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Himachal to auction apple crop harvested from encroached land amidst protest from growers

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Apple cultivation on encroached forest land


HP Apple Growers Association criticises Govt. for mechanical implemented of orders, Opposition parties blame the Virbhadra government for not pleading the case of farmers strongly in the High Court.

The Himachal Pradesh Government on Thursday in a reply in the High Court stated that it had registered 2509 FIRs out of 2527 cases of illegal encroachments of more than 10 bighas of forest land by encroachers. The demarcation has been done in at least 2520 cases and 2515 cases have been challaned in the judicial courts.

Just seven cases are left for demarcation. And in less than 10 bigha category of illegal possessions out of a total 9735 cases, proceedings have been completed by the forest and revenue officials under the Himachal Pradesh Public Premises (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act 1971. Out of a total of 7244 cases the officials have evicted 3893 cases of the encroached forest lands from the illegal possessors.

In the status report filed before the division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan the government maintained that it had conducted the high-level meeting and had taken a decision to comply with the orders of the Court in letter and spirit. The government has decided to conduct on the spot auction of apples and other fruits bearing orchards on encroached forest land immediately without further loss of time, since these crops are about to reach the ripening stage and any delay in the process shall only cause these crops to perish.

The Court on Thursday ordered to videograph the entire process of auction proceedings and the standing apple and other fruit trees on the encroached lands. It has categorically said in the order that “lodging of FIRs does not mean that the encroachment proceedings have come to an end, are to be kept under eclipse. FIR relates to trespass and other offences punishable under the applicable penal laws, but the apple trees, other fruit bearing trees, crops and other encroachments made on the forest land are to be removed in terms of the mandate of law read with the orders passed by this Court from time to time and the fruits or crops are to be dealt with in terms of the said orders”.

Encroachment on one inch or on thousand inches is an encroachment and the encroachers are liable to be evicted and dealt with under law

,said the Court.

The Congress-led government had pleaded in the Court for a modified order in case of the eviction ordered by the High Court of all types of encroachments.

On the other hand apple growers alleged the Govt. for mechanical implementation of orders, Rakesh Singha, president, HP Apple Growers Association, said,

If the 10-storey High Court building and 12-storey Jagson ropeways building have violated the municipal law, should the extra portion be demolished. It is a matter of grave concern that the state government is evicting poor and small farmers and disconnecting water and electricity connections in the state.

The Opposition parties who have blamed the Virbhadra government for not pleading the case of farmers strongly in the High Court are now demanding from it to file a review petition in the High Court or to approach the apex court to save the small and marginal peasants. They have demanded that small encroachments of the poor farmers should be regularised and another derive for land reforms should be conducted in the State.

Misc News/Press Release

Govt declares 7-days State Mourning, 2-days public holiday in Himachal

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Atal-Bihari-Vajpayee passes away

Shimla:The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the Governor Acharya Devvrat, and several leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party and oppositions mourned the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93).

He passed away today in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi after a long illness.

The State Government has declared seven days State Mourning. The national flag would remain to fly at half mast.

The State Government has also declared public holidays for 17th and 18th August 2018.

He was born in Gwalior on December 25, 1924, and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1939. was one of the founding members of the BJP.

He Vajpayee was thrice elected the prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and was the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004.

He was also conferred prestigious Bharat Ratan award too.

Nation has today lost a great leader and a noble soul. This loss cannot be compensated. Himachal Pradesh had been a special place for Atal Ji and he always considered it as his own home as he used to come and stay at Prini in Kullu District frequently

, in their condolence message, the Ministers said.

He was a statesman and a visionary leader, whose demise is a great loss to the nation. He said that Shri Vajpayee always considered Himachal Pradesh as his second home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, 

Chief Minister Jai Ram said in his condolence message.

The Chief Minister also shared an old picture taken with Shri Vajpayee.

Chief Minister said that the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting landlocked hinterland Lahaul valley with rest of the world was conceived in 1998 by Shri Vajpayee and the project was announced by him on June 3, 2000. He said that this project was nearing completion and would be the biggest gift of Shri Vajpayee to the State.

He said that it was National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee that Himachal Pradesh got a special package for industrial development in 2003. He said that this resulted in an industrial investment of thousands of crores of Rupees and employment opportunities to lakhs of the youth of the State.

