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Rs. 1134 crore Horticulture project for revitalization: Smt. Stokes

Taking strong exception on the news item appeared in some section of press related to the Import of Planting Material, Horticulture Minister Smt. Vidya Stokes has today categorically denied  and described it as  false and misleading  to have been planted with malicious intention at the instance of vested interests involved in malpractices such as sale of uncertified plant material and bud woods.

Smt. Stokes said the news item was aimed at sabotaging the unique efforts of the Government to bring about paradigm and radical change in the horticulture sector through the implementation of externally aided World Bank Project worth Rs. 1134 crores for transformation and revitalization of Horticulture Sector in this hilly state.

Horticulture Minister said the project design was to address the constraints which Horticulture sector is presently facing such as low productivity, lack of assured irrigation facilities, fierce competition from abroad due to free international trade, more frequent weather related shocks etc. Major focus of the project interventions is also to undertake agglomeration of small and marginal farmers, to improve economies of scale in production, marketing and processing.

Smt. Stokes said that in this endeavor,  CSIR lab at Palampur in its report categorically and clearly reported that viruses which were suspected as per visual observations in few plants(5 numbers only) in one variety at PCDO Duttnagar had been ruled out .  She clarified that earlier the report issued by  the Designated Agency for the State was based on the procedure which was less precise as compared to techniques being used by the CSIR Lab. Hence it was absolutely wrong to spread such ill founded and baseless rumours in public and the propaganda made is ill founded and not based on the scientific facts.

It  is envisaged to introduce the best germ plasma which interalia included the root stocks and varieties of different temperate fruits in the state.  For this purpose, preference of growers, views and suggestions of Horticulture University were the key considerations for the finalization of the kind of varieties and root stocks imported during the year 2016. The government imported latest improved varieties and root stock suitable for agro-climatic conditions of the state following competitive bidding process of the World Bank. We ensured that planting material was disease free and for that these plants remained under quarantine for one year under the strict supervision of designated inspecting authority. The authority issued advisories which were followed in letter and spirit.

As regards, the second point raised in the news report regarding the training not being imparted to the farmers, it is clarified that this project is a comprehensive one and period of implementation is seven years. The trainings and capacity building of the farmers is a major component and is taken care of. There are districts in the state where 80%  of suitable land is not yet covered  under fruit trees  like Chamba, Sirmaur, Lahaul & Spiti and in few blocks in districts of Shimla, Mandi, Kangra and Kullu. These plants were basically imported for these areas and not for re-planting the old and senile orchards.  It is, therefore, unfounded claim by the few people that no efforts are being made to solve out the problem, in fact the persons quoted in the paper  seems only concerned with their  orchards.

Clarifying allegation of “tearing hurry” shown by the project authorities without  getting the feedback from the farmers. It is mentioned that wider consultations were made  with the growers, various stakeholders  agencies and farmers bodies  and written feedback was also  taken by the Department of Horticulture from all its districts agencies regarding importing of various varieties and root stocks before the import process was initiated.  As a result of this assessment, almost 60000 plants have already been distributed to the farmers  in various clusters  across the State. Had there been no demand for these varieties, the situation would have been otherwise. It is therefore, absolutely false to say that wider consultations with farmers were not undertaken.  Bidding process as per World Bank guidelines were followed while procurement. spreading false propaganda was detrimental to the betterment of the horticulture.

She reiterated that our state was also late by 40 years in introducing and establishing clonal rootstocks  as the seedling based technology elsewhere in apple growing countries seems to exist  about 40-50 years back. It was due to this reason that such a big project had been conceived  by the State Government and approved by the World Bank on merit.

Smt. Stokes clarified that during the bidding process, the requirement was mentioned for EMLA and Geneva rootstocks but for the information of all, no nursery was ready to supply EMLA and Geneva rootstocks. As regards, Geneva rootstocks was concerned, it is informed that no plant material of Geneva rootstocks is available in the market which is clear from the bidding process.

As regard to Department has made pre mature deal with a shady importing company  through a commission agent to benefit few people. , she said that no import had been made through any commission agent as offers were invited from only registered and recognized nurseries in the world. Three companies participated in the bidding process and order was placed to L-1 suppliers as per the World Bank and State Government guidelines.  She said that before dispatching the material from Itlay, a competitive and technically sound Professor Dr. Satish Sharma of Department of Plant Pathology of UHF Nauni visited Italy and report was submitted by him about quality and competitiveness of the material. The plant material was inspected by the Plant Protection Department at Mumbai Port also. Therefore giving baseless statements was just to betray the interests of the horticulturists of the State, she asserted.

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CM dedicates projects worth Rs 16.34 crore in Paonta Sahib

Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh on last day of his tour to district Sirmaur was in Paonta Sahib Constituency today where he inaugurated 33/11 KV Controlling Sub Station, Badripur constructed with an outlay of Rs. 4.86 crore, Water Supply Scheme, Kunja Matralion completed by incurring      Rs. 94 Lakh. He also inaugurated Rs. 3.76 crore, 33/11 KV Controlling Sub Station, Rampurghat and Water Supply Scheme, Taruwala completed with an outlay of Rs.1.78 crore. Lastly, the Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of Degree College at Bharli for which an initial provision of Rs. 5 crore has been made.

