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Plentiful snowfall, Himachal hopes for healthier apple crop titel

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Himachal-apples

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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

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Shimla Police Nabs Escaped Murder Accused from Tara Devi Forest After Two Days

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escaped accused from shimla captured

Shimla Police has nabbed the undertrial accused of murder who had escaped from the custody of policemen on Wednesday. The accused was re-captured from the forests near the Tara Devi temple after a search operation of two days. The teams of police used drone cameras and search dogs in this search operation.

On November 17, 2021, Dadi Ram aka Sagar (37) – a Nepalese who was booked for the rape and murder of his mother-in-law on July 31, 2020, in Theog, Shimla district, and was kept at the Model Central Jail Kanda – had ditched two policemen near Tavi mod (curve) while he was being taken to the court for a hearing. He had jumped down the forest and was at large since then.

CCTV footage from a nearby building had also appeared in which the accused was seen escaping the custody of policemen. The incident had drawn flak for the Shimla Police, and several questions were raised on the working of the police. The people raised various questions; like why a murder accused was not handcuffed? Why the police didn’t use a vehicle to take him to court?

According to the district police, after the accused escaped, teams of police from Boileauganj and other concerned police stations were formed and deployed in re-capturing him. The teams also included jawans from the 6th India Reserve Battalion and Rapid Action Force. Alongwith search operations in Forests around Taradevi and Shoghi, checking of buses and vehicles at barriers and trains was also conducted regularly.

As per the police, on November 19, 2021, the accused was spotted in the forest near Tara Devi through a drone camera. The teams of police cordoned the forest and searched for the accused. Eventually, the teams succeeded in capturing the accused. He has been brought to the Boileauganj police station.  

 

 

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Negligence of HP University in Mark-Sheet Evaluation Allegedly Costs One Year Loss to Student, HC Issues Notice to Varsity on PIL

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HP University pil in high court

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh University is again in the news after a student of Government College, Hamirpur, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the State High Court alleging loss of one year to his career due to negligence of the varsity in evaluating his answer sheet.

It’s pertinent to mention that, varsity administration, especially Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikandar Kumar, is already under fire for allegedly tweaking rules to allow admission of his ward and wards of a couple of other officials to PhD by bypassing mandatory entrance exams/NET/JRF.

In the current case, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina issued notices to the Registrar and the Controller of Examination of  HP University, Shimla.

As per the petitioner, Keshav Singh, he was a student of B.Sc (Maths) in the Government College, Hamirpur, for the session 2017-2020. He appeared in the examination for the 5th semester in November 2019.  In February 2020, he appeared in IIT Jam and scored 40.33 marks out of 100 and became eligible to get admission in M.Sc(PG Course) NIT.

However, in June 2020, the results of the 5th semester were declared and he was given only 5 marks out of 70 in one of the subjects, due to which he could not get admission to the NIT.  He has further said that he had a good academic record and attempted most of the questions in this exam. He applied for rechecking of his paper.  After re-checking, 42 marks were enhanced and he scored 47 marks in that subject. But the re-evaluation result was declared after counselling for the M.Sc. By that time, all the seats were filled up and he couldn’t get an admission.

Though he again cleared the exam for  IIT Jam, 2021, the student alleged that the mental harassment and mental distress he faced was irreparable. He lost one year during the era of this cut-throat competition and thousands of people overtook him, he said. He also alleged that due to negligence of the respondent University, he remained deprived of investing his one year for making his career bright as he could not attend any counselling of IIT/NIT JAM and could not fill up any forms for any competitive exam. For this loss,  the varsity is liable to pay compensation to him, he pleaded.

The petitioner has prayed in the court to direct the respondents to pay him adequate compensation and to adopt a fair and proper manner of checking the answer sheets so that in the future no one faces the same situation as has been faced by him.

The HP High Court directed the respondents (varsity) to file their reply within three weeks and posted the matter for December 8, 2021.

 

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The Himalayan Expedition “Silk Route – Chapter Hatu” Trek & Run Competition Concludes Successfully

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Shimla-As a joint venture, ‘The Himalayan Expedition Silk Route’ – a new trek and run competition- was organized at Narkanda, Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh on 14th, November 2021. Organized by Adventure North, Kawasaki Advertisers, Deodar Cottage, and Homeland Himalaya; the inaugural event was entitled ‘Chapter Hatu’. During this first trek, the participants had to trek 4.5 km uphill to the Hatu Peak – at an altitude of 3400 meters. Followed by a downhill trek of 9 km for the Adventure category.

However, the competitive runners, including two girl athletes, had to run another 14 km to Khadarala to complete the race.

A total of 31 people, from children aged 8-years-old to senior citizens, participated in the inaugural leg.

hatu trek competition

The event was flagged off from the Sili Kandli at 8:19 am.

The race was organized in two categories; “Adventure” for the trekking enthusiasts and the “Competitive” category for the endurance challengers.

himalayan silk route chapter hatu

Along the entire route, 13 teams were available at hydration desks placed at every two kilometers. Also, a well-equipped ambulance with a medic team of three, including a female, was in place.

Rahul Beakta of Theog, Shimla, won the competition by completing 26.5 km in 2 hours 56 minutes. He was followed by Bappan, Shimla, and Captain Vineet Sharma, Kathlee Ghat. The entire competitive and adventure leg was completed successfully, without any injury.

winners of silk route trekking

“It was the first promotional event for a trek and run of 300 km to scale the old ‘Silk Route from Narkanda to Namgia (near China border)’ with a minimal carbon footprint. We plan the second chapter with an additional 60 km in 2022,” the organizers informed.

“This marathon goes through the apple belt of the mid-Sutlej region all along the silk route to Shipki La. Be a part of this heritage and run along the paths and trails of this lost era, ‘The Silk Route’, which has lost its prominence in the modern world, the organizers further added.

The second leg of The Himalaya Expedition is scheduled for October 2022.

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