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Fresh case of ‘water tank poisoning’ in Sirmaur village stirs panic

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SIRMAUR- The series of intentional poisoning of drinking water supply tanks in Himachal Pradesh continues as another incident created panic in a village of district Sirmaur. Since September 2016, there have been over five such attempts to contaminate water mainly with pesticides. The Subathu region in district Solan had witnessed terror of unknown culprits who had first mixed pesticide in Kakkadhatti School in Subathu and later moved to other regions like Kunihar. The miscreants had poisoned water tanks at four different locations in four days.

After revelation in Yug-murder case, in which a 6-year-old was abducted for ransom and later murdered by drowning in IPH water supply tank in Shimla, it appears, miscreants have extracted a way to poison people by targeting water supply.

In the current incident, according to sources, on Friday, a family in Toka Nagla village under Kudiyon (कुडियों)Panchayat in Poanta Sahib tehsil of district Sirmaur, was alerted by pungent odor arising from tap water that had turned completely white in color. The odor resembled to pesticides used in agriculture. The news stirred panic among villagers. Last year, too, in the same village, some unknown person had mixed poison with fodder due to which two cows had died.

A team of police arrived at the scene and collected sample of water. The sample would be sent for forensic testing to identify exact chemical composition of the used toxin.

Earlier, during September and October month, unknown antisocial had contaminated the water tank of Kakkadhati Government School with pesticide ‘Nivaan’ along with a nearby IPH water tank that supplied water to an entire village.

Similar incidents of water-poisoning were reported from Chaprauli region and in Jadla village where private tank of panchayt Patwari was poisoned.

A day after it, unknown culprits targeted thousands of devotees at Radha Swami Satsang by poisoning one of the water tanks inside its premises.

In all instances, hundreds of people including school children had narrow escapes and no loss or damage of human life was reported. These people were fortunate that used pesticide emits pungent odor and turns water milky, which alerted users as soon as they opened their taps.

Health Hazards

Cases of accidental ingestion of common pesticides used in farming have shown mild to lethal effects. Depending upon the amount consumed, period of exposure and toxicity level of the chemical composition, consuming a pesticide can cause skin diseases to total collapse of nervous system and reproduction capacity.

Police Still Clueless

Hands of district police Solan are still empty and the culprits remain unidentified so far. Police claims that it had detained several people as suspects for questioning. However, the questioning didn’t yield any solid evidence that could lead to the actual culprits. The fresh case in Sirmaur has further raised concern over safety of people.

These cases had further exposed that IPH department hasn’t done much to arrange security at its water supply tanks even after Yug-murder case and directions of the honorable High Court of Himachal Pradesh. However, people are advised to sure their private water storage arrangements with fencing and locks considering the eminent threat of miscreants, who are targeting individual families.

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.

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Misc News/Press Release

Ex-MLA’s Bambar Thakur’s son, 3 others arrested with 498 grams charas in Mandi

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Congress MLA Bambar's Song arrested with charas

Mandi: The notorious leader of Indian National Congress and former Member of Legislative Assembly from district Bilaspur, Bambar Thakur, is again in the news after his son was arrested with about half-a-kilogram of charas in Mandi district today morning.

As per the police, the four youths were carrying 498 grams of charas in a luxury car (HP 69 -2323) that the son of the Ex-MLA was driving. The police confirmed that the vehicle was registered in the name of Bambar Thakur. Two of the accused were minors.

The police confirmed that a team headed by Sunil Kumar, in charge of Sadar Thana, was conducting inspections of the vehicles at a barrier near Bhyuli on National Highway-21 when the car of the accused was spotted coming towards Mandi from Pandoh.

The police stopped the car and recovered the said amount of charas from the dashboard of the car after a checking. All four accused were arrested following this recovery. As per police,  Thakur’s son and one other accused claimed they were minors, which was later verified by the Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Gurudev Chand Sharma. 

Other two accused were identified as Abhishek of Bilaspur and Amar of Shimla district.

The police have filed a case against two adults under Section 20 of the NDPS Act at Sadar Police Station, Mandi. The minors would be booked under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Further investigation is in progress, said the police.

Bambar Thakur and his son have remained in controversies for wrong reasons earlier too. Earlier, Bambar had been alleged of illegal mining and running other illegal trades even when he was a sitting MLA.

