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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

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IPS Gaurav Singh and CM’s Security Personnel Exchange Slaps & Kicks, Video Goes Viral, Inquiry Ordered

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Kullu-Superintendent of Police, Kullu, Gaurav Singh, and Chief Minister’s Security Officers got into an ugly brawl outside the Bhuntar Airport in Kullu district on Wednesday. While Gaurav Singh reportedly slapped the security official, ASP, Brijesh Sood, after an argument broke out between the two, another security official of the Chief Minister was seen kicking Gaurav Singh.

The incident has jolted the State Police Department, as well as, the people as all of this ruckus occurred in the presence of Chief Minister and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Video clips of this incident where personnel of the Himachal Pradesh Police exchanged slaps and kicks appeared on social media and are going viral across the nation.  

The incident has attracted widespread criticism over such indisciplinary actions from these high-rank officials. 

It’s pertinent to mention that Gaurav Singh is considered one of the most honest IPS officials serving in the State. His strict action against sand and drug mafia in Baddi industrial area had won him praise from the people. He was hailed as Baddi’s Singham at that time. He continues to work with the same zeal against drug mafia as the SP of Kullu district too. 

What Happened At Bhuntar Airport

According to the initial information available, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had come to the Airport to welcome Gadkari, who is on a five-day visit to Kullu. When their convoy left the Airport, Gadkari noticed several people who had gathered outside to meet him and share their grievance related to insufficient compensation for the acquisition of land for the four-laning project. These people from the four-lane Sangharsh Samiti were waiting for the Minister outside the Airport.

Meanwhile, CM’s Security Official reportedly started arguing with the SP over allowing people to gather outside the Airport which caused an unscheduled halt for the Minister’s convoy. As per reports, Gadkari had himself asked to stop the car to listen to these people, which led to misunderstanding between the security of the Chief Minister and Chief of the local police. The argument turned into a violent brawl as the SP slapped Brijesh Sood.

Other officials present at the scene tried to intervene and control these officers. This entire episode occurred in front of the Chief Minister’s car.

The people at once rushed towards the spot shouting “ SP sahab ko kyon maar rahe ho (Why Are You Assaulting the SP)?”

Somehow, the remaining police personnel cleared the way for Chief Minister’s vehicle. The people were also heard shouting slogans in support of Gaurav Singh.  

Inquiry Ordered, Three Officials Removed from Duty Till Conclusion of Inquiry

Following this shocking incident, the PHQ came into action and the Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, left for the spot. DIG Central Range, Madhusudan, had already reached the spot to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

The inquiry would be conducted under Section 63 of the HP Police Act, it was informed. 

The IG Intelligence was asked to immediately depute someone to perform the duties of Balwant, HPP, PSO to the Chief Minister immediate effect.

Further, the PHQ, in a statement, informed that till the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry into the incident, Gaurav Singh, Brijesh Sood and  Balwant, will remain on compulsory leave. The headquarters for Gaurav Singh was fixed to be the Range Office Mandi and PHQ Shimla for Brajesh Sood and Balwant Singh.

Further, the DIG CR Madhusudan would perform the duties of the SP Kullu, while the duties of Addl SP, CM Security, will be performed by Addl SP, IIIrd Bn Pandoh, Puneet Raghu.

Himachal Kisan Sabha Alleges the State Govt Didn’t Want Farmers to Meet the Minister

The Himachal Kisan Sabha also issued a statement in which it referred to the incident as another example of the state government’s anti-farmer attitude. The Sabha said that the farmers affected by the four-laning project only wanted to submit a memorandum to the Union Minister to convey their grievance peacefully and the Minister himself agreed to it. Despite this, an unnecessary brawl was created on the part of the Chief Minister’s security.  The Sabha supported the demand of the farmers for appropriate compensation for their land acquired for the project. 

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HP Govt Re-Shuffles 43 IAS/HAS Officials Including Eight DCs Ahead of By-Elections 2021

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government has re-shuffled 43 IAS and HAS official. The transferred/posted officials include eight Deputy Commissioners. The orders came following the meeting of the HP Cabinet held yesterday.

This re-shuffle has also come ahead of the by-elections scheduled to be held in the state.

