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Entire village in Shimla’s Rohru engulfed by massive fire, hundreds left homeless in chilling winters

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SHIMLA- Amid bad weather, heavy snowfall, and sub-zero temperature, Tangnu (तांगनू) village in sub-division Chirgaon of district Shimla was engulfed by devastating fire that started at about 11:00 on Saturday night (Jan 1, 2017). As per reports, about 56-59 houses out of total 68-70 houses owned by approximately 50 families turned to ashes with all belongings including cash, valuables, stored food and livestock. Approximately 216 villagers have been rendered homeless. Now, chilling winters have posed a difficult challenge for the homeless people.

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The Deputy Commissioner of district Shimla, Rohan Chand Thakur, told Himachal Watcher that these people have been provided temporary shelter at government senior secondary school Tangnu , while some families are offered shelter by residents of neighboring villages, Chantwari, Thaitwari.

The reason behind fire- breakout is believed to be short-circuit in one of the houses. As village homes are mostly made from wood and stores large stocks of dry fodder, the fire spread like a virus to rest of the buildings. The fire-brigade was informed but it took over two hour to cover a distance 41 kms from Rohru. By the time fire-brigade approached, the village had vanished in smoke. Despite their best efforts, the villagers couldn’t save their homes and watched them burning with wet eyes. The estimated loss has been assessed to be in crores.

The DC further said that the broken-heart and homeless villagers were provided an immediate relief of Rs. 40,000 along with tents, blankets, bedding, quilt, LPG cylinders, stoves etc. The administration assured payment of rest of the relief money to affected villagers soon.

Along with people from other villages, some volunteers are also assisting in relief work, he said. Further, he has requested organizations, volunteers, and individuals to come ahead to provide assistance to affected people in building new shelters.

The Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh also assured delivery of all possible assistance to devastated families.

It is noticeable that between 2014 and 2016, several major incidents of fire breakout have been reported that engulfed entire villages, leaving large number of people homeless.

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

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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Landslide on Shimla-Dhalli bypass hit apple trucks & traffic plan, road likely to remain closed for 2-3 days

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Mehli-Shimla bypass

Shimla – A huge landslide on Shimla-Dhali bypass road (NH-5) between Mehli and Malyana on Thursday afternoon has come in a time when the apple growers have begun to reap their crops and transport to markets. It is the peak season for the growers. The Shimla-Dhali bypass is like a lifeline for the growers in the upper areas of the district.

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As per the Traffic Police, Shimla, it may take about two to three days to clear the road and open it for traffic again. The landslide also uprooted three to four trees. There were no reports of anything being buried under the debris and rocks.

All vehicles on both sides of the road remained stuck in long jams before they had to turn back to take alternative routes.

This blockage has made another road inaccessible for the trucks – the Mehli-Shoghi bypass, which branches off from the Shimla-Dhali bypass. The Shimla Police had to change the traffic plan according to which the trucks arriving from the upper area of the district would have to take the Dhalli-IGMC-Lakkar Bazaar road during the night hours only.

As per the police, the trucks going towards the upper Shimla area would have to use the bifurcation at Khalini Chowk and take Khalini-Chhota Shimla-Dhalli route during night hours only.

As per the district administration, the work to clear the road is underway, but it might take a couple of days before it could be opened for traffic.

At the same time, the blockage of roads due to landslips at various other places has brought local vehicles as well as trucks carrying apple crop to halt, leading to a distress among the growers. Bad weather could delay the restoration work.

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Lack of emergency in making emergency announcement troubles schoolchildren, parents

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school in shimla remained closed

Shimla: On August 13, 2018, the district administration of Shimla like all other districts decided to keep the schools close owing to a heavy and continuous spell of rain. It continued raining on Sunday night and till early morning it had caused several landslides and uprooting of trees. The roads were blocked all over the city including the circular road.

As it was still raining on Monday morning, it was announced that the schools were to be kept closed for the day.

However, by the time this announcement was made, the majority of school students had already reached the school or on their way to school. The cabs had returned after dropping children at their respective schools.

It was still raining heavily when the schools sent children back home.

We had taken our seats in our classroom when the teacher told us that the school was to remain closed for the day,

said a student of a reputed private school while he was returning to the home on feet.

I received an SMS regarding the announcement when my children had already left for the school. The school said they had sent them back, but they did not reach home. There is no mean to communicate with them, and I fear they might have got stuck somewhere due to traffic jams,

said a mother of two while waiting for her children at a shop in Tutikandi.

The schoolteachers, when inquired about the same said they were also unaware of the announcement and had reached the school by the time this announcement reached them.

There were several other parents who were waiting for the safe return of their respective children. They believed, the schools should not have sent children back in heavy rain if they had arrived at school.

The campus would have been a safer place when it was raining heavy and roads were already blocked at several places,

said another woman while she inquired classmates of her son.

I had returned after dropping children at the school. I begin to receive calls from the parents to go back and bring the children back as the schools were closed. The Khalini-Shimla road was already closed due to a fallen tree, and even I was stuck in traffic,

said a cab driver.

It appears the State Government need to evolved faster and insured ways to reach the public via official announcements in times of emergencies like bad weather and natural disasters. Had this announcement reached an hour ago, which was possible as it had been raining heavily all night, the children and parents would not have faced such huge inconvenience.

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