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No snow in Shimla, Manali on New Year, winter temp to rise: HP Met

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Snowfall in Shimla on New Year

Shimla: The fever of assembly elections is now receding after formation of the new government in Himachal Pradesh. However, to the dismay of the hospitality industry, the Christmas passed without snow, and now the sun haunts remaining three days of the year 2017. As per the Meteorological Department, the sun will be shining till January 2, 2018.

The maximum temperature in Shimla on December 28  was recorded at 17 degrees Celsius, 16.8 degrees in Dharamsala, 9.1 in Dalhousie and 14.5 degrees in Manali.

The last two weeks of December used to be all about the ‘New Year’ celebrations. For tourist towns like Manali and Shimla had become synonymous with white Christmas and New Year eve. Snowfall and mountains were what attracted tourist towards Himachal in chilling winters,

 said a well-established hotelier of Shimla

Sadly, the unsustainable concocting activities of humans are upto destroying both of them. 

However, the pattern of snow has become more or less erratic with a decrease in the snowfall. However, as per the feedback from the Tourism Department and hoteliers, this year tourist are enjoying the sunny days too. In other words, the hospitality industry might not suffer much due to the absence of snow.

As per the Tourism Department, 153.52 lakh tourists visited Himachal up to September during this year. Out of the total, 150.05 lakh were domestic and 3.77 lakh foreign tourists. This year, tourism contributed 6.8 percent to the domestic product of the state.  

However, the agriculturists and those dependent on horticulture know only too well the significance of rain and snow. As per the scientist, the increase in the maximum and minimum temperatures has led to a reduction in overall precipitation and snowfall. The scholars suggest that the drop in apple production is a clear reflection of the decrease in snowfall.

The table given below shows the results of a study titled “Analysis of Total Precipitation and Snowfall Pattern over Shimla” published in the Journal of Agro-Meteorology in 2011:

Snowfall in Shimla on New Year

The total precipitation and snowfall data of Shimla for 20 winter seasons from 1991-92 to 2010-11 was considered for the study. The winters in Himachal usually start during November and last upto March.

As per the results, it was found that both total precipitation and snowfall have decreased during last two decades. While the snowfall was found to be stable during January and February, it particularly decreased during the beginning of the winter season.

 

Abnormal climatic factors during winters, flowering and fruit development stage have lowered apple productivity of the state. The highly suitable apple production areas are now restricted only to higher hills of Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, dry temperate zones of Kinnaur and Spiti areas. The moderately suitable areas have now become marginal for apple production in the state,

says Prof S K Bhardwaj of Department of Environmental science, YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.

Further, the scientists suggested that glaciers were direct indicators of climate change.

The rate of retreat of glaciers in Baspa and Parvati basins has also been fast since 1962, in some cases as high as 172 meters per year. Area under snow cover too has changed between October to June in six basins,

says a Senior scientific officer at Himachal Pradesh Council of Science and Technology Dr S S Randhawa.

The official data also shows that the apple growers are taking to cultivation of vegetables and ‘low chill’ fruits like pomegranate and kiwi due to an erratic trend of snow in low and mid-altitude (1200-1800 metres) regions of Kullu, Shimla and Mandi districts. Others have begun to try intercropping in apple orchards with other crops or vegetables.

Image: File Photo Himachal Watcher

Misc News/Press Release

CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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