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Monkeys in the Garden

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Gardening has always fascinated me. Till now I have believed in its therapeutic nature, how it calms our senses as well as educates us, teaching so many things, from sowing to reaping our crops and invaluable knowledge about the flora and how the climate is related to them.

But, Delhi provides me with little scope in terms of full-fledged gardening, where less of space limits us to either terrace gardening in pint size houses or putting a few potted plants in our balconies.

As a child, living in the hills, I have always seen houses accompanied with lawns and gardens and same goes for my parents’ home. Here in Himachal , whether you are rich or poor, everyone has roof over their head along with kitchen gardens, though the size may vary. Despite of urbanization, the gardens still exist. But yes, these high-rise buildings have resulted in destruction of Natural Habitats of animals and birds . The result of all this is’ increase in monkey-menace, the simian population is destroying the crops and vegetables, because of all this the farmers are facing huge losses. It has become a herculean task to control these monkeys and despite of on-going sterilization programmes nothing much has been done or changed.

Delhi monkey menace

Now, the huge back yard garden of my dad faces the biggest threat from the troops of the monkeys on the prowl looking for goodies. Though my dad has attained some wisdom in dealing with them by observing them for quite some time now. The doors of the house are never left open and always latched, the dustbins are never left out, the compost pit is always covered, and the old habit of feeding the monkeys especially during Tuesdays by my mother has been quit long time back, even if a baby monkey steals her heart with its pranks.

Despite of all this, the real test began for them when there were mangoes, tomatoes and guavas in their kitchen garden which were about to ripen!! Seeing the monkey family so mercilessly plucking the mangoes, Brinjals and even spring onions, and so carelessly tasting and throwing them away, really saddened them. Their labour and hard work was just destroyed in few seconds, they were almost heart-broken.

Our neighbours made a smart move. In order to tackle this situation peacefully, they made a green house but my dad was not in favour of this as it would restrict the movement of birds. Many others like us who did not support the Green house idea , took to bursting of crackers. Moment the monkeys were in the vicinity , a fire crackers went off and hearing the big boom, the monkeys scampered away. Soon this idea became quite hot and happening and we also tried it, but every time bursting crackers was spoiling the peaceful environs , along with scaring the poor pet and street dogs and whole day keeping a watch on these simians was not possible and often they would stealthily come and perform their chores, the half eaten vegetables strewn around were the only proof of their surprise and shocking visit for us.

The present cause of concern for my father is his Orange tree, he has so religiously taken care of this tree, from the time it was just a mere sapling, that even my six year daughter has made it a duty to water it daily and refers to it as ‘Nanu ka Orange Tree’. As the small oranges have started appearing, my father is so perturbed about its future, every day he counts the number of oranges along with my daughter, the addition to the orange family brings smiles on their faces but some where a fear is lurking in his mind about their survival rate, as deep down he knows that once the monkeys eye this tree, only a couple of the oranges will survive, that too out of sheer luck.

The idea of covering the oranges with the muslin cloth was suggested by one of our neighbours but it was completely rejected by my father as it is a tested and a failed formula, which was tried on the mangoes last year, it restricted the growth of the fruit and later on the monkeys could spot the mangoes hidden behind the mask , which they managed to tear apart .

So the last resort left with us was the toy guns, and now we are dealing with the monkeys in our kitchen garden with these guns, as we see the monkeys, my dad just raises his gun in air, so that it is visible to the monkeys as they are intelligent beings and fear for their lives and this technique has been a successful so fa , as well as harmless to all concerned. Monkeys just run away seeing the guns, but God knows till when.

By Anjali Sharma, an HW Reader

Campus Watch

HIMCOSTE PLS: Eminent scientist & activist Dr Vandana Shiva to speak at Shimla on July 17

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Navdanya founder dr shiva

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Council for Science Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE), Shimla is organising Popular Lecture Series (PLS) under its Science Popularisation programme.

This programme started under Science Popularisation since 2017 for Science students of Govt. Degree Colleges of all the Districts of Himachal Pradesh. The programme is funded by Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, under the Science Day and Mathematics Day celebration.

Eminent speakers/scientists are invited to address students so that they are motivated for taking up Science & Technology and work for the betterment of the community.
This series of lectures will be organised in the first phase at the:

  1. Government Degree College (GDC), Sanjauli, Shimla on July 17
  2. GDC Bilaspur on August 1
  3. GDC Hamirpur on August 2
  4. GDC Nathan on August 8
  5. GDC Solan August 9

Following five renowned and eminent scientists and environmental activist will deliver lectures :

  1. Dr Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya
  2. Retd. Prof. PK Ahluwalia, Department of Physics HP University
  3. Dr Patrick Das Gupta, Department of Physics & Astrophysics University of Delhi
  4. Dr Kiran Katoch, Dr AS Paintal Chair (ICMR) IIHMR University, Jaipur
  5. Dr Ravi Chopra, Director Peoples Science Institute Dehradun
  6. Dr Rajeev Kumar Puri, Department of Physics University of Punjab

 

The second phase in other Districts would be organised in September and October 2018.

