Dharamshala: Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday here announced that on the 50th anniversary of statehood, Himachal would be celebrating the year starting 25th January 2021 by holding 51 major events in different parts of the state. At Pong Dam Lake a major water sports event would be held.
On having completed 3 years in office, the chief minister at a media conference said that the COVID-19 spread had badly affected the state’s economy and development over the past year.
“With a significant reduction in COVID patients and indications of the pandemic being contained, the government intended to make up for the last year’s deficit in development works in the new year,” said Thakur.
About the conduct of the local bodies and panchayat elections, he said that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) had been issued to contain the spread of the pandemic but even if there is a rise in the number of coronavirus infections, the government was ready to deal with the situation.
“We have asked the election candidates to avoid organising large rallies during canvassing and hosting of mass lunches (Dhams) as victory celebrations. According to the infection data over the last few weeks, COVID is on the decline in the state, but still, we are not allowing gatherings of more than 50 persons, said Jai Ram Thakur.
For increasing COVID care beds in the state, the chief minister said a prefabricated ward had been set up at IGMC, Shimla and another 3 were coming up at Tanda, Mandi, and Nalagarh. Where before the COVID breakout, there were only 50 ventilators in the state, now there are 700 ventilators, he said.
When quizzed about the poor air connectivity in the state, the chief minister said that the government had approached the finance commission with two priority projects, a greenfield airport at Mandi and for expansion of the Dharamsala airport at Gaggal.
No Bird Flu Case Reported at Poultry Farms
Giving details about the spread of bird flu in the Pong Dam wetland area, the chief minister said that till Saturday 3464 migratory birds had died due to H5N1 flu in the area.
“Few crows have also found dead in some other areas of the state, which is a really serious concern and the experts are keeping a watch over the situation,” he said adding, “90% of these deaths have been reported among Bar Headed Geese, though there are about 24 species migratory birds that have been reported to have died because of bird flu.
Jai Ram said that 55 teams of wildlife experts and 10 teams from the animal husbandry departments have been deployed in the area. “We have declared a 1 km area from the infection area as an alert zone and next 10 km as a surveillance zone so as to restrict human and animal activity in the region,” he said.
The chief minister said that so far there was no bird flu case reported in any of the poultry farms of the state.