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

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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.

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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.

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

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s statue on Shimla Ridge or Mall, memorial in Manali, renaming Kold Dam and 2 schemes on HP Govt’s list

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Statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Shimla Ridge or Mall

Shimla: After Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Yashwant Singh Parmar, and freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, now the ruling government of Bhartiya Janata Party has decided to erect a statue of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on either the historic Shimla Ridge Maidan or the Mall.

Three of the aforementioned statues are of the prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress. This would be the first statute of a leader of Bhartiya Janata Party to be installed beside the INC leaders.

The Cabinet also decided to construct a memorial at Manali in memory of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The government would also send a proposal to the Union Government to rename Kol Dam project after his name.

The Cabinet has also passed a resolution to request Union Government to name Rohtang Tunnel in the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The government will also re-name the Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Vidya Kendra Scheme launched by the State Government as Atal Adarsh Vidya Kendra and Mukhya Mantri Aashirwad Scheme as Atal Aashirwad Scheme.

Such decisions have their own psycho-social impacts on the common populace in the long-term and the INC has used them quite effectively.

The Cabinet has cited following reasons behind passing condolence resolution:

  • The government said these decisions are the parts of a condolence resolution on the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • He had special benevolence for Himachal Pradesh and its people and had sanctioned various mega projects for the State which people of the State have not dreamt of. He considered Himachal as his second home and has home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, the Cabinet said.
  • He gave the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting Lahaul valley with rest of the world in 1998 and the project was announced on June 3, 2000.
  • He gave a special package for industrial development for Himachal Pradesh in 2003.
  • He gave the nod to Pokhran Nuclear test making India a nuclear power.
  • One of the largest education programs ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership.
  • He gave the nation the Golden Quadrilateral National Highway Project – the lifeline of trade in India.
  • He started ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking five lakh villages of India to cities including those in Himachal.
  • His policies paved way for a very robust economic growth, with special emphasis on SEZs, giving telecom spectrum to private players for quality service to customers etc.
  • He had laid the foundation stones of Kol Dam and Parvati Hydro Electric Projects in the State besides Mohan Shakti National Heritage Park at Harth near Solan.

 

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HP Govt mulls over regular medical checkups in schools for early diagnosis of drug addiction

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medical checkup in hp govt schools

Shimla: Considering the rapidly increasing evil nuisance drug/substance abuse in the youths of Himachal Pradesh, the state government is mulling over introducing a mechanism for regular medical checkups of the school students for early diagnose of signs and symptoms of drug addiction.

It was informed at the Regional Conference of Chief Ministers of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Administrator of Chandigarh Union Territory held today.

As the States shared their borders with each other, they agreed that it is essential to constitute a joint task force to check cross-border drug peddling.

Other proposals included the formation of a long-term strategy to engage youth in constructive activities and to encourage parents to keep an eye on the behaviour of their teenage children. Abnormal behaviour often results from the circumstances created by addiction.

The entry of synthetic drugs is tightening its grip on the youth including the teenagers at schools.

A large number of crimes could be attributed to substance addictions. Addicts are trying to obtain money to purchase substances/drugs, but when a purchase goes wrong, they need more money, it gives rise to violence and crime. Eradication of drug mafia would also affect the rate of crimes.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, through video conferencing, said that about 1000 arrests had been made in the State against drug peddlers. However, no time period was mentioned.

Further, it was decided that a Common Secretariat would be established in Panchkula in Haryana to check this social vice and all the neighbouring States would appoint a Nodal Officers for effective coordination, it was informed. Uttar Pradesh would also be requested to be part of this campaign and the Chief Ministers of these northern State would meet after every six months in a year and the Secretary-level meeting would be at least four times in a year.

Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhry, Additional Chief Secretary Dr Shrikant Baldi, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi and ADGP Anurag were present at Shimla and Additional Chief Secretary, Home B.K. Aggarwal and Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu were present at Chandigarh on the occasion.

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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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