Himachal calls off winter assembly session amid Covid surge

Due to the recent spurt in coronavirus cases, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided against convening the five-day winter assembly session proposed at Dharamshala.

The decision to cancel the winter session scheduled from December 7 to 11 was taken during a state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur here on Tuesday.

“After a detailed reviewing of the Covid-19 situation in the state, the cabinet recommended cancellation of the winter session of the Vidhan Sabha in the wake of a spike in cases and restrictions imposed on gatherings,” said the CM.

Opposition parties Congress and CPI (M) had insisted on holding the winter session of the state assembly in Shimla or Dharamshala. Congress had repeatedly maintained that the winter session was important to discuss the situation arising from coronavirus. Former CM Shanta Kumar had personally spoken to Jai Ram Thakur asking him to defer the winter session while veteran Congman Virbhadra Singh had favoured holding the same in Shimla.

The cabinet decided that all the ministers, MPs and MLAs would not hold any public functions and conduct only virtual functions by strictly adhering to the SOPs issued by the state government.

The cabinet made it mandatory to seek permissions from sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) for social gatherings.

It also decided that containment zones would be strictly enforced to break the chain of the virus. Random sampling would be done to identify affected persons at an early stage to avoid further transmission. All the ministers would ensure effective implementation of the ‘Him Surkasha’ campaign in their assigned districts. They would also ensure effective steps to contain Covid-19 cases at all levels, including reviewing arrangements in medical institutions.

It was also resolved that Mahila Mandals would be co-opted into Him Suraksha and anti-Covid campaigns. Young volunteers would also be involved in the campaign to carry the message of safety against Covid-19.

The cabinet also gave its approval to rename Government Degree College Lilh Kothi in Chamba district as Government New Model Degree College Lilh Kothi as its foundation stone was virtually laid by the Prime Minister.

Apart from this, setting up of Atal Tunnel security unit was also given nod. As part of this, 64 posts of different categories will be created — 32 each in Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts. Each security unit would be provided two 4×4 vehicles and a motorcycle for effective traffic management and policing.

In order to meet the parking needs and ensure smooth flow of traffic on all major roads across the state, the cabinet approved to make a provision for open to sky parking in the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Rules.

Cabinet decisions at a glance

·Minister, MPs and MLAs not to hold any public functions, except virtually

·Permission of respective SDMs mandatory for social gatherings

·Containment zones to be strictly enforced to break virus chain

·Random sampling to identify affected persons at early stage to curb transmission

·Atal Tunnel security unit to be set up

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