Jai Ram Thakur said one of the largest educational programs in the world, ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership. The program was a product of strong willpower of this statesman, he added.

Chief Minister said that it was during the tenure of Shri Vajpayee that the Golden Quadrilateral, the lifeline of trade in India came into being. In addition, ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking the 5 lakh villages of India to cities by all-weather roads, which in particular proved a boon to the hilly states like Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Shri Vajpayee was the great son of India in a real sense, who, with his simplicity and humility, ruled the hearts of millions of people. He always believed in value-based politics and always adhered to it. He said that Shri Vajpayee would always be remembered and respected by the people of the country for his simplicity, humanity and benevolence,

the Governor said in his message of condolence.

Further, leaders of the opposition are also paying their respects and praying to the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul.

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Landslide on Shimla-Dhalli bypass hit apple trucks & traffic plan, road likely to remain closed for 2-3 days

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Mehli-Shimla bypass

Shimla – A huge landslide on Shimla-Dhali bypass road (NH-5) between Mehli and Malyana on Thursday afternoon has come in a time when the apple growers have begun to reap their crops and transport to markets. It is the peak season for the growers. The Shimla-Dhali bypass is like a lifeline for the growers in the upper areas of the district.

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As per the Traffic Police, Shimla, it may take about two to three days to clear the road and open it for traffic again. The landslide also uprooted three to four trees. There were no reports of anything being buried under the debris and rocks.

All vehicles on both sides of the road remained stuck in long jams before they had to turn back to take alternative routes.

This blockage has made another road inaccessible for the trucks – the Mehli-Shoghi bypass, which branches off from the Shimla-Dhali bypass. The Shimla Police had to change the traffic plan according to which the trucks arriving from the upper area of the district would have to take the Dhalli-IGMC-Lakkar Bazaar road during the night hours only.

As per the police, the trucks going towards the upper Shimla area would have to use the bifurcation at Khalini Chowk and take Khalini-Chhota Shimla-Dhalli route during night hours only.

As per the district administration, the work to clear the road is underway, but it might take a couple of days before it could be opened for traffic.

At the same time, the blockage of roads due to landslips at various other places has brought local vehicles as well as trucks carrying apple crop to halt, leading to a distress among the growers. Bad weather could delay the restoration work.

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Lack of emergency in making emergency announcement troubles schoolchildren, parents

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school in shimla remained closed

Shimla: On August 13, 2018, the district administration of Shimla like all other districts decided to keep the schools close owing to a heavy and continuous spell of rain. It continued raining on Sunday night and till early morning it had caused several landslides and uprooting of trees. The roads were blocked all over the city including the circular road.

As it was still raining on Monday morning, it was announced that the schools were to be kept closed for the day.

However, by the time this announcement was made, the majority of school students had already reached the school or on their way to school. The cabs had returned after dropping children at their respective schools.

It was still raining heavily when the schools sent children back home.

We had taken our seats in our classroom when the teacher told us that the school was to remain closed for the day,

said a student of a reputed private school while he was returning to the home on feet.

I received an SMS regarding the announcement when my children had already left for the school. The school said they had sent them back, but they did not reach home. There is no mean to communicate with them, and I fear they might have got stuck somewhere due to traffic jams,

said a mother of two while waiting for her children at a shop in Tutikandi.

The schoolteachers, when inquired about the same said they were also unaware of the announcement and had reached the school by the time this announcement reached them.

There were several other parents who were waiting for the safe return of their respective children. They believed, the schools should not have sent children back in heavy rain if they had arrived at school.

The campus would have been a safer place when it was raining heavy and roads were already blocked at several places,

said another woman while she inquired classmates of her son.

I had returned after dropping children at the school. I begin to receive calls from the parents to go back and bring the children back as the schools were closed. The Khalini-Shimla road was already closed due to a fallen tree, and even I was stuck in traffic,

said a cab driver.

It appears the State Government need to evolved faster and insured ways to reach the public via official announcements in times of emergencies like bad weather and natural disasters. Had this announcement reached an hour ago, which was possible as it had been raining heavily all night, the children and parents would not have faced such huge inconvenience.

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