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Misc News/Press Release

Kinnaur landslide blocks NH-5, damages village homes and orchards



KINNAUR- A sudden, massive landslide in Chagaon Panchayat has completely shut down Tapri-Urni (NH-5) in Kinnuar. The rubble has completely engulfed 300 meter stretch from Saraswati Vidhya Mandir curve to Janakpuri on NH-5. The landslide has also caused damage to orchards and to about 10 houses that developed cracks. Some villagers also lost livestock and were forced to evacuate homes. The loss is estimated to be around Rs. 19 lakh. While the authorities have commissioned JCB machines to clear the roads, rocks and rubble still continue to roll down.


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This particular stretch of NH-5 is very vulnerable to landslides and it has witnessed similar landslides earlier. Locals and environmental activists allegedly hold construction of Karcham-Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant by JP Karcham Hydro Corporation Limited responsible for such cases. In monsoon the condition of the road becomes even more pitiable. So far, HP government has failed to come out with any solution at all. People did receive assurances from the government but never received any relief.

Present incident is also limited to local dailies, which have either avoided or have not mentioned JP Hydroelectric Plant at all. However, the construction of plant has been facing aggressive protests from locals and workers.


The 1000 MW project is located in Satluj river basin in Kinnaur and comprises of a 98 meters high (above river bed) concrete dam with a 17.2 km long head race tunnel. The tunnel passes through four villages, Chagaon, Urni, Yula and Meeru. Blasts for the construction of tunnel have not only hit village homes, but its side-effects on fragile Himalayan ecology have also resulted in phenomenon such as land sliding. Hollow mountains with leaking tunnels mean more vulnerability to land sliding.

What makes it a controversial deal for HP Government is that land sliding is affecting the village area and agricultural land (orchards). A research paper, “Environmental and social impact of Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower project in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh: a retrospective analysis,” published in Research Gate discusses all possible impacts and consequences of Karcham-Wangtoo project. For this study, 40 stakeholders, 4 from each village, were interviewed and it was found that,

All of these stakeholders emphasized adverse social and environmental impacts, 37 of stakeholders reported that during the time of tunnel digging heavy blasting has produces cracks in their houses. It was observed that the dust from dumping of excavation material of tunnel is affecting the pollination during the flowering of apple (main cash crop) and the apple production decreased after establishment of this project.

One of HW readers posted some images in HW UrNews and said,

Latest land slide near Tapri of Chagaon Panchayat due to Karcham-Wangtoo hydro project. These hydro projects made life in Kinnuar hell. Leaders who supported the company and construction of project are also responsible for it.

According to villagers, frequent landslides have destroyed other similar link and alternative roads too. The debris that ended up inRiver  Sutlej can block the water-flow and result in formation of a lake, which could put nearby villages in danger.

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Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal’s senior journalist Sunil Sharma passes away at 49



Himachal's senior journlist sunil sharma dies

Shimla: A senior journalist and the State Bureau Chief of the Hindi daily Divya Himachal, Sunil Sharma, today passed away suddenly. He was 49-year-old and was at his house in Jakhu, Shimla while he died.

The media community and political leaders including the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Governor Acharya Devvrat, and Director, Information and Public Relations Anupam Kashyap have extended their condolences.

Media persons begin to pay visits to the bereaved family as soon as they received the news. The cause of sudden death has not disclosed yet officially.

The CM Jai Ram Thakur said Sunil Sharma was a committed journalist, and always maintained ethics of journalism. He said that his demise has created a void in the field of journalism.

The Chief Minister along with Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj visited the residence of Sunil Sharma at Jakhu and expressed their sympathies with the bereaved family members.  

Governor Acharya Devvrat expressed his sympathies with the grief-stricken family members.

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Misc News/Press Release

Rohit Kumar Saval joins as CM Jairam’s media adviser



Rohit Kumar Saval

Shimla: Rohit Kumar Saval, who has an extensive experience in media, today joined as Media Advisor to Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, at Shimla. Later he called on the Chief Minister and discussed issues related to media in the State.

Chief Minister said that Rohit Kumar Saval has been working for a long time with media and has a rich experience of working at State and National level. He said the role of media is very important in the dissemination of programs and policies of the state government.

His appointment as an advisor will strengthen media liaison as well as promote professionalism in the government system, he said.

Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Trilok Jamwal, OSD to Chief Minister, Mahender Kumar Dharmani, Additional Chief Secretary-cum- Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Manisha Nanda, Director, Information and Public Relations, Anupam Kashyap, were also present on the occasion.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP E-Vidhan wing gifts Galaxy Note 8, laptop, printer to all MLAs, ministers



HP E-vidhan wing gifts mlas

The government said that these gifts were given to the MLAs and ministers by the E-Vidhan wing of the HP Vidhan Sabha and will be used for official work.

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government on March 16, 2018, gifted electronic devices including a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which currently costs between 68,000 to 70,000 INR, a laptop, and a printer to all the elected members of the 13th Assembly including the council of ministers.

The average cost per MLA is estimated to be above one lakh INR. The total cost touches almost 1 crore INR. The Information and Technology Minister, Ram Lal Markanda, personally visited the Speaker Rajiv Bindal to deliver the gifts.

The news has attracted criticism from several groups, especially on social media and regional online news portals. The Bhartiya Janata Party has been opening scathing attacks on the previous Congress government over a debt of 46,000 crores INR.

Also, the state government did not take timely cognizance of the media reports about a 16-year-old poverty-stricken girl of Solan district who required lakhs of rupees to undergo a kidney transplant after she lost both of her own kidneys.

In the list of priorities, the gifts did come above the announcement of relief money to the girl.

Therefore, the reason for the criticism was quite apparent.  

It is being speculated that some of the MLAs have even sold or handed their copies of devices to subordinate staff or family members as they already had high-end smartphones.

However, the government said that these gifts were given to the MLAs and ministers by the E-Vidhan wing of the HP Vidhan Sabha and will be used for official work  during the current government tenure.

The Speaker said, the MLAs and Ministers will be given training regarding the operation of these electronic devices.

The effect of this step will be visible directly or indirectly in coming days. The government’s explanation that these electronics were gifted as part of the E-Vidhan program will be visible if all the recipient make themselves available to the public online.

Currently, the State government’s official websites are either not user-friendly or are in tatters and hardly contains latest data or information.  As we had mentioned earlier, the official website of the State government has still not updated the name of the Chief Minister.

The average response rate to e-mails is critically low for the government departments and the offices of the ministers.

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