SHIMLA -28 November, 2020

Govt decides to restrict persons on social gathering to 50 persons: CM

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, while presiding over a meeting through video conferencing with the Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, Chief Medical Officers, Principals and Medical Superintendents of various Government Medical Colleges of the State from Shimla today, expressed concern over the increase in number of Covid-19 cases as well as deaths of Covid-19 patients in the State and directed the officers to take effective steps to increase the bed capacities in their respective districts.

Chief Minister said that the State Government has decided to enforce five days office and sixth day work from home for all the Government employees of the State till 31st December, 2020 to break the chain of this virus. He said that as the State Government would also consider to impose curfew from 9 pm to 6 am in the four districts, viz. Shimla, Mandi, Kullu and Kangra. He said that the situation would be reviewed from time to time.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the casual approach of the people particularly in social gathering such as marriages etc. has resulted in sharp increase in the number of covid-19 patients. He said that the State Government has now decided to restrict the number of persons on all the social gathering to 50 persons. He said that all the political functions would be held virtually and restriction on numbers would be implemented in letter and spirit in such functions.

Chief Minister said that the State Government has also decided to increase the bed capacity in all district, zonal and civil hospitals to facilitate patients and to meet out any eventuality. He said that all the prefabricated Covid Centres coming up in the State would be completed at the earliest. He said that the Government of India has sanctioned seven oxyzen plants for the State. He directed the Deputy Commissioners to identify the land for the same so that they could be set up at the earliest.

Jai Ram Thakur said that to ensure proper and effective management of hospitals, the Government had also decided to make foolproof arrangements in hospitals by designating a senior official as in-charge of Covid ward for better treatment of the patients. He also directed the Deputy Commissioners to rope in private hospitals and laboratories for testing and treatment of Covid patients.

Chief Minister said that proper protocol must be adopted for treatment of the asymptotic patients under home isolation. He said that such patients must be provided all required inputs for their proper medication. He said that adequate arrangements of pulse oxymeter must be made for these patients so that they could regularly monitor oxygen level in blood. He said that it has been felt that the change in climate was also resulting in fast spread of this virus. He said that senior doctors must ensure at least three rounds of the wards of covid-19 patient to instill confidence in the patients.

Jai Ram Thakur said that shortage of staff particularly in health institutions with more cases of Covid-19 patients would be met out by deploying adequate staff. He said that adequate para medical staff would also be made available in the health institutions to facilitate fast testing and tracing.

Chief Minister said that it has also been felt that casual approach of people and laxity in adhering to the laid down SOPs was major reason of spread of the virus. He asked the officers to check this tendency and take remedial measures in this regard by enforcing the instructions of the Government issued from time to time.

Health Minister Dr Rajiv Saizal also gave his valuable suggestions on the occasion.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi also felt the need for adopting a humane approach towards the Covid-19 patients.

Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi welcomed the Chief Minister and other officers present on the occasion. He said that effective steps would be taken to rationalise the staff in health institutions to provide adequate staff for treatment of Covid patients.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister J.C. Sharma, Mission Director NHM Nipun Jindal, Principal IGMC Shimla Dr Rajneesh Pathania, Director Medical Education Dr Ravi Sharma and other officers attended the meeting.

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Sea buckthorn nurseries and processing units to be setup in Spiti: ACS

Sea Buckthorn and Chilgoza cultivation in tribal districts of Spiti and Kinnaur needs to be promoted and popularised in a big way. This was emphasised by Chairman-cum-ACS Forest R.D. Dhiman while presiding over the General Body Meeting (GBM) of ''Society for Improvement of Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods''.

The society is the implementing agency of ambitious Rs. 800 crore project for "Improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods'', funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and project is being implemented as part of Indo-Japan cooperation.

It was stressed in the meeting to develop Sea buckthorn nurseries on a large scale in Spiti area, so that the farmers could cultivate and propagate these plants in their fields. Sea buckthorn based processing units would also be setup in the area. Similar efforts were afoot for the cultivation of Chilgoza in Kinnaur. The purpose of this entire exercise was to increase the income of tribal farmers manifold.

The GBM also discussed non-timber forest produce based activities for income generation and livelihoods of the communities in the project intervention areas. As such, it was decided to support the Village Forest Development Committees (VFDSs), Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Common Interest Groups (CIGs) by providing financial assistance to start on-farm and off-farm activities. These activities will include vermin composting, dairy, vegetable nursery, backyard poultry, mushroom farming, handicrafts/handloom and traditional woollen cloth making, knitting and tailoring. In addition, service sector activities like plumbing, mobile repair, beautician, masonry, electrician, carpentry, hospitality, tourism and horticultural plants pruning will also be supported.

Reviewing performance of Jadi-Buti cell of the project, the GBM expressed satisfaction that the cell had developed five models for cultivation of the medicinal and aromatic plants. It was told that cultivation of Palmorosa grass by the cell had been started with the help of VFDS in Bilaspur district. The cell will also start its activity of making plates (Pattals) of Tor plant leaves. Besides, emphasis was also laid on collection and compression of pine needles into briquettes and then their sale during discussion on the cell's review.

The GBM gave approval to purchase 16 vehicles under the project. These vehicles will be provided at the forest range level. It was for the first time that the vehicles will be available in the ranges. This initiative will go a long way in helping the field staff to act and perform more efficiently and quickly.

Earlier, The Chief Project Director cum Member-Secretary, Nagesh Kumar Guleria presented physical and financial progress of the project. He said that due to unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of the current financial year, implementation of the project activities, especially activities that pertained to training, capacity building and mobilisation of local communities were badly hit. However, we were fully geared up now and our activities had again gained momentum, he added.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (HoFF), Dr. Savita and Mrs. Archana Sharma, Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), along with other members of the society also attended the meeting.

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NDB approves Rs. 698 crore for water supply scheme

New Development Bank (NDB) has given approval in principle for the 1st phase of the proposal of Himachal Pradesh of 80 million USD (Rs. 698 crore). This project envisages augmentation of water supply schemes in partially covered habitations in the State to provide 70 litres water per day per head.

This was stated by an official spokesman here today. He said that a Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting (TPRM) in this regard was held yesterday for consideration of Himachal Pradesh Water Sector Project proposed under New Development Bank (NDB) funding.

He said that the meeting was attended through video conference by officers of Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, New Development Bank officers and officers of Jal Shakti Vibhag.

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Chairman SEC directs to adhere to guidelines of MHA to contain Covid-19

Chief Secretary-Cum-Chairman State Executive Committee Anil Khachi has directed all the departments and organizations of the Government, District Magistrates, Police Officers/Officials and local authorities of the state to ensure strict compliance with the latest directions of National Executive Committee (NEC).

Chairman SEC said that the guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs for surveillance, containment and caution have been issued and will remain in force upto 15 December, 2020. He said that the directions and guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution included in order of NEC on 25th November, 2020 are issued with further restrictions specifically required taking note of rise in Covid-19 positive cases in Himachal Pradesh.

He said that the order shall remain in force, in all parts of the state with immediate effect and till 15 December, 2020 or further orders.