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World Bank grants a $37 million additional loan for Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project

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Project Signing: Government of India and World Bank Sign $37 Million Additional Financing Agreement for Himachal Pradesh Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project – 40,000 Farmer Households to Benefit

NEW DELHI, November 20 2012 – The government of India, the government of Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank today signed a $37 million additional credit agreement for the ongoing Himachal Pradesh Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project to support the government of Himachal Pradesh build sustainable watershed treatment models.

The original $60 million Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project is aimed at reversing the process of degradation of the natural resource base, improve productivity, and raise rural household incomes. So far around 6,151 water harvesting tanks, 1,093 ponds/tanks, 287 dams, 263 lift/gravity irrigation schemes, 43 small underground tanks used for irrigation — also known as makowal structures — and 203 km of irrigation channels have been developed under the project. The benefits from these structures have reached some 100,000 families.

The project has converted about 9,000 ha of rainfed area into irrigated land through watershed management techniques. At the mid-term review (November 9-18, 2009), there was an increase in yields of paddy (236 percent), maize (163 percent), and wheat (90 percent), which has surpassed the end-of-project target of 50 percent. The increase in milk yield was 11 percent. It has also played a vital role in reversing the degradation of natural resources and has brought about significant increase in biomass and water availability in project areas, allowing expansion of irrigated lands with subsequent improvements in agriculture yield and household income.

The additional funding will consolidate some of the gains made in the original project by adding another 102 contiguous gram panchayats (village councils) to the existing 602 gram panchayats that fall within the same micro-catchment area where the Project is operational, but are not included in the on-going project; consolidate drainage line treatment in areas that fall within the same drainage line that are already being treated; consolidate some of the agri-businesses which can be replicated by other projects; and increase the financial allocation to support cost overruns, due to price escalation. Such additional watershed treatment for panchayats that fall in the same river basins is expected to maximize impact and ensure the long term hydrological sustainability of the region.

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The agreement for the Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project was signed by Prabodh Saxena on behalf of the government of India, Bharathi Sihag, Principle Secretary, Forest, on behalf of the government of Himachal Pradesh and Michael Haney, Operations Advisor, World Bank, India on behalf of the World Bank.

At the mid-term review, overall household incomes rose by 13 percent. This is largely being attributed to the Project’s extension services, in particular, improved agricultural production technologies and market linkages. About 10,000 farmers benefited from cultivating and marketing high value crops, such as vegetables and spices. The Project grouped 1,500 farmers into milk federations and established links with milk chilling plants.

“The ongoing project has achieved many milestones on its path to achieving its desired objectives. We hope this additional financing to Himachal Pradesh will help the state scale up its efforts at enhancing its natural resource base and contribute to improving the livelihoods of the people living in rainfed areas,” said Michael Haney, Operations Advisor, World Bank, India.

In this project, producer companies will add value to agriculture products and improve their marketing capacity. Revolving funds will provide capital to small farmers and their groups to invest in machinery, tools and inputs that will generate a return on investment and, therefore, become a source of further investments in similar items, in a revolving fashion. Interventions to reduce erosion and water runoff through check dams, biomass (planting grass and trees), building water harvesting structures, and putting in place a monitoring system to manage the overall hydrological (water) balance, will help increase the overall availability of water, intensify irrigation, thereby, improving farmers’ incomes. Scaling up vermi compositing and other sustainable agriculture practices will help increase the amount of organic matter in the soil and increase the water retention capacity of the soil in making agriculture sustainable and productive.

“While this project will have the same approach and strategy of the on-going project, we hope the focus on new activities will help consolidate incomes and generate further employment among the people of the state,” said Norman Piccioni, Lead Rural Development Specialist and the Project’s Task Team Leader. “The inclusion of additional gram panchayats will also help in treating contiguous gram panchayats and drainage lines, which will subsequently ensure proper distribution of water along the water sources – springs and streams,” he added.

The Project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.
Press Release: World Bank

Misc News/Press Release

Govt declares 7-days State Mourning, 2-days public holiday in Himachal

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Atal-Bihari-Vajpayee passes away

Shimla:The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the Governor Acharya Devvrat, and several leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party and oppositions mourned the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93).

He passed away today in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi after a long illness.

The State Government has declared seven days State Mourning. The national flag would remain to fly at half mast.

The State Government has also declared public holidays for 17th and 18th August 2018.

He was born in Gwalior on December 25, 1924, and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1939. was one of the founding members of the BJP.

He Vajpayee was thrice elected the prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and was the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004.

He was also conferred prestigious Bharat Ratan award too.

Nation has today lost a great leader and a noble soul. This loss cannot be compensated. Himachal Pradesh had been a special place for Atal Ji and he always considered it as his own home as he used to come and stay at Prini in Kullu District frequently

, in their condolence message, the Ministers said.

