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Himachal girl’s claim of surviving 34 snake-bites in 3 years: A mystery or mental disorder?

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Mysterious Himachal snakebite girl

SHIMLA- A mysterious story of a girl from Trans-Giri region of Himachal Pradesh has been doing rounds of social media and has also attracted attention of the main-stream media as well.

Manisha, an 18-years-old girl from a remote region in district Sirmaur of Himachal Pradesh, caught attention of media when on Saturday she was brought to a hospital in Nahan. Her father claimed she was bitten by the snake and lost consciousness thereafter. However, the doctors couldn’t find any trace of venom in her blood or sign of snake-bite. The girl retained consciousness after few hours without any treatment or dose of anti-venom.

A native of Pota Village, in Manal Panchayat in Trans-Giri region of Shillai, Manisha and her parents reportedly made an unbelievable claim that for the last three years, Manisha has been bitten by snakes for the 34th time. The girl further claimed she has survived all the bites.

Manisha, in a statement to a daily, said,

I have been bitten by snakes over 30 times in the past three years. The first time I was bitten was near a river in my village. Recently, I was bitten by a white snake. Whenever I see a snake I get enchanted and then it bites me. There was some time two years ago when I did not get bitten. During school I have been repeatedly bitten by a snake, at times even twice or thrice a day.

A report in the same daily also said that the medical records show she was bitten for the 34th time.

Her father Sumar Sharma told an English Daily,

None has seen a snake but one can see the impressions of the fangs on her body. We took her to panditji, who said she had a link with snakes from her previous birth,

he said.

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The parents feel it was due to the blessings of their deity that she has been surviving the deadly bites.

As per the local forest officer,

I have no idea which snake has bitten her. We have Russell’s Vipers in Shillai and other areas of Sirmaur. But rattle snakes are also common. Non-poisonous snakes may have bitten her.

However, the doctors at the Dr. YS Parmar Medical College and Hospital, Nahan, and anti-venom specialists are not convinced with this story.

Dr KK Prashar, medical superintendent, Nahan medical college, said that the Medical College has suggested help of psychological counseller for the girl.

It can be an imagination. It could be a coincident that the girl was bitten by non-poisonous snakes, but 34 times is quite unbelievable. We believe in test reports and so far none of the tests confirmed presence of any type of snake venom in her blood. There are no marks of snake bites either.

he said.

Meanwhile, a Shimla-based veterinarian has come up with an interesting explanation regarding the possibility of development of anti-venom properties in the girl due to repeated snake-bites.

There is possibility that girl is bitten by snakes and the blood may have developed a mechanism to undo the effect of the venom,

he said.

On this, the experts at the department of pharmacology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi also believe it to be a case of bites from non-poisonous snakes.

There have been reports where human body has developed antibodies against snake venom but the quantity usually is not enough to provide long-term protection. Some people are known to have survived successive snakebites, but whether it’s due to sufficient concentration of antibodies hasn’t been established,

said Dr YK Gupta, head of department.

Head of the Psychiatry department at Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Dr Ravi Chand Sharma, also expressed his disbelief about the claims. He suggested that adolescences are very vulnerable to what is called “attention seeking”. Teens can create such stories to get attention of others.

I don’t think it is true. It can be an attention-catching tactic. This is common among children to say unusual things to catch attention,

he told the English daily.

As a matter of fact, the Trans-Giri region has not seen enough development and its ways and culture is mostly tribal in nature. People here still believe in mythological tales and beliefs associated with local deities. The statements of the parents also support the aforesaid statement. While, this claim is difficult to prove, it is also not possible to believe it.

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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Campus Watch

As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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Misc News/Press Release

MoU to construct Naina Devi-Anandpur Sahib ropeway signed

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naina devi-anandpur sahib ropeway mou signed

Shimla: A Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeway between Shri Naina Devi and Shri Anandpur Sahib was signed by Additional Chief Secretary Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Himachal Pradesh and Secretary Tourism Punjab Vikas Pratap Singh, in Chandigarh today.

The MOU in the presence of Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his Punjab counterpart Captain Amrinder Singh.

This ropeway will be constructed by Shri Naina Devi and Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji Ropeway Company Pvt Ltd with an estimated cost of Rs. 210 crores. The ropeway would cover a distance of 3.5 km.

A 10-member Board of Directors would be formed, and each government would nominate five members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors would be nominated by the Punjab government and the Managing Director would be appointed by the Himachal government. Both the governments will deposit 50 Lakhs each as an initial investment.

Chief Minister said that the lower terminal of this project would be at Rampur near Shri Anandpur Sahib, the Intermediate station will be at Toba in Himachal and the upper terminal point would be at Shri Naina Devi. The tourism departments of both the states would work as nodal agencies for this work.

The Tourism and Local Bodies Ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu said that inking of MoU by both the Chief Ministers on the auspicious birthday of Sheed-e- Azam Bhagat Singh is a big gift to the mankind.

In 2012-13, the efforts were made to build this ropeway and 14 acres of land was also acquired for this but due to some circumstances, the work could not be completed.

Naina Devi is one of the 52 famous Shakti Peethas of the country and is one of the most prominent religious places for not only the peoples of the country but the entire world. Likewise, Shri Anandpur Sahib is also a prominent international the religious place.

This project would boost the tourism sector in both the states alongwith strengthening the bond between two states besides facilitating the devotees visiting these two religious places.

It was informed that 80 percent pilgrims come to Shri Naina Devi from Punjab and during last one year, 20 Lakh devotees paid their obeisance in this Shakti Peeth.

The Chief Minister informed that for the construction of this impending ropeway, the matter had been taken up with his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh on February 26, 2018.

The Chief Minister of Punjab said that with the construction of this ropeway the pilgrims of Punjab would get rid of the difficulty in reaching Shri Naina Devi.

He said that people of both the states would like to see this project completed at earliest and three year’s time frame has been fixed for its completion.

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Himachal suffers Rs. 1479 crore losses in 4 days alone, Centre releases Rs. 122 crore for rehabilitation

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Monsoon losses in Himachal pradesh in 2018

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of about Rs. 1479 crore and during the last four days alone. Five choppers of Indian Air Force had been pressed into service to evacuate the stranded tourists and local people.

Chief Minister, who chaired a review meeting today, informed that the Centre Government has released Rs. 122 crore as the first instalment for the State for undertaking immediate rehabilitation measures.

himachal cm in meeting

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during meeting held today

Over one thousand people have been rescued from Lahaul valley out of these 147 have been airlifted and remaining have been evacuated by road.

He said the road would be cleared upto Baralacha by this evening. All the rescued people were being taken for medical examinations. Efforts were being made to restore communication network in Lahaul valley.

He directed the officers to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities in the valley. He said that a team of BSNL would visit Sisu today for the restoration of communication in the area. The Government has assured all possible help to the BSNL in restoration work.

Out of 18 towers of BSNL in the valley, seven were working properly.

It was informed in the meeting that 18000-litre petrol and 27000-litre diesel was made available. LPG and other food items were also in sufficient quantity. It was informed in the meeting that water Supply to Manali has been restored and Lahaul valley was also almost restored.

Till the electricity supply was restored in the valley, efforts would be made to provide solar lamps and lights to the people, it was informed. Small transformers would be airlifted from Kullu to replace damaged transformers.

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