Himachal likely to consider imposing curfew in 4 districts, 5-day office for govt employees

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday announced to enforce five days office and sixth days work from home for all the state government employees till December 15 to break the coronavirus chain.

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday announced to enforce five days office and sixth days work from home for all the state government employees till December 15 to break the coronavirus chain. Moreover, the chief minister also said that the state government would also consider imposing a curfew from 9 pm to 6 am in the four districts – Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, and Kangra.

This decision by the Jai Ram Thakur government comes amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the state. He had earlier told that the administration is taking all the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus. The decision was taken by CM Thakur during a review meeting over COVID-19 with the district officials.

Earlier, the state government had announced to close all the schools, colleges, and other educational institutions in the state till December 31.

Petrol price at Rs 89/litre in Mumbai, and diesel at Rs 72.42/litre in Delhi

The prices of petrol and diesel in New Delhi and Mumbai remained unchanged on November 30 as compared to the previous day.

While the price of diesel in the national capital was Rs 72.42 per litre, petrol price was Rs 82.34 per litre. In the financial capital, the price of petrol per litre stood at Rs 89.02. The price of diesel per litre stood at Rs 78.97.

According to the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), the price of both, petrol and diesel, fell marginally in Haryana’s Gurugram, Uttar Pradesh’s Noida and Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Here are the petrol and diesel prices in major cities (November 30, 2020):

CityPetrol PriceDiesel Price
New DelhiRs 82.34Rs 72.42
MumbaiRs 89.02Rs 78.97
KolkataRs 83.87Rs 75.99
ChennaiRs 85.31Rs 77.84
BengaluruRs 85.09Rs 76.77
HyderabadRs 85.64Rs 79.02
JaipurRs 89.63Rs 81.47
ThiruvananthapuramRs 84.59Rs 78.36
PatnaRs 85.02Rs 77.88
LucknowRs 82.55Rs 72.76

Blocked borders fuel concerns of rising price of essential items in Delhi

It is mostly wholesale supply that has taken a hit with hundreds of trucks not being able to enter the city. According to the Azadpur Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Azadpur, supply in the market dropped by 50-60% in the last two days with trucks from Punjab and Haryana unable to reach the market.

Barricades, clashes, and a group of determined farmers blocking Delhi’s borders with Haryana, waiting for their grievances to be heard, has hit supplies of fruits and vegetable to the Capital. Traders, however, said there is no shortage yet. But the ripples of the protest is likely to show in the coming days, they warn.

It is mostly wholesale supply that has taken a hit with hundreds of trucks not being able to enter the city. According to the Azadpur Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Azadpur, supply in the market dropped by 50-60% in the last two days with trucks from Punjab and Haryana unable to reach the market.

Aadil Ahmad Khan, chairman of Azadpur APMC, said, “We usually get 2,000-3,000 trucks in the market. But only 666 trucks arrived on Friday and around 1,000 on Saturday. The supply has been affected by 50-60% in the past few days and will be impacted further if the protest is not called off. The government should talk to the farmers and find a solution. The problem is the same at Okhla mandi as well.”

Traders at Azadpur market said the supply of potato, apple and other seasonal fruits has been affected, as these largely come from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Trucks with fruits and vegetable supply are stuck at NH-1 and NH-10, the two main links between Haryana and Delhi, at Singhu and Tikri borders,hitting supplies of essentials in Delhi.

Meeta Ram Kriplani, president of the Chamber of Association of Fruits and Vegetable traders at Azadpur, said, “Vegetable supply has fallen by 50% and fruits by 70%. The goods are stuck on the highway. These are all perishable items. Vegetables and fruits are supplied all across the country from here. It will impact the business.”

While some traders said they are getting supply from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and trying to get bring in goods stuck at the borders using smaller vehicles, others said these perishable items wouldn’t last long.

Delhi gets most of its milk and vegetable supplies from Haryana and the situation is likely to get worse in the coming days if the farmers’ agitation continues.

“Vehicles are parked on both sides of the road, stretching out for nearly three kilometres,” says Naresh Kumar, a truck driver from Himachal Pradesh. His truck, loaded with apples, has been stranded near the Kundli border for the past two days.

