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Plentiful snowfall, Himachal hopes for healthier apple crop titel

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Himachal-apples

Himachal-apples

A thick blanket of snow covering the apple orchards of Himachal has increased the prospects of a good and healthy apple crop, state horticulture department director

Shimla: A thick blanket of snow covering the apple orchards of Himachal Pradesh has brought hopes of a bountiful crop this season among growers after two years of less than normal yield.

Last year, over 20 million boxes of apples of 20 kg each were harvested in the state – 20 percent less than the normal yield of 25 million boxes.This month’s snow, though delayed, has increased the prospects of a good and healthy apple crop, state horticulture department director Gurdev Singh said.

He said areas of upper Shimla, which accounted for 80 percent of the state’s total apple production, have seen more than three feet of snow. Apples are the mainstay of Himachal’s economy, with more than 200,000 families engaged in the fruit’s cultivation. The apple industry is worth over Rs 2,000 crore.

Gopal Mehta, a prominent apple grower in Kothgarh in Shimla district, said: “Plentiful snow will sufficiently increase the moisture content in the soil and help the apple plants, which are in dormancy these days, to get sufficient nutrients during summer”.

Experts say snow also helps maintain the minimum chilling period for an orchard, which ranges between 1,000 and 1,600 hours. SP Bhardwaj, former joint director of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry in Solan, said the apple plants still needed chilling.

“A healthy crop requires chilling in this point in time with temperature hovering at seven degrees Celsius or less,” he said.

The recent snowfall will give sufficient time to the apple plants to remain in dormancy and lower the risk of premature bud breaking and flowering in mid-March, he added. But field reports say the snow has also destroyed apple plants in some areas of Shimla.

Government officials said it was still too early to calculate the impact, but the damage could be seen more in orchards in Thanedar, Kotgarh and Kharapathar.
Horticulture Minister Vidya Stokes, an apple grower herself, said that it would take them some more days to assess the actual damage due to the January 17-19 snowfall.In 2010, there was a record production of 44.6 million boxes. But the figure fell to 14 million boxes the next year.

According to the horticulture department, the per hectare yield of apple ranged from five to seven tonnes, compared to 50 to 60 tonnes in European countries.

Weather is a day-to-day battle for apple growers. Sometimes, the snow is plentiful, but there is a prolonged dry spell in monsoon that dwarfs the fruit, leading to a decline in overall production. Weather vagaries such as hails, heavy rains, strong winds and excessive heat puncture hopes of the apple growers of a good harvest. According to estimates, hailstorms damage 20-30 percent of vegetable and fruit crops in the state every year.Apple constitutes about 81 percent of the state’s total fruit production. The harvesting generally begins in July and continues till November.

According to the 2011-12 Economic Survey, the area under apple cultivation has increased from 400 hectares in 1950-51 to 101,485 hectares in 2010-11.
IANS

Misc News/Press Release

Rs 2572 crore for Himachal’s irrigation and drinking water schemes

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HP irrigation and drinking water schemes

Shimla: The State Government today said that it has earmarked an amount of Rs 2572 crore for providing irrigation and drinking water facilities in Himachal Pradesh during the current financial year.

The endeavour, the Government said, was to bring more area under irrigation facility so that farmers could go for crop diversification instead of traditional crops.

The Chief Minister, while addressing a public meeting at Kelodhar in Seraj assembly constituency of Mandi district, provided the information.It is Chief Minister’s first visit to Kelodhar after elections.

Further, it was announced that the Kandha-Bah-Batand road would be strengthened.

Earlier, the Chief Minister performed ‘bhumi pujan’ of Kandha-Bah-Batand road (Phase-II) to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 358.53 lakh.

He laid the foundation stones of IPH Office building and residence at Kelodhar to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 74.36 lakh and of Science Block building of Government Senior Secondary School Kelodhar on which about Rs 1.50 crore would be spent.

The Government announced Rs 15 lakh for Kelodhar Panchayat for various developmental works, Rs 10 lakh each for GP Bara, GP Saroha and GP Parwara. He also announced Rs 3 lakh for Mahila Mandal Kelodhar.