He was a statesman and a visionary leader, whose demise is a great loss to the nation. He said that Shri Vajpayee always considered Himachal Pradesh as his second home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, 

Chief Minister Jai Ram said in his condolence message.

The Chief Minister also shared an old picture taken with Shri Vajpayee.

Chief Minister said that the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting landlocked hinterland Lahaul valley with rest of the world was conceived in 1998 by Shri Vajpayee and the project was announced by him on June 3, 2000. He said that this project was nearing completion and would be the biggest gift of Shri Vajpayee to the State.

He said that it was National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee that Himachal Pradesh got a special package for industrial development in 2003. He said that this resulted in an industrial investment of thousands of crores of Rupees and employment opportunities to lakhs of the youth of the State.

Jai Ram Thakur said one of the largest educational programs in the world, ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership. The program was a product of strong willpower of this statesman, he added.

Chief Minister said that it was during the tenure of Shri Vajpayee that the Golden Quadrilateral, the lifeline of trade in India came into being. In addition, ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking the 5 lakh villages of India to cities by all-weather roads, which in particular proved a boon to the hilly states like Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Shri Vajpayee was the great son of India in a real sense, who, with his simplicity and humility, ruled the hearts of millions of people. He always believed in value-based politics and always adhered to it. He said that Shri Vajpayee would always be remembered and respected by the people of the country for his simplicity, humanity and benevolence,

the Governor said in his message of condolence.

Further, leaders of the opposition are also paying their respects and praying to the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul.

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Landslide on Shimla-Dhalli bypass hit apple trucks & traffic plan, road likely to remain closed for 2-3 days

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Mehli-Shimla bypass

Shimla – A huge landslide on Shimla-Dhali bypass road (NH-5) between Mehli and Malyana on Thursday afternoon has come in a time when the apple growers have begun to reap their crops and transport to markets. It is the peak season for the growers. The Shimla-Dhali bypass is like a lifeline for the growers in the upper areas of the district.

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As per the Traffic Police, Shimla, it may take about two to three days to clear the road and open it for traffic again. The landslide also uprooted three to four trees. There were no reports of anything being buried under the debris and rocks.

All vehicles on both sides of the road remained stuck in long jams before they had to turn back to take alternative routes.

This blockage has made another road inaccessible for the trucks – the Mehli-Shoghi bypass, which branches off from the Shimla-Dhali bypass. The Shimla Police had to change the traffic plan according to which the trucks arriving from the upper area of the district would have to take the Dhalli-IGMC-Lakkar Bazaar road during the night hours only.

As per the police, the trucks going towards the upper Shimla area would have to use the bifurcation at Khalini Chowk and take Khalini-Chhota Shimla-Dhalli route during night hours only.

As per the district administration, the work to clear the road is underway, but it might take a couple of days before it could be opened for traffic.

At the same time, the blockage of roads due to landslips at various other places has brought local vehicles as well as trucks carrying apple crop to halt, leading to a distress among the growers. Bad weather could delay the restoration work.

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Lack of emergency in making emergency announcement troubles schoolchildren, parents

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school in shimla remained closed

Shimla: On August 13, 2018, the district administration of Shimla like all other districts decided to keep the schools close owing to a heavy and continuous spell of rain. It continued raining on Sunday night and till early morning it had caused several landslides and uprooting of trees. The roads were blocked all over the city including the circular road.

As it was still raining on Monday morning, it was announced that the schools were to be kept closed for the day.

However, by the time this announcement was made, the majority of school students had already reached the school or on their way to school. The cabs had returned after dropping children at their respective schools.

It was still raining heavily when the schools sent children back home.

We had taken our seats in our classroom when the teacher told us that the school was to remain closed for the day,

said a student of a reputed private school while he was returning to the home on feet.

I received an SMS regarding the announcement when my children had already left for the school. The school said they had sent them back, but they did not reach home. There is no mean to communicate with them, and I fear they might have got stuck somewhere due to traffic jams,

said a mother of two while waiting for her children at a shop in Tutikandi.

The schoolteachers, when inquired about the same said they were also unaware of the announcement and had reached the school by the time this announcement reached them.

There were several other parents who were waiting for the safe return of their respective children. They believed, the schools should not have sent children back in heavy rain if they had arrived at school.

The campus would have been a safer place when it was raining heavy and roads were already blocked at several places,

said another woman while she inquired classmates of her son.

I had returned after dropping children at the school. I begin to receive calls from the parents to go back and bring the children back as the schools were closed. The Khalini-Shimla road was already closed due to a fallen tree, and even I was stuck in traffic,

said a cab driver.

It appears the State Government need to evolved faster and insured ways to reach the public via official announcements in times of emergencies like bad weather and natural disasters. Had this announcement reached an hour ago, which was possible as it had been raining heavily all night, the children and parents would not have faced such huge inconvenience.

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