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Save Trees: HPSEB to slay 750 trees in Shimla for a 33 KW Substation



The project would devoid the villagers from the age old natural water resource and would be an ecological disaster in Shimla

750 trees, which are to be taken down, have already been marked

The state government has definitely no concern for the ecology of the state except printing ‘Save Trees’ on hoardings and papers. The plan approved to establish a new HPSEB substation in the Bhadai village near Sankat Mochan temple requires clearing of 750 trees, which have been already marked by the forest department.

The local residents are in a great distress as the project would result in a great damage to their local resources, especially, a natural water resource that lies just 50 feet below the suggested site, that serves the water needs of a major population of the Panchayat throughout the year. The Yovak Mandal of Bhadhai wrote an application to the Assistant Engineer of Jatog subdivision of HPSEEB requesting him to change the location of the project considering the following issues:

• The number of trees to be axed is very huge and every resident of the village and the nearby population is against this massacre. The forest holds a great emotional value for the villagers as they have been protecting it from fires and helped it expand by organized tree plantation activities from time to time.

• An age old natural resource of water, 50 feet below the site of the construction of the substation, provides pure drinking water to the villagers and they depend on the resource throughout the year. The cutting of trees is likely to damage the natural resource, which is against the policies created to conserve the water resources.
• The forest is the major feeding ground for the domestic animals. Hence, the construction of the substation would devoid the villagers from the local resources.

• Lastly, the villagers are worried about the over exploitation of the natural resources and deforestation, which are the results of the unethical steps taken on the name of development of Shimla by the state government.

The residents also approached Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, MLA Sohan Lal, Minster of Forest Jyanti Natraajan, and Forest Department. However, nothing could get an ear from anyone for their grievances. Here is the scanned copy of the letter that contains the issues, which the local resident have verified by putting their signatures on it.

It’s not about this specific plan, for which state government has ignored the ecological loss. The whole world and many Indian states are putting efforts to preserve the environment and plantation of trees, but Himachal Pradhesh government appears to be promoting deforestation without provoking any criticism from the opposition. Shimla has witnessed the massacre in Kanlog Shimla, where hundreds of Deodar trees have already been axed and more are likely to meet the same fate so that 24 private luxury apartments could be built. In another case, the state government laid the foundation stone of the new complex of Irrigation and Public Health Headquarters on Shimla bypass road, which requires clearing of approximately 50-60 trees.

It would be a ridiculous decision to choose such a location for any construction that demands sacrifice of 750 trees, unless there is a strong reason behind it. Why the forest areas with a higher tree density are being chosen for the construction of the private and the government infrastructure? Where are the laws protecting the trees and ecology? Is government saving the clear areas for the private firms or the planners aren’t actually acquainted with the phenomenon of climate change due to deforestation? The government is conserving the forest and the beauty of Himachal just in the papers. Otherwise, no state would agree to chop down such a huge number of trees.

Other than forwarding the complaint to the concerned government office, we request HW Community members and readers to support the local residents through their reactions against such an unwise government action. Your contribution helps in creating awareness among other members of our society and to play your part of the duty, as any responsible citizen of the state would do.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.


Amid grave water-crisis in Shimla town, Mayor on China tour for reason unknown





Himachal Watcher tried to confirm the urgency behind the Mayor’s visit to China in times of such crisis when she should have been brainstorming with her councillors to come out with a solution.

Shimla: The Mayor of Shimla town, Kusum Sadret, on Friday left for China, away from the chaos caused by the ongoing water-crisis that has reached an alarming level. Her Ward Councilors are shocked that the Mayor did not even conduct a single meeting to attend to the water crisis in the town, which is only worsening with each passing day.

Yesterday, she remained in the news as SMC supplied ‘sewerage contaminated’ water to the residents of Kanlog Ward. The public and opposition parties are seeking action against the responsible officials for playing with the health of the people by supplying them contaminated water in a time of acute water shortage.

This is not the only reason to worry. The people are forced to fetch water from natural water sources, which are already declared contaminated. Sadly, the Government and the SMC forgot the deadly jaundice outbreak in 2016 that had killed about 32 people within a few months.

The Mayor doesn’t deserve to be at the SMC because she has failed on every front ranging from sanitation to supply of clean and sufficient drinking water to the people, the former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan said.

He has demanded that the government should take the matter seriously and initiate criminal proceedings against the responsible officials. Meanwhile, the Councillors had yesterday planned a protest and gherao of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. However, they did not find them in office.

The public is receiving a supply of water after a gap of four to five days in most wards while some others are going without water for over a week now.

