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Degree College and Sub-Tehsil for Jwali constituency

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Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh today announced to open a Govt. Degree College for Nagrota Surian and sub-tehsil for Kotla area of Jwali assembly constituency.

Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh made these announcements during the last day of the first leg of winter sojourn at Jawali in Kangra district while addressing a mammoth rally, designated as the ‘Vijay Rally’. This rally was organised to commemorate the ‘Parivartan Rally’ which was held to commence a drive to gain power in the state and to overthrow the BJP led government.

Shri Virbhadra Singh said that “The proposed Food Security Bill was an ambitious and historical decision of the UPA government which is aimed at providing food security to the most deprived sections of the society across the nation. This bill would be made effective with a fund of Rs.80,000 crores and will be brought in the Parliament during the ongoing Budget Session”, he added.

The Chief Minister said that this bill would help the miserable sections of the society to live with dignity as they would get sufficient food. He said such a campaign was launched by his government during his last regime under which essential food commodities including pulses, edible oils and salt were being distributed to all the people in the state. The popularity of this program could be assessed from the fact that people stopped taking foodgrains from the open market.

Expressing his gratitude to the people of the State and Kangra in particular he said that the massive support of the public made their journey to return in power. He said Himachal was the land of gods and goddesses and had a unique distinction. He said that the people of the State had rejected the previous BJP Government as it failed in all fronts to deliver the goods. Corruption, and nepotism had become order of the day and problems and grievances of the people were ignored by the previous BJP Government. He said that no efforts were made for the development of the people and Benami deals were made to facilitate the persons in the power and their relatives.

Shri Virbhadra Singh said that State Police agencies were directed to get involved in phone tapping, which was a criminal offence adding that CID and Vigilance tapped about 750 telephones of opposition and the opponents in the ruling party. He said that telephone tapping could only be allowed in certain cases with the permission from the Home Ministry adding that his stay in Himachal Bhawan Chandigarh was also put under observation as bugging machine was installed in the room where he used to stay. He said that this move of the previous BJP government surpassed even Hitler secret force Gestapo. No person involved in the process would be spared after completion of enquiry so that such acts were not repeated in the State again.

The Chief Minister said that lands were purchased in the name of two drivers of a leader in Kasouli amounting to about Rs. 50 lakh. He said that his government would look into all such shady matters but would never indulge in revengeful activities. No innocent would be disturbed but no culprit would also be spared at the same time. His government wanted to maintain the high standards of democracy. He urged the people not to indulge in corrupt practices and earn rightfully and no looting of public money would be tolerated at all.

Forest Minister Shri Thakur Singh Bharmouri thanked the people for bringing the Congress Party back in power and urged them to reap full advantages of the schemes launched by the State Government for their welfare. He alleged that the previous BJP Government had ignored this area and no development was carried out during the last five years.

Shri Neeraj Bharti Chief Parliamentary Secretary welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for announcing Sub-Tehsil at Kotla and placed several development demands of his constituency. He said this area was neglected during the last five years, but as now the Government of the people had come into power and every effort would be made to develop it as an ideal constituency.

Shri Chander Kumar, Former Minister also welcomed the Chief Minister.

Sh. Kewal Singh Pathania Vice-Chairman,HRTC, Former MLAs Choudhary Surender Kaku, Shri Bakshi Ranjit Singh and Shri Bodh Raj including prominent Congress leaders and senior officers of the district administration were also present on the occasion.

Misc News/Press Release

Video: Fire Wreaks Havoc at Solan Mall Road

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Solan Fire Break out 2021

Solan-A fire broke out at the congested Solan Mall Road today evening, which engulfed about three shops including a medical store and garment and shoe shops. According to the initial report received from the district administration, the fire reportedly started from a medical store, which was closed.

People first noticed smoke rising from inside the building and informed the owner of the shop and fire services. By the time, fire tenders reached the spot, the fire had spread considerably to a large part of the multi-story building. Sounds of explosions from inside the medical store caused a panic among the adjoining shopping mall and people present on the scene. These sounds of explosions reportedly came from bottles of sanitisers and other flammables products kept inside the medical store.

No loss of life was reported.

According to a report, two fire hydrants installed at the Solan Mall Road for such emergency situation did not work, which led to delay in extinguishing the fire. Meanwhile, property worth lakhs in three to four shops turned to ash. It took over two hours to extinguish the fire with the help of locals. 

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Ajay Kumar, had arrived at the spot. The exact losses were yet to be assessed. It’s pertinent to mention that the Solan Mall is a congested place with a large number of shops and the fire could have easily turned into a bigger disaster if it were not controlled. 

The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit. But it would be possible to cite the exact cause only after an inquiry, if conducted. More information was awaited.

