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Mass phone tapping: Himachal DGP transferred

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Mass phone tapping: Himachal DGP transferred

Himachal Pradesh’s top police official has been transferred after chief minister Virbhadra Singh alleged that his phones, along with those of hundreds of others, had been tapped and rooms bugged when he was in the opposition.

Director general of police ID Bhandari was removed hours after the chief minister’s allegation, sources said on Tuesday. Bhandari was heading the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) when the alleged illegal tapping of over 1,000 telephones of politicians, bureaucrats and high-ranking officials took place during the previous BJP regime led by Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Bhandari has changed places with B Kamal Kumar, who was heading the home guards and fire services, official sources said. Official sources told IANS that the decision to replace Bhandari was taken Monday night after the screening committee on appointments, headed by chief secretary Sudripta Roy, cleared Kumar’s name for the top post.

Both Kumar and Bhandari belong to the 1982 batch of the Indian Police Service, but the former is retiring in July. On Monday, the chief minister had indicated that former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was involved in the phone-tapping case.

A senior official, who didn’t wish to be identified, said the state had already sought legal opinion on the implications of mass surveillance of telephones without following norms.

He said a first information report under the Indian Telegraph Act could be registered. A just-concluded inquiry of the state forensic science laboratory found that the previous government had recorded telephonic conversations between 2008 and 2012 on a large scale.

Virbhadra Singh said the former chief minister could not absolve himself of blame. Mincing no words, he said that more than 1,000 telephones were tapped by the BJP government.

“The privacy of certain political leaders was infringed upon. The number of phones tapped clearly indicated malafide intention of the then government,” Virbhadra Singh told reporters.

Clarifying his position, Dhumal told IANS that permission for tapping the phones was given by the home department, and the chief minister’s office had nothing to do with it.

“Dhumal was also the home minister, so how can he deny responsibility or knowledge of the phone tapping? How can he say he had no knowledge (of the recording of calls)? It was his moral responsibility. The brain behind it all was the (former) chief minister’s,” Virbhadra Singh said.

Official sources said the government ordered seizure of the computers of the CID December 25, the day the incumbent chief minister assumed charge.

They said most of the conversations were of Congress leaders, who were then in the opposition.

The conversations of some top government functionaries, BJP dissidents and journalists also figured in the long list.

“What is clear from this (forensic science) report is that the BJP government was indulging in a conspiracy of surveillance on senior opposition leaders. I was on the top of the list. There were even instances of bugging in my offices (in Himachal Bhawan) during my Chandigarh visits,” the chief minister said.-IANS

Himachal Watcher is a Himachal Pradesh Based Non-Funded & Independent Online English Magazine

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Himachal: 53 Succumb to Severe Covid Symptoms in 24 Hours, Spike in Fatality Rate Among Patients With No Comorbidities

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Shimla-On Monday, Himachal reported 4,359 new cases of coronavirus while 53 people succumbed to severe symptoms of infection. This took the state death toll to 1,925 and the total number of infections to 1,35,782 till now according to official data.

 Kangra district continues to report the highest numbers of daily deaths due to coronavirus. In the last 24 hours, the district reported 18 deaths. While the Solan district reported the second-highest casualties with eight deaths in the last 24-hours. The youngest patient to succumb to coronavirus was a 24-year-old man from the Solan district. The man died of sudden cardiopulmonary arrest with severe SARS COVID 19 Pneumonia according to official data. No other comorbidity was cited in the report.

About 16 of the deceased persons were aged below 50 years. According to the official statistics, at least 45 (84%) of the deceased had no comorbidities.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

dailly covid case himachal

Source: HP NHM

Meanwhile, in its recent press statement, a state government spokesperson said that the positivity rate of Covid-19 across the state has come out to be 26.3% in the last week. Districts of Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Shimla, Mandi, Solan, and Sirmour have recorded a positivity rate of more than 20 percent from May 3 to May 9. 

In the last 24-hours, a total of 10,746 Covid testings was done across the state out of which 1,180 remains awaited.

Till now the state has conducted 16,33,923 sampling across the state however, the daily testing rate continues to fluctuate and remains below 20,000 tests per day.