The water-crisis has brought the hospitality industry in Shimla on its knees. People are forced to buy mineral water as public taps and filters in offices, schools, hospitals are running dry for days. The Shimla Municipal Corporation doesn’t even have sufficient water-tankers to make up for the shortage of water.

A sort of protest erupted among the people as well as the Councilors against the Mayor. The Mayor was even gheraoed by the people in some localities.

While the protest of the Congress Ward Councilors demanding the resignation of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was obvious, Bhartiya Janata Party’s own Councilors have come out openly criticizing the way Mayor left them behind to face the wrath of the people.

Leaving the battleground at such a time is condemnable.

It appeared that there must be some urgent reason behind discarding distressed people from the list of her priorities for a visit to foreign.

Himachal Watcher tried to confirm the urgency behind the Mayor’s visit to China in times of such crisis when she should have been brainstorming with her Councillors to come out with a solution. The Deputy Mayor did not pick up the phone. Everyone else at the Shimla Municipal Corporation said they were not aware of the purpose of the visit.

When Himachal Watcher contacted the MC Commissioner, Rohit Jamwal, he also denied having any knowledge regarding the purpose of this visit of the mayor. The Commissioner also denied having any knowledge regarding the return of the Mayor.

He said he could only confirm that she has left for China.

The only hint available is some unofficial reports that suggested that Sadret would be attending the International Mayor’s Conference in China. Otherwise, her visit is a sort of secret mission, which is why no one is aware of it. Maybe, she’ll bring a solution to the ongoing chaos from China.

The Councilors are blank as the people of their wards demand supply of water on at least alternate days. The Mayor made a wrong choice, the Councillors agreed, adding that a leader should not run away when the people need him/her most.

The public can be heard comparing the tenure of Sanjay Chauhan with Kusum Sadret. We were better off with previous MC, a couple of shopkeepers at Boileauganj heard discussing.

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400 fire watchers deployed, Rs. 1.75 cr. sanctioned for checking forest fires in Himachal: Forest Minister



Forest fires in himachal pradesh

Shimla: The Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh Govind Singh Thakur today informed that four hundred fire watchers have been deputed across the State and added that Rs. 1.75 crore has been sanctioned by the GoI for checking and management of fire incidents in the State.

Every year, forest fires in summers turn a large amount of forest wealth to ashes. 

He said that State government has started a new project from this year for management of fire incidents by spending Rs. 1 crore additionally.

He also claimed that with a view to check the number of forest fire incidents in the State, the department implemented an awareness campaign in the month of March which proved effective and a lot of support and cooperation is coming from people in tackling fire incidents.

He said that about 9500 people got connected to the website of Forest Survey of India Dehradun which proved helpful to them in receiving information about fire incidents in their areas.

He said that the department also started a toll-free number for receiving this information. He said that the information regarding fire incidents is coming faster this year as compared to previous years due to these measures and action is being taken instantly.

He urged the people of the State to extend support to the department.

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Himachal to launch Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign along with plantation of 15 lakh plants



Plastic Hatao Paryavaran bachao campaign

Shimla: While the two Municipal Corporations of Himachal Pradesh and Municipal Councils of various towns are nowhere near the solid waste segregation and proper disposal, the State Environment, Science and Technology will be launching a week-long ‘Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign’ from May 27 to June 2, 2018, across the State to motivate people for the elimination of polythene and protection of the environment, Director D.C. Rana informed on Friday.

He said that this campaign would be coordinated in each district by urban local bodies and PRIs under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner.

Cooperation of all government offices, NGO’s would also be sought. Public representatives, MLA’s, Ministers would also be approached for motivating people towards shunning polythene and protecting the environment.

Efforts would also be made for cleaning of water bodies, areas near water sources, tourist places etc, during the campaign, he added.

Plantation Drive during HP Van Mahotsava

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) G.S. Goraya on Friday informed that 15 lakh plants would be planted in the state during three days plantation campaign after holding of State Level Van Mahotsava between 9 to July 15 this year.

A plantation campaign would be taken up throughout the state for three days starting two days after holding of State level Van Mahotsava between the said dates. In addition to the local communities, all members of H.P. Vidhan Sabha would also be requested to participate in the planting campaign at any of the sites on the date convenient to them.

The matter regarding the implementation of Reward Scheme for the staff of the Forest department, communities, and schools, which are doing good work in nursery raising, carrying out plantations, and forest protection work, was also discussed.

Fields officers were requested to send their suggestions on criteria to be fixed to judge good performances for purpose of nominating and finalizing the recipients of the proposed rewards.

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