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Apple crop hit by rain and thunderstorm, fresh snow in higher hills of Himachal

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Fresh spell of snow in High altitude tribal areas, lower belt lashed by rains and hailstorm, apple crop suffered widespread damage,standing wheat crop was flattened in some areas

Shimla-The high altitude tribal areas had fresh spell of intermittent snowfall while the mid and lower hills were lashed by rains and hailstorm, causing damage to apple crop.

Shimla and its surrounding areas were lashed by hailstorm, followed by intermittent showers, causing sharp fall in mercury which dropped by three to seven degrees.

The apple crop in lower belt, which is in setting stage suffered widespread damage and standing wheat crop was flattened in some areas in the lower hills.

The Western Disturbance triggered another spell of fresh snowfall on higher reaches and Keylong and Kalpa in Lahaul and Spiti and Kalpa in Kinnuar while the Rohtang Pass had 30 cm of fresh snowfall.

The sprawling Dhauladhar ranges in Kangra, Churdhar ranges in Sirmaur and other high hills and Baralacha, Kunjum, Saach and Chansel passes, Shrikhand and Kinner Kailash mountains are experiencing intermittent snowfall accompanied by strong velocity icy winds since yesterday morning.

Kufri, Fagu, Gullu, Cheog, Mashobra and nearby areas of Shimla were lashed with hailstorm causing damage to apple crop and hampering vehicular traffic, Deputy Commissioner of Shimla, Dinesh Malhotra said.

Widespread rains occurred in Himachal during past 24 hours with Banjar wettest in the region with 19 mm of rains, followed by Seobagh and Pandoh in Mandi 13 mm, Karsog and Palampur 12 mm each, Bhuntar 11 mm, Bajaura 10 mm, Baijnath Dalhousie 9 mm, Mandi, Shimla, Rampur and Kufri 8 mm each.

Maximum and minimum temperatures decreased by 2 to 3 degree Celsius with Keylong and Kalpa recording minimum temperatures at minus 1.1 deg C and 0.4 deg C, while Manali and Saluni recorded a low of 3.0 deg and 5.5 deg, followed by Bhuntar 6.6 deg, Shimla 6.8 deg and Sundernagar 9 deg C.

Una was hottest in the region with maximum temperature at 30.2 deg C while Sundernagar and Bhuntar recorded a high 24. 9 deg, Nahan 25.3 deg, Dharamsala 23.8 deg, Solan 21.7 deg, Shimla 18.4 deg and Kalpa 13.6 deg C, three to four degree below normal.

The local MeT office has predicted rain or snow at isolated places in higher reaches and dry weather in the rest of the state during next 24 hours. PTI

Photo: OneIndia

Art & Culture

Kullu Dussehra 2021: All Religious Ceremonies to be Allowed, But No Commercial and Cultural Events

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Kullu dussehra 2021

Shimla-The International Kullu Dussehra would be organised from 15th October to 21st October, 2021, the Himachal Pradesh Government informed today after holding a meeting regarding the same.

The HP Government has decided that all deities would be invited for the Dussehra festival. Orgnaization of all religious ceremonies would be allowed traditionally, but the cultural and commercial activities would not be held.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presided over meeting of State Level Kullu Dussehra Committee. Directions were given to ensure proper security system, uninterrupted electricity supply and adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.

It was also decided in the meeting that Language, Art and Culture Department would provide an additional amount of Rs. 10 lakh to district administration Kullu for organising Kullu Dussehra festival.

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HP Cabinet Decisions Sept 24: Approval to Open Schools from 27 Sept,  Fill 8,000 Posts, Changes in Transfer Policy of JBT, C, and V Teachers

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HP Cabinet Decisions september 24, 2021

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in a meeting held today, has decided to open schools from September 27 for the students of 9th to 12th classes. The students of class 10th and 12th would attend schools on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, whereas students of class 9th and 11th would attend schools on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a week. Online classes and examinations will continue for classes upto 8th standard.  

Further, the HP Cabinet also decided to create and fill up 8000 posts of Multi-Task Workers in the educational institutions under the Higher and Elementary Departments as per the provisions of the Part-Time Multi-Task Workers Policy 2020. As per the policy, these Multi-Task Workers would be provided with a consolidated honorarium of Rs. 5625 per month for 10 months in one academic year.

The Cabinet decided to amend the transfer policy for inter-district transfer of JBT and C and V teachers in the State by reducing the existing tenure from 13 years to five years, including the contract period, for transfer to another district and also increase the quota from existing 3% to 5%.

It also decided to enhance the honorarium of IT teachers outsourced in various educational institutions in the State by Rs. 500 per month from April 1st, 2021.

It also gave its approval for renaming Forest Training Institute and Rangers College Sundernagar as Himachal Pradesh Forest Academy.

The HP Cabinet gave its consent to draft a proposal for the Customised Package of Incentives for Mega Industrial Projects in the State under Himachal Pradesh Industrial Investment Policy and Rules -2019.