Neeraj Kumar, IAS (HP:2013) would be the new Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul & Spiti. Dr. Nipun Jindal, IAS (HP:2014), who was serving as the Managing Director, National Health Mission, HP, was posted as the new Deputy Commissioner, Kangra.

Ashutosh Garg, IAS (HP:2014) has been posted as the new Deputy Commissioner, Kullu. Arindam Chaudhary, IAS (HP:2014), was appointed as the new Deputy Commissioner, Mandi.

Ram Kumar Gautam, IAS (HP: 2014) was posted as the new Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur. Pankaj Rai, IAS (HP: 2014), who was the Deputy Commissioner Lahaul has now been appointed as the Deputy Commissioner Bilaspur. Kritika Kulhari, IAS (HP:2013), was appointed as  the Deputy Commissioner, Solan. Earlier, she served as the Director, Women & Child Development, HP.

List of IAS/HAS Official Transferred/Given Charges

  1. Dr. Richa Verma, IAS (HP:2012), as Chief Executive Officer, Baddi Barotiwala, Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA). She was serving as the Deputy Commissioner Kullu, District, earlier.
  2. Kalyan Chand, IAS (HP:2011), as Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, HP. He will also hold the charge of the post of Managing Director, Himachal Pradesh Minorities Finance and Development Corporation Shimla. He was serving as the Deputy Commissioner, Solan, earlier.
  3. Abid Hussain Sadiq., IAS (HP:2014) was posted as Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur.
  4. Yunus, IAS (HP:2010), as Excise & Taxation Commissioner, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla.
  5. Hemraj Bairwa, IAS (HP:2013), as Mission Director, National Health Mission, HP. He was serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Kinnaur district.
  6. Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, IAS (HP:2012), as Director, Industrie HP. He will also hold charge of the post of Managing Director HP Industrial Development Corporation. He was serving as the Deputy Commissioner Kangra
  7. Subhasish Panda, IAS (HP:1997), currently, the Principal Secretary (Public Works Department was given additional charge of the post of Principal Secretary (Tourism & Civil Aviation).
  8. Devesh Kumar, IAS (HP:1998),  has been appointed as Secretary to Chief Minister. He will continue to hold the charge of the post of Secretary (General Administration Department, Secretariat Administration, Sainik Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs)  and the post of Managing Director, Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited, Shimla.
  9. Rakesh Kanwar, IAS (HP:2007), as Secretary to Governor, Himachal Pradesh. He will also hold the charge of the post of Project Director, Zero Budget Natural Farming in the Department of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh. State
  10. Amit Kashyap, IAS (HP:2008) as Director, Tourism & Civil Aviation, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla. He will also hold the charge of the post of Managing Director, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Shimla.
  11. Capt. (Retd.) J.M. Pathania, IAS (HP:2008), as Managing Director, Himachal Pradesh Agro Industries Corporation Limited, Shimla. He will also hold the charge of the post of Managing Director, Himachal Pradesh Agro-Industrial Packaging India Limited.
  12. Rakhil Kahlon, IAS (HP:2008), as Director, Women and Child Development, HP.
  13. Manasi Sahay Thakur, IAS (HP:2009), as Managing Director, General Industries Corporation, HP.
  14. Rohan Chand Thakur, IAS (HP:2009), as Managing Director, HP Financial Corporation.
  15. Raj Krishan Pruthi, IAS (HP:2009), as Special Secretary (Agriculture) to the HP Govt. He will also hold the charge of the post of Director, Agriculture, HP. Earlier, he was posted as Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur at Nahan, District Sirmaur.
  16. Vinod Kumar, IAS (HP:2009), as Managing Director, HP Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation, Kangra.
  17. Chander Prakash Verma, IAS (HP:2010), as Special Secretary (Personnel) to the Government of Himachal Pradesh. He will continue to hold the charge of the posts of Special Secretary (Tribal Development) to the HP Govt-cum Additional Commissioner, Tribal Development, HP and Commissioner Departmental Enquiries, HP.
  18. Amarjeet Singh, IAS (HP:2010), as Director, Public Finance-cum-Public Enterprises-cum-Special Secretary (Finance) to the HP Govt. and Director, Treasuries, Accounts and Lotteries, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla.
