 11, 2021 
  4. Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures -October 13, 2021
  5. Date of Poll -October 30, 2021
  6. Date of Counting – November 2, 2021 

The entire process for the elections would be completed by November 5, 2021.

The Commission said it has reviewed the situations related to the pandemic, flood, festivals, cold conditions in certain regions, feedback from concerned States/UT and taken into consideration all facts and circumstances before announcing the schedule for bypolls.

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Art & Culture

Kullu Dussehra 2021: All Religious Ceremonies to be Allowed, But No Commercial and Cultural Events

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Kullu dussehra 2021

Shimla-The International Kullu Dussehra would be organised from 15th October to 21st October, 2021, the Himachal Pradesh Government informed today after holding a meeting regarding the same.

The HP Government has decided that all deities would be invited for the Dussehra festival. Orgnaization of all religious ceremonies would be allowed traditionally, but the cultural and commercial activities would not be held.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presided over meeting of State Level Kullu Dussehra Committee. Directions were given to ensure proper security system, uninterrupted electricity supply and adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.

It was also decided in the meeting that Language, Art and Culture Department would provide an additional amount of Rs. 10 lakh to district administration Kullu for organising Kullu Dussehra festival.

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HP Cabinet Decisions Sept 24: Approval to Open Schools from 27 Sept,  Fill 8,000 Posts, Changes in Transfer Policy of JBT, C, and V Teachers

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HP Cabinet Decisions september 24, 2021

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in a meeting held today, has decided to open schools from September 27 for the students of 9th to 12th classes. The students of class 10th and 12th would attend schools on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, whereas students of class 9th and 11th would attend schools on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a week. Online classes and examinations will continue for classes upto 8th standard.  

Further, the HP Cabinet also decided to create and fill up 8000 posts of Multi-Task Workers in the educational institutions under the Higher and Elementary Departments as per the provisions of the Part-Time Multi-Task Workers Policy 2020. As per the policy, these Multi-Task Workers would be provided with a consolidated honorarium of Rs. 5625 per month for 10 months in one academic year.

The Cabinet decided to amend the transfer policy for inter-district transfer of JBT and C and V teachers in the State by reducing the existing tenure from 13 years to five years, including the contract period, for transfer to another district and also increase the quota from existing 3% to 5%.

It also decided to enhance the honorarium of IT teachers outsourced in various educational institutions in the State by Rs. 500 per month from April 1st, 2021.

It also gave its approval for renaming Forest Training Institute and Rangers College Sundernagar as Himachal Pradesh Forest Academy.

The HP Cabinet gave its consent to draft a proposal for the Customised Package of Incentives for Mega Industrial Projects in the State under Himachal Pradesh Industrial Investment Policy and Rules -2019.

It gave its approval for filling up 20 posts of Naib Tehsildar in the Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis.

It also gave its approval to the policy of replacement/maintenance of damaged crash barriers in the State.

It also decided to rename Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojna as Mukhyamantri Grihini Suvidha Yojna.

It also decided to rename Himachal Health Care Yojna- Himcare as Mukhyamantri Himachal Health Care Yojna-Himcare.

The Cabinet gave its nod to rename Sahara Yojna as Mukhyamantri Sahara Yojna.

The Cabinet gave its consent to create and fill up 10 posts of different categories in Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission, Hamirpur for its smooth functioning.

The Cabinet decided to upgrade Primary Health Centre Swarghat in Bilaspur district to Community Health Centre along with the creation of requisite posts.

It also decided to upgrade Primary Health Centre Gadsa in Banjar area of Kullu district to Community Health Centre along with creation of requisite posts to man this health institution. 

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