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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.

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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

Video: Fire in Shimla’s Gumma devours Rs. 40 lakh property  

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Shimla: In a tragic incident of fire breakout in Gumma area of Kotkhai region in Shimla district on Saturday, about six rooms of a three-story building were lost. The fire brigade saved the two storeys and buildings adjacent to it.

No loss of life was reported, but the estimated loss of assets was initially assessed at about 40 lakh rupees.The owner of the house was identified as Rohit Chauhan.

Rohit’s mother was alone at the house when the fire broke out at about 3 PM. His mother called for help. However, the fire gutted six rooms on the third storey along with all belongings by the time the fire service reached the spot.

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The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit.

While the other two stories housed shops, the third one was Rohit’s home.

The district administration has given Rs. 20,000 as a relief to the victim family.

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Sirmaur Tragedy: 7-year-old mauled to death by pack of stray dogs

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stray dogs maul a kid to death in Hiamchal pradesh

Shimla: In a spine-chilling incident, a pack of about half-a-dozen stray dogs on Saturday attacked and mauled a 7-year-old boy in Amarkot village in Paonta sub-division, Sirmaur district, Himachal Pradesh. As per the initial reports, the brutal attack by the dogs inflicted severe injuries on the head, throat, and neck.

On hearing the cries of the boy, the nearby people rushed to rescue the boy. However, dogs were so aggressive that they bit a couple of these people too.

The boy succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital. The boy was identified as Vikki, son of a migrant labour of Uttar Prades. The family was heart-broken after their piece of heart died a horrible death.

The head of the Amarkot village, Rakesh Mehraloo, said repeated complaints were made regarding the growing stray dog menace to the administration. Rakesh told media that some incidents of attack by stray dogs were also reported previously, which were also brought to the attention of the administration.

The administration, however, turned a blind eye towards the complaints and did not take any measure to solve this grieve issue, he said.

If the administration had acted timely, such a horrific incident could have been prevented.

It is pertinent to mention that the state government has also ignored the provision of dog-shelters and showed lackadaisical attitude in regular sterilizing of stray dogs.

Rest, the littering of food waste attract stray dogs and facilitate their reproduction, leading to such a nightmare.

The incident has created panic among the residents about the safety of their children.

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Drought-like situation haunts Himachal as no rain, snow in stock, HP DM holds emergency meeting 

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Drought-like situation in Himachal PRadesh

Shimla: As snow and rain continue to evade the peak winter season in Himachal Pradesh, which is already facing 49 percent post-monsoon rain deficiency, the State Disaster Management called a meeting to embraces for the impact of the drought-like situation in the State.

Today, the maximum day temperature in the capital Shimla was recorded at 19 Degree Celsius while the day was hottest for Una at 27 Degree Celsius.

While a debate over the role of global warming behind erratic changes in the weather can also be heard, the Met Department blamed the western disturbances, which, it said, are not strong this year, hence, there is no precipitation.

The nigh temperature in winters remains close to seven to nine Degrees Celsius, which is four to five notches above from the average temperature witnessed during this time of the year. If the same pattern continues for the next two weeks, then it will not only hit the Rs. 20,000-crore apple industry but the tourist influx too.

The apple growers need moisture and several hundred chilling hours to ensure ample apple crop, and this year they are short of the required chilling hours. 

The apple production, which was over 850 metric ton in 2011, has already been reducing.

Other crops like green almonds, tomatoes, pears, apricots, cabbage, cauliflower etc will also be affected due to dry weather.

The hoteliers and ski resorts are witnessing fall in tourist influx as the chances of snowfall are scarce.

Meeting of HP Disaster Mangement 

In wake of the drought-like situation, the Principal Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) Onkar Chand Sharma held a meeting with senior officers of various departments including the Deputy Commissioners of all 12 districts video conferencing.

Onkar Sharma said the government has analyzed entire rainfall data of all districts. It was found that there is a deficiency of 49 percent in the State (post-monsoon).

The meteorological department has predicted chances of scattered to moderate rainfall during 23-24 January 2018. Except that, the weather is likely to remain mostly dry until January 22 and January 25 onwards. 

However, the government said that the state has received ample rainfall during December 2017, therefore, the Rabi crops and the drinking water supply are unaffected so far.

The Disaster Managment will prepare a contingency plan to combat the drought-like situations, said the Secretary. 

There are 45 labs of the IPH department for the testing of drinking water supply, he informed.

The Deputy Commissioners were asked to ensure water quality testing randomly up to the subdivision level and arrange water tankers in water-scarce areas as well as fodder for livestock.

All the districts were also directed to take remedial measures to stop contamination of drinking water sources. Besides it, the Secretary directed super chlorination in all districts to prevent water-borne diseases like Jaundice.

Special Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Shri D.C. Rana, Director, Indian Meteorological Department Shri Manmohan Singh, Chief Engineer of IPH Department, senior officers from Horticulture and Agriculture also attended the meeting.

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