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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 9 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 the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Himachal Records Fresh Spell of Snow, HP Met Issues Alert

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snowfall in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The weather in Himachal Pradesh has taken a turn with a prediction of rain and snowfall till December 5, 2021. At the time of writing this report, Kaza in Lahaul-Spiti was receiving a fresh spell of snow, cheering the tourists, as well as, the hoteliers. So far, the traffic movement was normal in the region.

This has caused a sharp drop in temperatures across the state.

The District Administration of Lahaul-Spiti has advised the locals and tourists to avoid wandering to high altitude areas unnecessarily.

The HP Meteorological Department, Shimla, has also issued a yellow alert for December 2 and December 5. While the plains can experience light to moderate rainfall at a few places,  the middle and higher hills could witness widespread rain and snow on December 2.   

For December 4, the HP Met had predicted light to moderate rain across the state. For December 5, however, the Met has issued an yellow alert with a prediction of rain and snow at several places.

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UHF Nauni Extends Online Plant Booking Date Till Dec 7

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Plant booking at uhf nauni 2021

Solan-Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has extended the last date for online booking of planting material prepared by the university’s main campus and its Krishi Vigyan Kendra(KVK) at Solan. Interested farmers will now be able to book plants on the university online portal till December 7.

This year the booking for the planting material of apple, plum, apricot, peach, kiwi, pear, pomegranate, persimmon, etc. is being done online and farmers can submit their demand for plants by logging on the university website and visiting the ‘Farmers corner’ section. The university has advised the farmers to register themselves through their email address on the university portal.

The farmers who have not been able to submit their demand forms have also been advised to resubmit their demand forms.  

Applicants will have to fill in their complete postal address and the Khasra number of the land where the planting is to be carried out along with their contact details. After the OTP-based registration process is complete, applicants will be able to book plants for varieties supplied by the university. The plant varieties available for sale and distribution on this web portal have been grafted on seedling rootstock. The procedure for the sale and distribution of Nursery Fruit Plants from other University Research Stations and KVK’s will be the same as in previous years.

The university will start the allotment process after the booking is closed. Based on the total demand, the university will allot plants out of the available quantity. The allotment list will be made available on the university portal. The farmers will be also be notified about the date on which the plant will be available and from which nursery they will be provided.

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HP Police Becomes 8th State Police of India to Receive Presidents Colour Award

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HP Police Presidents Colours award

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Police organized the Presidents Colour Award ceremony at the historic Ridge Ground on December 1, 2021.

Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar was the Chief Guest and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur was also present as a special guest on the occasion. The Governor honoured the State Police with the Presidents Colour Award which was received by the Director-General of Police Sanjay Kundu.

While extending greetings and expressing happiness on receiving the Presidents Colour by Himachal Pradesh Police, the Governor said that it was the 8th State Police of India which has received this distinction.

“President Colour’ is a special achievement and this proves the state police ranks high in the service of humanity along with performance, professionalism, integrity, protection of human rights and other parameters,” said the Governor.

HP Police Presidents Colours award ceremony

The Governor honoured the State Police with the Presidents Colour Award which was received by the Director-General of Police Sanjay Kundu.

He added that this feat has also been given to the State Police for the contribution of its personnel, who have worked tirelessly over the years to make it reliable, professional, honest and people-friendly. He said it would definitely motivate the Police personnel and they would work more readily in public service.

While interacting with media on the occasion, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur congratulated the State Police for being awarded President’s Colours by the President of India for its meritorious services. He said that this Award was the highest point in the professional life of any uniform. 

Director-General of Police Sanjay Kundu said that the President’s Color’was not only an award but also a responsibility, which the Himachal Pradesh Police has to fulfil with more integrity, efficiency and discipline.

He added that every Jawan of the State Police should take a pledge to maintain security and peace in Devbhumi Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier, the Governor inspected the Parade. On the occasion, the formation of Hollow Square by the Police Band, Pilling of drums and consecration of the colour was the main attraction

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