During the three days tour to the district the Chief Minister dedicated projects worth Rs 60.12 crore.

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Save Himachal from mafia rule : BJP

Takes out its first rally from Bilaspur

The BJP on Tuesday took out its first rally from Bilaspur here as part of its programme to save the State from ‘mafia rule’.

Former Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal led the procession and addressed a huge gathering of party workers. He was accompanied by State party president Satpal Satti, vice-president Randhir Sharma and former MP Suresh Chandel.

‘Terrorising public’

The leaders claimed that the public, especially the government employees in the State, were being terrorised by the Congress government.

A recent audio clipping had exposed Bilaspur MLA Bumber Thakur as demanding an illegal disability certificate from a doctor, they claimed.

In the video, he was allegedly seen threatening the doctor with dire consequences and an immediate transfer to some tribal area if his request was not fulfilled. The Congress MLA had also purportedly slapped an IFS officer on duty a few days ago for not working according to his wishes.

‘CM patronising mafia’

The BJP leaders claimed that Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his colleagues were patronising such elements who were openly threatening the public. “There is an organised drug, mining, liquor, land and forest mafia in the State. This type of atmosphere was unthinkable a few years ago,” the leaders claimed.

The State employees are the biggest organised section of voters in Himachal, and their support is decisive in any elections here.

Source :The Hindu 

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Finally, Himachal Pradesh to have tigers at Renuka

More than two years after the entire pride of lions got wiped out from the state’s popular lion safari at Renuka, the place will soon have a pair of young tigers. This will be first time when Himachal Pradesh, which has a rich bio-diversity, will play host to tigers whose population in India started showing signs of improvement in the recent years.

State’s new Chief Wildlife Warden, said “After a long effort of the wildlife department to bring a pair of tigers, we are finally successful. The Delhi zoo management has agreed to provide a pair to us. The lion safari has been lying deserted after the last Asiatic lion died in 2015.”

“We are in the process of designing the new enclosures for the tigers as per guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and making other arrangements. If things go as per plans, the visitors to Renuka will be able to see the tigers by May-June 2017,” Sharma said.

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Himachal Pradesh to develop smart hill city near Waknaghat with Singapore

Himachal governments would develop Waknaghat, 20 km from here on Shimla-Kalka national highway, as a Smart Hill town, in collaboration with the Singapore government. The state government will sign an MoU with the Singapore government on February 27 to build the first ‘smarty hill town’ spread over 450 Bighas (90 acres) with an investment of Es 2,500 crore, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said.
The Chief Minister who was reviewing the progress of various schemes being implemented by Municipal Corporation (MC) Shimla said the Smart Hill town will have all the facilities of International Standards.
New planned settlements will be created so as to reduce congestion and the township would be developed in a balanced manner, he added.
Briefing the CM on the Smart Hill City, Urban development Minister Sudhir Sharma said it is expected to throw up ample opportunities in hospitality, health, wellness and education sectors.

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Biodiversity Act to be implemented soon in entire Himachal

The Biodiversity Act of 2002 will be implemented in the entire Himachal Pradesh soon so that all gram panchayats could avail its benefits, state Chief Secretary V.C. Pharka said on Thursday.

Speaking at the inaugural session of a training workshop on “Mainstreaming biodiversity: Sustaining people and their livelihoods”, organised by the Himachal Pradesh State Biodiversity Board here, Pharka said the Biodiversity Board in the state was constituted in 2005.

In the first phase, it was implemented in Chamba, Kullu, Sirmaur and Shimla districts. Under the act, the benefits to be achieved through conservation and sustainable use of bio-resources would be given to the panchayats.

He urged the representatives of the Panchayati Raj institutions to generate mass awareness about the act so that the objective of sustainable utilisation of biological resources could be realised.

Pharka said the work on preparation of People’s Biodiversity Register has already been taken up. It would be a document of local biodiversity and traditional knowledge related to it and would go a long way in protecting the rights of the local people.

He said biodiversity management committee would be constituted at panchayat level which would work for preparing People’s Biodiversity Register with the technical support from the state biodiversity board.

–IANS

(This story has not been edited by Himachal Network staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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In Himachal Pradesh hanging suicide becoming preferred mode