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British-era Bantony Castle Shimla to become Rs. 25 crore cultural centre     

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Bantony Castle Shimla Picture

CM said the building is also an example of beautiful anglo-gothic architecture. However, this fact appears to be incorrect as the Castle is built in the mock-Tudor style

Shimla: As a ray of hope for the Bantony Castle, Shimla, the Himachal Pradesh Government has announced Rs. 25 crores for the renovation of the British-era structure in order to develop as a tourist attraction.

This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while inaugurating the five-day long State level Gram Shilp Mela which was organized by the State Language Art and Culture Department here on May 17, 2018.

Bantony Castle is one of the historic and monumental buildings of Shimla town and has a very rich history. spread over around 20,000 square meter area between Circular Road and Mall Road.

The Chief Minister said the building is also an example of beautiful anglo-gothic architecture. However, this fact appears to be incorrect as the Castle is built in the mock-Tudor style, part chalet and crowned with sloping roofs with mini-towers.

Nevertheless, he further said that since this building was strategically located on the Mall Road thus could be an added attraction for the tourists.

 This complex as a whole would be developed in such a way that it not only becomes a tourist attraction but also a centre of rich cultural diversity of the State.  

The previous Congress Government had, in 2017, announced that it will be turned into a Heritage museum with a restaurant and recreational park.

Artisans from different parts of the State received an opportunity to exhibit their artefacts at the Gram Shipi Mela. The government said it would also organize District level Gram Shilp Melas besides Inter-state Gram Shilp Melas to promote the artefacts of the State.

It was further informed that the State Government has announced a new scheme named ‘Aaj Purani Rahon Se’ for exploring folklores, historic events and cultural tourism in the State. The government has also decided to introduce miniaturized cultural souvenirs of Himachal Pradesh such as musical instruments, Chamba Rumal, Kangra paintings etc.

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Will tar 1100 km roads, construct 600 km new motorable roads, 750 km cross drainage, 35 bridges in 2018: HP Govt

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HP PWD target for 2018

Shimla: During review meeting of Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department held today, the Government informed that it has set up a target of construction of 600 km new motorable roads, providing cross drainage facilities on 750 km road length, metalling and tarring of 1100 km roads, construction of 35 bridges and providing road connectivity to 40 villages during the current financial year.

The Government said all the formalities regarding the allocation of road and bridge projects would be completed within a stipulated period to facilitate work- allocation within 51 days to concerned executing agencies.  

The e-tendering is expected to speed up the process of allocation of projects.

It has been felt that delay in Forest clearances was one of the major bottlenecks for starting of different road and bridge projects. Therefore, the Government would take up the matter with the Union Government to expedite forest clearances for these projects,

said the Chief Minister, who was presiding over the meeting.

It was informed that the target has been fixed to execute 414 works with a total length of 2400 km, under PMGSY with an outlay of Rs 600 crore during the current financial year.

On completion, 150 habitations would be connected with roads. Similarly, the target has been fixed to complete 209 works under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)-NABARD, which include 77 works in Shimla zone, 20 in Mandi Zone, 70 in Kangra zone and 4 in Hamirpur Zone, it was informed.

HPPWD review meeting 2018

During HPPWD review meeting 2018

It was informed that that out of 90 black spots identified in the State, 58 had been rectified and work on remaining black spots was in progress.

The State Government has allocated Rs. 200 crore for maintenance and repair of roads in the State besides Rs. 50 crore additionality for providing drainage facilities on the roads, claimed the Government.

Additional Chief Secretary Manisha Nanda said that 34394 officers and officials were working in the Public Works Department and “were doing their best” to ensure best road connectivity to the people of the State.  

The State today has total 35638 km of roads providing road connectivity to the remotest part of the State, informed the Engineer-in-Chief R.P Verma.

Opposed to the work-culture of the HP PWD, the Chief Minister, who holds Department, is claiming that regular monitoring and inspection of roads and bridges constructed particularly under NABARD, Central Road Fund etc. will be ensured.

 He said that for this, standard quality parameters should be laid down and responsibility of the defaulters must be fixed and strict action taken against the person, which rarely happens.

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