Dr Vandana Shiva at Sanjauli College on sustainable Mountain Agriculture & Organic Farming

The First lecture in this series would be delivered by Dr Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya – a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds and to promote organic farming and fair trade

For the last two decades, Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations serving more than 5,00,000 men and women farmers. Navdanya’s efforts have resulted in conservation of more than 3000 rice varieties from all over the country and have established 60seed banks in 16 states across the country.

In 2004, she started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K.

Dr Shiva combines the sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism. She is equally at ease working with peasants in rural India and teaching in Universities worldwide.

Time Magazine identified Dr Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. Forbes magazine in November 2010 has identified Dr Vandana Shiva as one of the top seven most Powerful Women on the Globe.

The topic of the talk by Dr Vandana Shiva would be “Sustainable Mountain Agriculture & Organic Farming” at Govt. Degree College, Sanjauli on July 17, 2018, where 1000 science students are expected to get benefitted by this talk. The Science faculty of Sanjauli College would attend this talk.

Kunal Satyarthi, IFS Member Secretary HIMCOSTE, will be present on the occasion.

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Environment

15 lakh saplings planted in Himachal by 80,000 people in 3 days, claims Forest Minister

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15 lakh sapling planted in Himachal Pradesh on van mahotsav

Shimla: The Forest Minister Govind Singh Thakur today said that three days statewide plantation campaign from 12 to 14 July 2018 was launched in the State and more than 15 lakh saplings were planted in different parts of the State.

He said that the campaign was undertaken in all 13 Forest Circles in the state and Forty-one Forest Divisions participated in the campaign. Plantations were performed at 600 sites of the state. Chamba Forest Division with 99,281 plants was at First position followed by Ani and Rampur Forest Divisions with 81,369 and 80,059 plants respectively.

More than six lakh deodar species were planted beside broad leave and other conifers. He said that the entire plantation campaign was monitored online.

He said that all walks of life including school children, women, senior citizen and youth comprising 80000 people actively participated in the campaign. Plantation activities were performed from the boundaries of the state in the north with Jammu and Kashmir to Yamuna River in south and Kinnaur district in the east to boundaries of the state with Punjab in the west, he added.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had inaugurated state level Van Mahotsav on July 10 from Rajgargh in Sirmaur district. Governor Acharya Devvrat also participated in the campaign at Nehra in Shimla District on July 13 2018.

He said that plantation activities are still going on and it is expected that total 17 lakh plants will be planted by the end of the campaign.

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Campus Watch

Van Mahotsav 2018: Nauni varsity plants over 500 trees at campus

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UHF Nauni on van mahotsav 2018

Solan: Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur today inaugurated the Van Mahotsav at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni.

He planted a sapling of an ornamental tree-Crape Myrtle, at the university’s main gate.

Later in the day, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma addressed the university staff and students. He thanked the Chief Minister and other dignitaries for launching the plantation drive of the university.

Jai Ram Thakur on Van Mahotsav 2018

CM Jai Ram Thakur watering a newly planted tree at UHF Nauni

While explaining the importance of trees for the survival of humankind, Dr Sharma called for collective efforts to conserve existing forests and undertake plantation in newer areas. He said that Van Mahotsav was an event, which not only connected everyone with nature but was also an important requirement in today’s times.

Dr Sharma also called for the support of the all the university employees and students in ensuring the survivability of all the plants.

The participants undertook a plantation drive at the university campus in which over 500 trees of Melia Composita, a fast-growing tree was planted near the staff residences of the university.

The local branches of the State Bank of India and UCO Bank along with various societies also supported and took part in the programme.

Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker Dr Rajeev Bindal, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Virender Kanwar, Forest Minister Govind Thakur, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. Rajiv Saizal and Member of Parliament Sh. Virender Kashyap also carried out plantation on the occasion.

Chief Minister presided over the 69th State Level Van Mahotsav at Churwadhar in Rajgarh area of Pachhad Assembly Constituency in Sirmour district.

He said that 15 lakh sapling would be planted in the 596 selected places in the State witan h active participation of the people. He said that although about 67 per cent area of the State was covered with forests still lot more needed to be done.

The State government was endeavouring that everyone adopts a tree as “Gotra Tree” and help to conserve and protect it. This would motivate the people particularly the younger generation to conserve our environment. He also urged the student to help in environmental conservation.

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