  19. Rugved Milind Thakur, IAS (HP:2011), as Director, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Himachal Pradesh-cum-ex Officio Special Secretary (Panchayati Raj) to the HPGovt.He was earlier posted as the Deputy Commissioner Mandi, District Mandi.
  20. Lalit Jain, IAS (HP: 2011), as the Managing Director, HP State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited.
  21. Vivek Bhatia, IAS (HP:2011), as Director Department of Empowerment of Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and the Specially Abled, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla. He will also hold the charge of the post of Director, HP Institute of Public Administration.
  22. Gopal Chand, IAS (HP:2011), Special Secretary (MPP & Power and NCES the Government of Himachal Pradesh, who is holding the charge of the post of Director Youth Services and Sports, HP, was given charge of the post of Special Secretary (Industries) to the Government Himachal Pradesh.
  23. Devinder Kumar Rattan, IAS (HP:2012), as Secretary, Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
  24. Manmohan Sharma, IAS (HP:2013), as Director, Urban Development, HP. He will also hold the charge of the post of Chief Executive Officer-cum-Managing Director, Shimla Smart City Ltd.
  25. Rohit Jamwal, IAS (HP:2014), as Labour Commissioner-cum-Director of Employment, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla. Earlier, he was serving as the Deputy Commissioner, Bilaspur.
  26. Apoorv Devgan, IAS (HP:2015), as Member Secretary, HP State Pollution Control Board.
  27. Mukesh Repaswal, IAS (HP:2015), as Director, Information Technology, HP. He will also hold charge of the post of Managing Director, HP Electronics Development Corporation.
  28. Dr. Priyanka Verma, IAS (HP:2015), as the Director (Personnel & Finance), HP Power Corporation Limited.
  29. Anurag Chander, IAS (HP:2016), as Special Secretary (Excise & Taxation and Public Works Department) to the HP Govt. He will also hold charge of the post of Director, Estates, HP.
  30. Sonakshi Singh Tomar, IAS (HP:2016), as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development)-cum-Project Director, District Rural Development Agency, Sirmaur.
  31. Zaffar Iqbal, IAS (HP:2017), as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development)-cum-Project Director, District Rural Development Agency. Solan.
  32. Shivam Pratap Singh, IAS (HP:2017),  as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development)-cum-Project Director, District Rural Development Agency, Kullu.
  33. Kiran Bhadana, IAS (HP:2017), as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development)-cum-Project Director, District Rural Development Agency, Shimla.
  34. Nivedita Negi, IAS (HP:2017), as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) cum-Project Director, District Rural Development Agency, Chamba.
  35. Kumad Singh, HPAS (2001), as Managing Director, HP Kaushal Vikas Nigam. She will continue to hold the charge of the post of Managing Director, HP Handicrafts and Handloom Corporation.
  36. Vinay Singh, HPAS (2001, as Director, Ayurveda, HP, Shimla.
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Sirmaur: Newborn Found Abandoned in a Pile of Cow Dung, Rescued by Police

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Sirmaur- An abandoned newborn girl child was found in a pile of cow dung in Kamiyara Village in Rohnat, District Simraur on Tuesday.  A villager first sighted the newborn and informed the police.

According to the available information, a villager found the newborn on Tuesday morning while he was on his way to his fields. The man said that first, he heard some sounds arising from a pile of cow dung in the fields. When he approached the pile, he noticed an infant covered in blood and cow dung. He immediately informed the local police.

A team of police reached the reported location with a doctor and provided medical aid to the newborn. After initial treatment,  the newborn was shifted to Civil Hospital Shillai in a 108 ambulance. Mast Ram, SHO, Shillai Police Station confirmed the report and informed that further investigation to identify the parents of the infant was underway. He added that the priority was to save the baby. Before the identification of parents, it would not be possible to comment over the cause that compelled the parents to abandoned the child, the police said. 

A similar incident was reported at Rohnat Hospital a few years back, where an unmarried girl had given birth to a child in the hospital bathroom. The mother had thrown out her child from the bathroom window. The infant was later rescued by the police.

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