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Popular Kufri turning into garbage heap

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Yesterday I was in Kufri in Shimla with my friends. They was very excited to see Kufri because they had heard a lot of praise about Kufri. But when they reached Kufri what we saw first was a overflowing garbage container, surrounded by litter all around. I wonder what kind of impression tourist get when they come across this garbage on this popular International tourist spot. I feel ashamed and sorry for the people and Shimla for they follow such poor garbage disposal habits. In this way, Shimla is going to turn into a very ugly scene very soon.

Campus Watch

Enraged Over Suspension of 10 Students, ABVP Stages Protest at HPU Campus, Alleges Varsity of One-Sided Action  

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ABVP Protest at HPU over suspension of members

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh University unit of Akhil Bhartiya Parishad today staged an aggressive protest at the campus over the suspension of its 10 members. The student organization alleged the university authority of one-sided action.

The unit secretary Ankit Chandel said that ABVP had held a protest at the campus on July 11, 2019 over delay and irregularities in the declaration of results of UG classes. For this protest, the varsity on Thursday suspended 10 students.
ABVP Protest at HPU over suspension of members 3

Chandel alleged that when the employees hold protests outside the office of Vice-Chancellor, no action is taken. However, on the other hand, when a student organization stages protest, then its members are suspended in a biased manner.

Earlier, ABVP entered the office of VC to submit their demand to declare results of UG classes. The organization said that the results for the second and fourth semester of UG classes have not been declared. As many as 5000 students were facing problems in their admissions due to this delay, ABVP said. However, when students did not find the VC or any other staff at the office to attend to them, they shouted slogans against the administration for over two hours.

Chandel alleged that the varsity is adopting various tactics to suppress the voices protesting against the irregularities in the working of the administration.  While thousands of students are facing huge inconvenience due to delay and irregularities in the declaration of results, the varsity is leaving no stone unturned to give itself a pat on its back, he said.
ABVP Protest at HPU over suspension of members 2

Chandel reminded that cases of irregularities in admissions to P.hD and MCA were reported about nine months ago. When students protested against it, their voice was suppressed instead of taking action.

ABVP has warned the varsity authority of not interfering with the working of the student organization and instead mind its own job.  The organization has also demanded to revoke the suspension of its members. Otherwise, it warned, a state-wide protest would be held against the varsity. ABVP also demanded to declare complete results of UG classes immediately.   

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HW Community

Large Quantity of Banned Tobacco Products Seized in Shimla City

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Shimla SDM seizes Banned Tobacco products in himachal

Shimla-In 2012, Himachal Pradesh Government had imposed a complete ban on the storage, manufacture, and distribution of tobacco-based products that included gutka (tobacco-laced areca nut pieces), pan masala, and khaini. At that time, gutka used to cost at an MRP of Rs. 1 and Khaini and Pan Masala between Rs. 3 to Rs 5. 

However, the imposition of the ban didn’t yield the desired results of discouraging consumption of these chewing tobacco products. Seizure of these products in occasional raids aptly proves it.

In a similar instance, on July 18, 2019, the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Shimla (Urban), Niraj Chandla, raided four shops near Lakkar Bazaar bus stand in Shimla city.  In this raid, about nine sacks of gutka and khaini, each weighing between 15-20 kg, were seized from a wholesale distributor and three other shops. It implies that over 150 kg of banned tobacco products were seized from just four shops.

SDM Shimla Raid

SDM Shimla (Urban) During the Raid

The seized products were sent to Lakkar Bazaar police station and a case was registered against the offenders under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA), 2003. The Excise and Taxation Department has also been asked to take action.

“Shops were inspected in Lakkar Bazar area near the bus stand. Many complaints of sale of tobacco products were received, so a team was formulated and a raid was conducted. Banned tobacco products were recovered from the raided shops. Nine cartons were seized and handed over to police to proceed under COTPA,”

confirmed a member of the team.

Gutka sale in Himachal Pradesh

Banned tobacco products seized from a shop in Lakkar Bazaar during a raid

The SDM said she had been receiving complaints regarding the sale of these products.

The situation is far worse in reality.  These products continue to be sold in black. After seven years of the ban, these products can be bought anywhere in the state. The only difference that is noticeable is that now the Gutka that used to cost Rs. 1 is sold for about Rs. 5 and Khaini that used to cost Rs 5 is now sold for Rs 10-15 in black. Apparently, this money goes into the black market as officially these products are not sold in the state.

This issue has appeared in media several times since the imposition of the ban. Himachal Watcher had also highlighted the issue in 2012 and 2015.  Moreover, the discarded empty packaging of these products can be found littered across the state, which clearly suggests these products are still in use. 

On Nov 4, 2015, Himachal Pradesh government had announced a complete ban on the sale of loose cigarettes. However, a report on HW had noted that loose cigarettes continued to be sold at a higher price after the ban. Also, shopkeepers didn’t hesitate to sell these products to minors. Students of St. Thomas School, as a part of their internship with HW, had submitted this report with a video. The students themselves visited shops and bought loose cigarettes.

In nutshell, the State government has completely failed to implement that ban strictly, and this is why, despite the provision of a heavy fine of upto Rs. 25,000, shopkeepers are fearlessly selling banned tobacco products.   

These shopkeepers take precaution and sell these products to known buyers in their respective localities. In case of loose cigarette, shopkeepers are less precautious.

The challenge for the government is to ensure compliance with its policies of imposing such bans. Occasional action on selected sellers would not solve the purpose. Otherwise, the imposition of the ban on these products is only boosting the black market.

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Campus Watch

HP University Offers Special Chance to Complete UG Degrees

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HPU Special Chance for UG Degrees

Shimla– Himachal Pradesh University on July 17, 2019, issued a notification offering special chance to complete BA/B.Sc/B.Com and Shashtri degrees to candidates who had enrolled for academic sessions between 2000 – 2012-13 but could not complete their course in the given time period.

Such candidates can avail this special chance by paying a fee of Rs 5000 per year. The examination will be held in March 2020 in accordance with the old syllabus (2012-13).

Similarly, the candidates, who had enrolled for academic sessions between 2000-2014, can avail this chance to complete their BCA/BBA degrees by paying a fee of Rs 20, 000 per year. The examination for these degrees will be held in September 2019 in accordance with the old syllabus (2013-14).

The notification was issued after a few amendments in decisions taken by the HPU Executive Council in its meeting held on May 31, 2019.       

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