HP shuts educational institutions after spurt in COVID-19 cases

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Shimla, Nov 10 (PTI) Due to a spurt in COVID-19 cases, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to close all educational institutions for a fortnight, a minister said on Tuesday.

The state cabinet in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur decided to recommend to the Governor to convene the winter session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly from December 7 to 11, the minister said.

The decision to close educational institutions from November 11 to 25 was taken during the meeting here on Tuesday, parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj said.

Bhardwaj said the cabinet decided to grant special vacation to all government and private schools, colleges, ITIs, polytechnics, engineering colleges and coaching institutes from November 11 to 25 for students, teaching and non teaching staff in view of the COVID-19 situation.

The education institutions had recently opened after a lockdown was imposed in the state in March to check the spread of coronavirus.

The state cabinet also decided to recommend to the Governor to convene the state assembly winter session from December 7 to 11 in Dharamshala while it agreed on organising the next Janmanch on December 5.

It also approved to reduce the token tax to be charged on various class of vehicles.

A tax of 6 per cent would be charged on motorcycles and scooters priced up to Rs 1 lakh whereas it would be 7 per cent for those with a price tag of over Rs 1 lakh, he added.

Similarly, personal motor vehicles and construction equipment vehicles costing up to Rs 15 lakh will attract a token tax of 6 per cent while 7 per cent will be levied on those priced above Rs 15 lakh, he added.

The cabinet has decided to fill up 220 posts of pharmacists on contract basis, the minister said.

It has also decided to approve a ropeway project from Narkanda to Hatu Peak and allot the consortium of Randhawa Constructions Private Limited New Delhi and Q2A Solutions Limited Hong Kong on a public–private partnership (PPP) mode for a period of 40 years, he added. PTI DJI RHL