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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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HP Govt’s Jan Manch programme for on spot grievance redressal to be launched on 26 May

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HP Govt Jan Manch Programme

Shimla: Amid Himachal Pradesh Government’s miserable state of public grievance redressal services, the State Government informed here today that in order to bring more efficiency in administration and ensuring good governance, the Government will be organizing ‘ Jan Manch ‘ programmes across the state.

This programme will be launched from Peterhoff in Shimla at 11 am on May 26, 2018, in the State Level Function.

Jan Manch programmes will be organised in remote areas of every district where Ministers will be present along with officers of all departments. They will hear the problems of people and try to resolve issues on the spot, informed the Spokesman.

He said that the main objective of this programme is to bridge the gap between people and government and to redress the grievances of the people at their doorsteps.

He said it will reduce the labour and efforts of people of remote areas who travel long distances to reach district and state headquarters for getting various services.

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Himachal’s Dr Vivek Bindal performs India’s first robotic surgery on 14-year-old

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India's first robotic surgery by Dr. bindal

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh’s, Dr Vivek Bindal, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, performed robotic surgery on a 14-year-old child and removed a large tumor from his left adrenal gland thus saving his life.

Dr Vivek Bindal hails from Solan and is the son of the five-time legislator and current Deputy Speaker of the HP Legislative Assembly. He is currently serving as a consultant and coordinator (Robotic Surgery), Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic and Bariatric, The information was also released through an official press note issued from the Speaker’s Office.

Dr. Vivek Bindal son of Rajiv Bindal

According to doctors, the procedure lasted for two hours and the child was kept in hospital for four days and discharged thereafter, without any blood pressure medication. Before surgery, he was taking three different tablets for blood pressure in high doses. It is believed that he is the most experienced Robotic and Bariatric Surgeon in South East Asia. He has published many research papers and book chapters in this field in reputed journals.

During this uphill task, Prof. Satish Aggarwal was also present. Experts claim that the surgery is first of its kind in India. Robotic surgery is rarely used on children because of the small size of the abdomen, especially for adrenal tumors, which are deep-seated and adjacent to big blood vessels.

The adrenal gland is a deep-seated gland in the human abdominal cavity above the kidney, adjacent to biggest blood vessels and important organs of our body.

India's first robotic surgery by Dr. bindal

“Pheochromocytoma” is a rare functional tumor of the adrenal gland which leads to very high blood pressure and other medical problems. It is usually removed by open surgery, which entails a big cut and long recovery,  the doctors said.

The child had symptoms like sweating, palpitations, breathlessness and high blood pressure. On investigations, he was found to have a large 8 cm tumor in the left adrenal gland, along with high catecholamine (hormone) levels, suggestive of pheochromocytoma,

said Prof. Satish Aggarwal, department of pediatric surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

The child was planned for excision of the tumor by robotic surgery, rather than open surgery.

The location and size of the tumor, its proximity to vital organs like pancreas and major blood vessels, coupled with a small abdominal cavity in a child made it a very challenging and robotic platform was chosen to overcome these problems. The additional benefits of small incisions, minimal blood loss and faster recovery in a child made us proceed with robotics,

said Dr Vivek Bindal.

Experts said the challenge was to maintain blood pressure before, during and after the surgery. According to doctors even minimal manipulation of the adrenal tumor during surgery can shoot the blood pressure to alarming levels, while it falls precipitously immediately after removal of the tumor.

The child underwent a successful removal of the left adrenal tumor, which turned out to be 8 cm tumor, stuck to kidney, pancreas, spleen and large intestine, Keyhole robotic surgery was performed and the structures were dissected one by one safely.

The tumor was very vascular and had multiple bold vessels supplying it, arising from renal vessels and aorta. They were isolated and divided in between clips. The tumor was removed in totality without any significant blood loss,

said Dr Bindal.

More About Dr Vivek Bindal

Dr Vivek Bindal is working as Consultant Robotic, Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. He has a keen interest in Robotic Bariatric (Weight loss) Surgery and has worked and published extensively in this field. He is among the pioneer surgeons in South East Asia to bring Robotic Surgery in the field of Obesity surgery.

Dr Bindal completed his MBBS and MS (General Surgery) from prestigious Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. Thereafter, he did 2-year super speciality Fellowship of National Board (FNB) in Minimal Access Surgery from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Following this degree, Dr Bindal did an advanced fellowship in Robotic Gastrointestinal and Bariatric Surgery from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. He also worked as a faculty member in Division of Metabolic & Weight Loss Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, USA.

He has also been trained in Robotic and advanced laparoscopic surgery at centres of excellence around the world including IRCAD (Strasburg, France), International Robotic Training School (Grosseto, Italy), Celebration Health Florida Hospital (Florida, USA) etc.

He has been invited to speak on Laparoscopic, Robotic and Bariatric Surgery in various international and national conferences. He is actively involved in research in Bariatric surgery and is co-PI of many projects involving basic science research.

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108 ambulance skid-off road near IGMC Shimla, lands on 2 cars parked in ‘No Parking’ zone

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108 ambulance accident near IGMC Shimla

Shimla: Two men were injured as a 108 ambulance skid-off the Sanjauli-Lakkar Bazaar road near the Indira Gandhi Medical College today morning. The vehicle fell down on two cars parked on the roadside in a ‘No Parking’ zone.

108 ambulance accident near IGMC Shimla 4

The ambulance was carrying no patient at the time of the accident, and the injured included only the driver and an assistant.  Both sustained minor injuries.

The accident occurred at about 6:30 AM as the ambulance skid-off the road while the driver was reversing it. No casualties were reported and the driver and assistant escaped with minor injuries,

the Lakkar Bazaar Police Post incharge told Himachal Watcher.

108 ambulance accident near IGMC Shimla 2

The ambulance crushed one of the cars badly and damaged the other one. Fortunately, no person was present inside these cars and on the road when the accident took place.  Otherwise, the result could have proved to be fatal. 

It is one reason why not to park vehicles in No Parking zones of Shimla. 

 

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