The allegations of drug-peddling against his son had also surfaced earlier. The people in a locality of Bilaspur had even staged a protest against the misuse of the local police by the MLA to shield offences of his son. 

The case has again brought the increasing indulgence of Himachal’s youth in drug/substance abuse to the limelight. 

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Video: College students thrash man in Shimla after he allegedly calls them Naxalites

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SFI classh at shimla

Shimla: On Monday, enraged over allegedly being labelled as Naxalites, some members of the Student Federation of India clashed with the man at the New Interstate Bus Terminal (ISBT) of Shimla. A video recorded by another man did rounds of the social media and caused huge embarrassment to the student organization.

The organization faced a widespread criticism after the video was circulated on social media. 

As per the report, at about 9:30 PM, some members of the SFI, who were students of a government college in Shimla, were collecting donations. One of the men reportedly denied donation, allegedly misbehaved and called them Naxalites in front of all passengers sitting inside a bus of the Himachal Pradesh Road Corporation (HRTC).

The enraged students asked the man to apologize. However, man, who identified himself as a BSF personnel, did not apologize, which led to a clash with the students.

An ugly, violent scene continued for several minutes and caused huge inconvenience to other passengers present inside the HRTC bus.

Watch Video of the clash and SFI’s clarification

Note: Himachal Watcher has excluded most of the violent part of the clip posted below:

The police reached the spot, but the man who was thrashed did not file an FIR or complaint. By that time, some other leaders of both ABVP and SFI had also arrived at the spot.

SFI said the man had accepted his fault in front of the police and had compromised afterwards.  

SFI alleged the video was circulated on social media alleging that the SFI members were trying to extort money from the man and thrashed him when he denied it. 

SFI held a press conference on Tuesday and labelled some serious allegation against ABVP. SFI said the students were deliberately provoked. SFI alleged the man who was recording the video was a member of ABVP. He was identified as Saffronist Manish Saklani.

The man can be heard repeating name of SFI as well going to other passengers asking them to identify the student organization.

SFI said it had also lodged an FIR against some members of the ABVP for spreading wrong information to defame the student organization. 

The police confirmed that the man who was thrashed filed no FIR, but after the video went viral on social media, it said action would be taken against the students. The police said no one would be allowed to extort money from passengers. 

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25% loan plus 5% interest subsidy for opening private hospital in rural Himachal

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148th State level review meeting of Bankers Committee

Shimla: About 2131 bank branches and 1879 bank mitras were catering to the needs of the people in far-flung areas of the State.

Each branch of the bank was providing banking services to average 3221 people, which was far better than the national average of 11000 people per branch of the bank, informed the Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Anil Kumar Khachi while presiding over the 148th State-level review meeting of Bankers Committee today.

The Cash Deposit Ratio in the State was about 44.82 percent, and the banks were asked to raise the cash deposit ratio to 60 percent as fixed by Reserve Bank of India.

As per government statistics, till March 2018, the banks provided 5625.68 crore loans to 4.18 lakh farmers under the Kisan Credit Card Scheme.

The General Manager, UCO Bank Vivek Kaul said the banking sector had achieved an annual growth of six percent and its deposit and advances were Rs. 1.06 lakh crore and Rs. 37481 crore respectively.

Over 10 lakh people had opened bank accounts in the State under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’
In order to encourage private hospital facilities in rural areas, a new scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ has been launched in the State, he said.

An investment subsidy of 25 percent would be provided on an investment of rupees one crore besides five percent interest subsidy for three years on loans taken from banks.

The banks are also expected to encourage this investment so that people of the remote area could get better health education nearer to their homes, he said.

The banks were urged to participate in ‘Jan Manch’ Programme of the State government so that people living in rural areas could be educated regarding various schemes being implemented by the State and Central Governments.
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Anil Kumar Khachi said that under ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ 93 villages of the State had been selected for making them financial inclusive. He said that in the second phase of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, a target to achieve Chamba district as financial inclusive has been fixed.

A provision of subsidy has been made to start self-employment ventures by the youth between the age group of 18 to 35 years.

A provision of five percent interest subvention has been made on interest on the loans up to Rs. 40 lakh raised from the banks for the period of three years.

It was informed that the banks were urged to provide more loans to the farmers so that they could opt latest farming techniques to enhance their income.

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