Charan Singh, CEO of the Rohtak Vita Milk Plant, said farmers were supplying them 1.10 lakh litres of milk every day as before. However, after consumption of 50 ,000 litres per day at the Rohtak plant, the remaining 60,000 litres sent to the Kundli plant for making milk powder was instead being sent to Pehowa in Kurukshetra because of the blockades. “Our transportation cost and other expenditure has increased,” he added.

However, even as an advisory was issued by Sonepat police sometime back asking travellers to avoid NH44 as farmers had blocked it and use NH-71A to reach Delhi via Gurugram, Buana, Narela and Safiyabad, Rajshree Singh, Haryana IGP traffic, told Hindustan Times that there was no blockade anywhere from Ambala to Rai. Police personnel, however, had been monitoring the situation after traffic jams had been reported from Rai, she added.

Mohd Sayeed, who deals in potatoes and apples at Okhla Agriculture Produce Market Committee , said that apples are anyway in short supply this year due to the Covid pandemic. “We were expecting supply last week, but the trucks got stuck due to snowfall. Now due to the farmers’ protest, it is going to get further delayed.”

Onion trader at Okhla, Haji Yamin, too voiced apprehensions. “Currently, there is no problem at , although we are getting 10-15% less stock. We source onions from Alwar. The ongoing protest has scared the farmers in neighbouring states, who earlier used to come to the mandi directly to sell their produce. Very few farmers from Rajasthan and other neighbouring states are coming to Delhi, as they fear that they will get stuck at the Delhi borders,” Yamin, who is the president of the onion traders’ association at Okhla APMC said.

But some traders at APMCs in Delhi are working to maintain the supply chain. Nand Gopal, a trader at Azadpur APMC, said, “Trucks are taking a detour and entering Delhi from Gurugram and other borders. This will not affect the cost of the goods much. But if the situation persists, then it will lead to a problem.”

At Ghazipur mandi, traders said the supply of potato and other vegetables has dropped. “If the situation continues, it will be a huge problem. For the past two days, supply in the market is down by 30-40%,” said Ashok Khera, a vegetable trader at Ghazipur.

So far there has been no increase in retail prices of fruits and vegetables, as there is currently no shortage of fruits and vegetables in the Capital. Suraj Singh, area manager of Honey Money Top, “We were anticipating shortage of fruits and vegetables in the mandis. But so far it hasn’t happened. Therefore, there is no increase in retail price.”

Resource: HT

At Himachal weddings, mask norm given a miss

Palampur November 29

With marriage functions proving to be one of the biggest spreaders of Covid cases in Himachal Pradesh, the Palampur, Baijnath and Jaisinghpur administrations have begun conducting checks at these events.

The authorities are visiting marriage functions to check if the cap of 50 on the guest count is being adhered to and the attendees are wearing masks and sticking to social distancing norms.

“In most cases, we found that people were not wearing masks at weddings,” said Pawan Sharma, SDM, Jaisinghpur, who inspected four wedding functions. Officials in Baijnath and Palampur are also conducting similar checks. Their teams visited Makkar, Harsi, Kachayal, Jagya and Lambagaon villages in the last two days. “Families have to obtain prior permission for the weddings. Though they’re briefed about the norms, we are carrying out the checks to doubly ensure the rules are being followed,” said Sharma.

The SDM said the cap on the number of invitees was being followed at most gatherings but the ‘mandatory mask’ directive was hardly being obeyed. The violators had been let off with a mere warning but in future, penalties would be slapped on them, he warned.

Himanshi Khurana celebrates birthday with Asim Riaz

Asim Riaz made ladylove Himanshi Khurana’s birthday ‘extra special’ as he turned the biggest cheerleader for her and left fans going gaga over their bond. Take a look at AsiManshi’s viral video here.

Remember how Asim Riaz tried to ‘impress’ Himanshi Khurana with a special heart-shaped paratha last year on her birthday in the Bigg Boss 13 house? Well, that sweetest AsiManshi moment is still ‘the best’ for the couple’s fans. However, today (November 27) on Himanshi’s birthday, Asim has given fans another adorable moment to smile, and fans are all hearts for it.