Further, according to the government, by May 10, a total of 16,59,619 people had received the vaccine, out of which 38,0791 people had received both doses. Meanwhile, the state has gone under stricter corona curfew with restrictions imposed on interstate travelling as well.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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Himachal Achieved Highest Full Immunisation Coverage & Zero Vaccine Wastage, Claims HP NHM

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COVID-19 Vaccination in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The Government of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday claimed that the state has been able to achieve zero vaccine wastage during the COVID Vaccination programme that started on Jan 16, 2021 The vaccine wastage is -1.4% whereas, for some other states, it has been even more than 10%, the government claimed.

Dr. Nipun Jindal, Director, National Health Mission, said that the state received a total stock of 2119710, out of which a total of 1986812 doses were administered till 7h May 2020. The stock available at Cold Chain points after utilisation as per eVIN(Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) was 160730.  Hence, the number of net utilised doses was 1958980, he claimed.   

He informed that the vaccine is being administered through an AD (Auto Disabled) syringe.

Dr. Jindal claimed that according to NFHS-5 data, Himachal Pradesh has the highest Full Immunisation Coverage among all States in the entire country. Himachal Pradesh has sustained its routine Immunisation activities during the COVID pandemic as well.

Further, he informed that there are basically three reasons that lead to wastage. Transportation-related vaccine wastage occurs when vials and syringes get damaged in transit. Storage-related vaccine wastage happens when doses need to be thrown out because they could have developed possible defects as a result of improper temperature or humidity conditions. A vial not being used with maximum efficiency leads to wastage at the Vaccination Centre. A vial once opened also needs to be used up within a certain time limit. If the doses from the vial are not administered in time, they have to be thrown away.

Dr Jindal also informed that the vial generally contains more doses than mentioned and the state ensured to use the extra doses. He added that the Vaccinators were trained for loading and administering the doses as per the guidelines by the Health Department to ensure minimal wastage of the vaccine.  

“To minimise the vaccine wastage, the facilitated Cohort Mobilisation was done by the Health Workers, ASHAs and AWWs to maintain a staggered and continuous movement to the COVID vaccination Centre in Himachal Pradesh,” Dr. Jindal said.

He also informed that Govt. of India allocates vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of performance, the extent of infections and wastage of vaccines. Based on the above criteria, the State would be able to secure more vaccines from the central Government for the prioritized groups

Dr. Jindal also informed that 50 portable ventilators have been received from Switzerland and 150 oxygen concentrators from China in the form of international aid. He also informed that the State has also made the PSA Oxygen plant at Dr. RKGMC Hamirpur functional which is of 300 LPM capacity.

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Himachal Pradesh: Read Curfew Relaxation Timings in All Districts

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Himachal pradesh Curfew relaxation timings

Shimla-New curfew rules came into effect from Monday. The District Administrations have issued notifications regarding rules in their respective districts and timings of the opening of shops. Only shops dealing with pubic ration, daily needs and essential commodities like food grains, groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish, animal feed, fodder, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, optical shops and motor mechanics shops would be allowed to open for only three hours. The people and shopkeepers would have to adhere to Covid SoPs, the notifications said.

However, the new curfew rules in Himachal would not apply to pharmaceutical and medical stores that can operate as per usual timings. The government has also allowed construction in government and private sectors, but

Further, movement of all public stage and contract carriage is restricted except for essential services. The public transport would remain completely closed and private vehicles would only be allowed for medical and other emergencies, vaccination, testing and treatment of Covid-19, performance or delivery of essential, medical and public services.

Restaurants and dhabas along the national highways have been allowed to operate as per usual timing. However, dhaba/restaurant owners say it doesn’t make much difference as private and public transport is restricted and most decided to remain closed.

Further, industries in Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN), Parwanoo, and Chambaghat would remain open. The workers would have to carry identity card that mentions their timings of their shifts. 

Timings for Opening of Shops in Himachal Pradesh

Kangra 8 am-11 am
Shimla 10 am -1 pm
Mandi 10 am -1 pm
Hamirpur 8 am-11 am
Solan 8 am-11 am
Bilaspur 8 am-11 am
Kullu 10 am -1 pm
Chamba 10 am -1 pm
Kinnaur 9 am – 12 pm
Una 8 am-11 am
Lahaul-Spiti 11 am- 2 pm
Sirmaur 8 am – 11am
   

 

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