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Himachal First State to Complete Assessment of Snow Leopard and its Wild Prey

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Snow Leopard Population Assessment in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The assessment of snow leopard population in Himachal Pradesh has been completed by the state wildlife wing in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) Bangalore following the protocol aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) protocols of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to complete assessment of snow leopard and its wild prey.

The state has an estimated population of up to 73 snow leopards.

It is the first scientifically robust estimate of snow leopards and its prey for the State. Since snow leopard is the state animal, the study assumes great significance for Himachal Pradesh.
The exercise revealed that snow leopard density ranged from 0.08 to 0.37 individuals per 100 sq.km., with the trans-Himalayan regions of Spiti, Pin valley and upper Kinnaur recording the highest densities, both of the predator and its prey, mainly ibex and blue sheep.

This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 sq.km., utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown. The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project. Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that snow leopards are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.

Another revelation from the study is that a bulk of snow leopard occurrence is outside protected areas, reiterating the fact that local communities are the strongest allies for conservation in snow leopard landscapes.

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment. MoEFCC had launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India, on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day. You can read the complete protocol here.

Snow leopard is the icon of high mountains of Asia. In India, they inhabit the higher Himalayan and TransHimalayan landscape in an altitudinal range between approximately 3,000 m to 5,400 m above MSL, spanning c. 100,000 km2 in the five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This area contributes to about 5% of the global snow leopard range.

Snow leopards occur over a vast, relatively remote and difficult to access mountainous area. Together with their elusive nature, this makes a complete population census of snow leopards an unfeasible goal. Even their distribution remains unclear. For example, recent surveys show that they do not occur in 25 % of the area that was thought to be their range in the state of Himachal Pradesh Their density is expected to be variable in space, dependent on several factors such as habitat suitability, prey availability, disturbance and connectivity. Variation in density across space also poses the risk of biased sampling, and, indeed, most of the snow leopard population assessments conducted so far across the world are biased towards the best habitats.

Feature Photo: Pexels/Charles Miller

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Records 81% Turnout in 3rd Phase of PRI Polls, Congress Makes a Come Back in Theog MC after 20 Years

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third phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The third phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutes in Himachal Pradesh recorded around 81 percent polling on January 21, 2021. The elections were held in 1137 Gram Panchayats in this phase. The highest 94 percent polling was registered in Lodhi Majra Panchayat of Nalagarh development block in Solan district. This information was released by a spokesperson of HP Election Commission

District-wise, Sirmaur recorded 85% turnout, followed by Solan (85%) Kullu (84%),Chamba (82.8%), Mandi (82.7%), Una (81.1%), Shimla (82%),Una (81%), Bilaspur (80.3%), Hamirpur (78.1%), Kangra (78%), and Kinnaur (70%).

 Further, 48 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation also cast their votes.

The Spokesperson said that the poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state.

Counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on January 22, 2021, at block headquarters.

Congress made a come back to Theog Municipal Council after 20 years. While Vivek Thapar was elected as the Chairman of the MC, Reen Roy was elected as the Vice-Chairman. Congress has already registered wins in Rohru and Rampur MCs and Chopal, Kotkhai and Sunni Nagar panchayats.

Theog MC Polls 2021

Congress After Registering Victory in Theog MC Elections

The HPCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore, while speaking to media persons yesterday, said that of the total seven Wards of the Theog MC, Congress has claimed victory on four wards while remaining three Wards went to independent candidates. Congress alleged that BJP had left no stone unturned to pressurize, lure, and threaten elected members to gain their support. 

Rathore mocked at the defeat of BJP MP’s bother in Mandi district. Further, the candidate in Ghumarwin of Bilaspur – home district of BJP Chief Jagat Prakash Nadda-  had also faced defeat, Rathore said. BJP candidate in Sujanpur – home to Union Minister for State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur-could also not register a victory and lost, he said.

Congress also registered a victory in elections to Parwanoo MC. Kuldeep Singh Rathore, said that winning candidate Nisha Sharma joined Congress yesterday. She had won twice from the same Ward on BJP ticket. This time, she was denied ticket and fought the elections as an independent candidate. 

Parwanoo Counciloor Nisha sharma

Nisha Sharma Joins Congress

Rathore alleged that the government has been trying to threaten Nisha by registering a fake case of illegal construction. Similarly, husband of Chandrawati – another Congress councilor in Parwanoo- who runs a depot was fined wrongfully yesterday, Rathore alleged.   

While BJP has been making claims of victory on the majority of seats, Congress had been terming it as a bluff.  Also, it had been alleging BJP of misusing government machinery. Independent candidates are being bought and allurements are being given to winning Congress candidates, Rathore alleged.  

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