Asim has added sparkle to Himanshi’s birthday yet again but turning it a cheerleader for her. The handsome hunk has left no stones unturned to make his ladylove feel extra special and loved. Himanshi is celebrating her birthday in Mohali with her family and beau Asim. A video of Himanshi’s ‘happening birthday’ celebrations have gone viral on social media, and fans cannot stop crushing over AsiManshi. In the clip, one can see fireworks are going off in the distance, while Himanshi’s closed ones are gathered in a beautiful lawn-barista setting. 

While there are several people in the video, one can spot Asim Riaz, cheering for his ladylove, embracing her and showering her with all his love. This is not all. An ecstatic Asim then goes on to declare loudly and happily that Himanshi is the best and deserves the best. Upon listening to Asim’s sweet words, Himanshi’s family go on to cheer for her and Asim, making her beam in happiness. Well, Asim’s love for Himanshi has moved many and the duo’s fans are left gawking. 

Himanshi’s birthday bash was beautifully decorated with heart balloons, cakes, and lights. The Punjabi star looked ethereal in a long off-shoulder dress, while Asim looked handsome in cool casuals. What are your thoughts on the same?

‘Odisha IFS officer who took 20 chartered flights during lockdown arrested’: Vigilance officials

A day after Odisha vigilance department finished its nationwide raids on the premises of senior Indian Forest Service Abhay Pathak for his ‘unaccounted riches’, the sleuths on Friday arrested him along with his son. The raids revealed the lavish lifestyle of the officer disproportionate to his known sources of income. Pathak was suspended by the state government after his arrest.

Pathak, a 1987-batch IFS officer, working as the additional principal chief conservator of forests (plan, programme and afforestation) of Odisha since June 2018, was arrested after vigilance officials conducted raids across 13 places, including his official residence in Bhubaneswar, his office, his apartment, the apartment of his nephew, driver’s house, his house at his native village in Bihar, luxury apartments and farmhouse in Pune and residence of his son’s manager at Samata Colony, Pune.

His son Abhay Pathak, possessed expensive vehicles like Mercedes, BMW and Tata Harrier as well as high-end bikes such as Yamaha FZS motorcycles, was also arrested.

The arrests came after a team of over 150 vigilance officials, including chartered accountants, bank officials and cyber cell, rummaged through documents and other records of Pathak and his family.

The father-son duo was medically examined before they were produced before a local court. Both of them denied the allegations of amassing disproportionate assets.

“My son gets a salary of Rs 1 crore a month. I have no ill-gotten wealth and everything is legal,” Pathak said while his son said they were being framed. A special vigilance team last night grilled Pathak, his son, nephew Harsh and his driver.

During the search ops in the last two days, the vigilance sleuths found that Pathak and his family had made at least 20 trips to different cities across the country through chartered planes at an expenditure of over Rs 3 crores during the lockdown. It was found that Pathak made cash deposits of about Rs 9.4 crores in the bank accounts of his son, out of which about Rs 8.4 crores was deposited in Bhubaneswar through ATMs. During the house search and subsequent inquiry, cash worth around Rs 60 lakh was found along with gold ornaments weighing 800 grams. He was found to own an 8,000 sq ft luxurious apartment with ivory-crusted bed.

The officials also found hotel bills worth more than Rs 90 lakhs at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, and a booking amount of Rs 20 lakhs at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur in Rajasthan for the upcoming marriage of his son with the daughter of a senior BJD politician from Ganjam district.

Officials said Pathak was found in possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 9.35 crore which was 435 per cent of his total income from all known sources. Accordingly, a case under several sections of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018, has been registered against the officer and his son. The father-son duo was remanded to judicial custody till December 9.

Vigilance department officials said as huge cash deposits were made in private banks through deposit slips and ATM counters and high-value transactions have been made in the accounts, details of operations of the concerned banks in this regard are being probed. Similarly, since the bookings and payments concerning chartered flights have been made through Bhubaneswar-based travel agencies, their role is being investigated. Details of income tax returns are being ascertained. Investments in shares, mutual funds and other market instruments are also being probed. The aspects of benami transactions and properties are also being looked into.

In view of the expanding scope of investigation, a 20 member SIT has been formed to thoroughly investigate all aspects.

Pathak’s son Akash was allegedly cheating people of money, promising to get them jobs at Tata Motors by falsely claiming to be a managing director at Tata Motors. The company in May had complained with the CID against Akash, accusing him of committing cheating, forgery and impersonating as the MD of the company.

Reference: HT

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