On January 20, Richa Dhiman (24) , an actress, was found dead in her rented room in Dharamshala. The budding actress had committed suicide by hanging from the ceiling fan. On Saturday, a 15-year-old class 9 girl student was found hanging inside her room in Shillai sub division of Sirmaur district.
In Himachal Pradesh hanging has become one of the preferred mode of committing suicide.
A recent study has revealed that males (68.85%) predominate females (31.15%) and highest number of incidence was found in the 21-40 age group (66.38%). Most of the victims were married (70.49%). An analysis of forensic cases of hanging suicides was conducted by S K Pal, A Sehgal and A Rana from Biology and Serology Division, Regional Forensic Science Laboratory, Northern Range, Dharamshala, A Sharma from Directorate of Forensic Science, Shimla Hills, Junga, and N Kaushik from Biology and Serology Division, State Forensic Science Laboratory, Shimla Hills, Junga.
The study was conducted on 122 cases of suicidal hanging at Regional Forensic Science Laboratory, Northern Range, Dharamshala from September 2009 to December, 2014 and was published in the International Journal of Forensic Science & Pathology (IJFP) on December 21 last year.
According to occupation, 32.78% cases belonged to housewives followed by students in 13.11% cases. 90.16% victims hailed from rural zones. Physical illness, psychiatric illness/mental disorder were the most common factors in 36.06% cases followed by quarrel with spouse in 11.47% cases.
In the month of January to April, 36.88% cases were reported and most of the people (74.59%) preferred indoor closed locations. Rope (43.44%) was the most commonly used ligature material followed by chunni/dupatta (40.16%).

 Iron girder/beams were used for hanging in 39.34% cases followed by ceiling fan and ceiling hook in 36.06% cases. Dribbling of saliva was present in 64.75% cases. Seminal discharge was observed in 30.32% cases and urinary incontinence in 42.62% cases.
Cyanosis on mouth, tongue and face was noticed in 51.63%, ecchymosis in 36.06% and petechial haemorrhages in 46.72% cases.
Via : @TOI
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India gets its first igloo hotel in Manali

Pack your woollens and head straight to Manali because your childhood dream of spending a night inside an igloo is about to be fulfilled.

Don’t rub your eyes in disbelief. Instead express your utmost gratitude to Vikas Kumar and Tashi Dorje, winter-sport specialists, who are bringing you an unusual experience – spending a night inside an igloo against the beautiful landscape of Manali.

I know it’s cold, but just look at it..

The duo started this one-of-its-kind hotel in India only recently and so far has built two fully functional igloos. But hurry up, as February is the last month this year for you to experience this unique concept. Unless extreme winter comes calling soon late-2017.

And to make it even more exciting, the duo have clubbed it with they do best – along with the stay, visitors can opt for various winter activities like skiing, tube sliding, snow sledging and even build their own igloo!

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One night stay on a twin-sharing basis, including equipment for snow activities, will make you lighter by Rs 5,600 per head. The hotel also provides warm feather sleeping bags with extra fleece and a thick foam mattress, just to make sure you are all comfy and cosy. And travellers who are not into adventure sports can opt for their stay at Rs 4,600 for a single night. People can spend up to two nights at an altitude over 2,700m, for Rs 6,800 per head. And don’t worry if you don’t get a reservation, then you can simply enjoy a day at the igloo camp filled with winter activities and fun all for Rs 2,700.

You can learn more about the igloo stay and make your booking on their website keylinga.com. For more information, contact them on +919459996999.

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Photographs courtesy: Facebook

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Scheme for giving proprietary rights to small and marginal farmers who have encroached upon public land

Himachal Government is contemplating to bring a scheme for giving proprietary rights to small and marginal farmers of the State on Government land to provide them one-time relief.

This came out in a meeting of High Powered Committee, constituted by the State Government to assess and review the encroachment cases in the State held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Health, Revenue and Law Minister Kaul Singh Thakur.

Thakur said that the State Government was committed towards welfare of the small and marginal farmers. He said that the Government has drafted a scheme to protect the livelihood rights of the small and marginal farmers. However, the Government was also committed to take strict action against the big encroachers as per the law, he added.

The Revenue Minister said a scheme to confer proprietary rights to a maximum of five  bighas of land in rural areas had been prepared in such a manner that own land of the person and the land conferred did not exceed a total of 10 bighas, provided that the remaining land in possession was vacated. He said that the proprietary rights were proposed to be conferred at nominal rates. For conferment of Proprietary Rights, the person would have to apply in writing to the concerned SDO (Civil) or Assistant Settlement Officers where settlement operations were in process.

The Minister said that land being used for common village purposes such as roads, forest, fair grounds and other common purposes would not be conferred. He said that in those cases where the possessor stands already evicted within two years of the cut-off date would also be considered for conferment subject to the condition that the cases had been recorded before August, 2015.

Thakur said that the State government would also consider the exchange of private land in lieu of encroached government land by the farmers. He said that the Scheme would be placed before the Cabinet for approval.

The Revenue Minister said that in cases where clearance under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 was mandatory would be taken with the Government of India for exemption on humanitarian grounds and for determination of the Rights of possessors.

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Pay HRTC through Paytm, says Bali

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) would soon start payments through Paytm on all advance web and counter bookings, Transport Minister G S Bali today said.

He said 200 POS machines for payment through Debit/Credit cards would be installed from February 20 at all booking counters and the conductors of super luxury buses would also be provided these machines.For ensuring that quality food served by dhabas and restaurantsit has been decided that a fine of Rs 5,000 would be imposed on the owners for first complaint while it would be Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 for second and third complaint. Any further complaint would attract blacklisting for three years, he said.

 

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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