It gave its approval for filling up 20 posts of Naib Tehsildar in the Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis.

It also gave its approval to the policy of replacement/maintenance of damaged crash barriers in the State.

It also decided to rename Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojna as Mukhyamantri Grihini Suvidha Yojna.

It also decided to rename Himachal Health Care Yojna- Himcare as Mukhyamantri Himachal Health Care Yojna-Himcare.

The Cabinet gave its nod to rename Sahara Yojna as Mukhyamantri Sahara Yojna.

The Cabinet gave its consent to create and fill up 10 posts of different categories in Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission, Hamirpur for its smooth functioning.

The Cabinet decided to upgrade Primary Health Centre Swarghat in Bilaspur district to Community Health Centre along with the creation of requisite posts.

It also decided to upgrade Primary Health Centre Gadsa in Banjar area of Kullu district to Community Health Centre along with creation of requisite posts to man this health institution. 

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Kinnaur Landslide: 14 Bodies Recovered in 30 Hours, Several Still Missing

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Kinnaur landslide rescue operation photos

Kinnaur: Landslide in Kinnaur district is unfolding as one of the biggest catastrophe in Himachal Pradesh as the of fatality count continues to rise. After 30 hours of the rescue operation, which was hampered multiple times due to shooting stones at the site, 14 dead bodies had been recovered till the suspension of the operation on Thursday evening. While 10 bodies were recovered on Wednesday, four more were exhumed from the rubble on Thursday.

As many as 15 persons were rescued and taken to Bhavanagar CHC for treatment.

The wreckage of the HP Road Transport Corporation bus was found scattered about 500 meters below the National Highway-5 in Nigulsari – the site of the massive landslide. The condition of the wreckage suggested there was little hope of survival of any passenger. The distraught relatives of the missing persons remained at the site, grieving with diminishing hope to see their family members alive as the rescue operation for today was suspended.

Kinnaur HRTC Bus wreckage

HRTC Bus Wreckage

The state of exhumed bodies added to the horror of the families, as well as, the rescuers. Some of the bodies were in such a state that their identification was next to impossible. While some bodies had their limbs cut off, one of them was found without the head.

As the rescue operation would be entering its third day on Friday, the death toll is likely to rise as the driver of the bus, who had survived the accident and was seriously injured, had estimated that 25-30 passengers were onboard when the landslide pushed it down the NH.

Further, there is still no sign of one vehicle (Bolero SUV), informed Director, State Disaster Management, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta. The exact number of people feared to be buried under the rubble was yet to be ascertained. According to the district administration, based on calls received from families, the number of missing people could be anywhere between 30-50.

Kinnaur rescue operation resumes

Meanwhile, some family members of the missing persons complained that while the rescue operation was initiated immediately from the Negulsari side, JCB machines took over five hours to reach the spot from the Chauri side. They complained that such a big delay was crucial and could have saved more lives.

It’s pertinent to mention that the HRTC bus had remained untraceable on Wednesday and the wreckage was found on the second day of the rescue operation. However, most passengers were yet to be traced.  

According to the Deputy Commandant, ITBP, Dharmender Thakur, shooting stones and sliding rubble posed a huge challenge for the rescue teams, which comprised of hundreds of personnel of NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, local police, and CISF. Undertaking this operation on a steep slope further created difficult circumstances for the teams. The lives of the rescuers were also at risk as the site remained vulnerable to reactivation of landslide.

This landslide in the Kinnaur district has become a matter of debate for geologists, environmentalists, seismologists and climatologists. Unscientific cutting of fragile mountains and blasting for the widening of roads and construction of tunnels for hydropower projects, changing patterns of rains, and seismic activity are being referred to be the reasons behind the increased incidents of landslides, especially in Kinnaur district.

At the same time, the inability of the state government to consider technical suggestions given by geological experts from time to time for mitigation of such hazards is also finding mention in the critical comments given by experts. The lackadaisical attitude of the government in the adoption of technologies, such as the early warning system developed by the IIT Mandi for mountainous regions vulnerable to landslides, is also attracting criticism.

It’s pertinent to mention that after the Kotrupi disaster – a massive landslide that had buried two buses and claimed 48 lives in August 2017-experts from IIT Mandi had carried out surveys and studies and provided several suggestions for minimizing damages, which fell into deaf ears.  

The deceased were identified as:

  1. Rohit Kumar
  2. Vanshuka
  3. Meera Devi
  4. Nitisha
  5. Prem Kumar
  6. Gyan Dassi
  7. Devi Chand
  8. Kumari Radhika
  9. Bhupender
  10. Kamlesh Kumar
  11. Lakshman Thapa
  12. Vijay Kumar

Two others were yet to be identified. The state government has announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 5o thousand to the injured. HRTC has also announced Rs. 1 lakh ex-gratia to the passengers of the bus killed in the mishap. 

Further, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and several other political leader visited the spot and met the relatives of victims on Thursday. 

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