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After BJP MLA booked for forgery, now sitting MP charge-sheeted in corruption case

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BJP Virender kashyap sting operation

Earlier on January 4, 2018, sitting MLA of BJP, Jeet Ram Katwal, was booked for alleged forgery

Shimla: Another state leader of Bhartiya Janata Party in Himachal Pradesh is in trouble in relation to the alleged case of bribery that dates back to 2009.

Earlier on January 4, 2018, sitting MLA of BJP, Jeet Ram Katwal, was booked for alleged forgery in providing information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Chotta Shimla police station has registered a case of forgery on January 4, 2018, under Section 465, 466 and 469 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)on the complaint of Pratap Singh Verma.

As another jolt to the BJP, which had made the corruption charges against then Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh a major issue before the recent assembly elections.

The sitting Member of Parliament from Shimla and BJP leader, Virender Kashyap, has been charge-sheeted in a case relating to a sting operation conducted by a TV channel on April 20, 2009 assembly polls. The sting had created a huge political controversy back then.  

The BJP came to power in the State right after the sting broke out and Kashyap also won the elections on a BJP ticket. The case was allegedly hushed up by the district police, Solan, due to political pressure.

However, owing to the petition filed in the High Court by an RTI activist, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, the case was re-opened in 2013.

Let us remind you that in the newly elected Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh include 22 MLAs who are facing criminal cases. As per a report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), two of the 21 Congress MLAs and 18 of the 44 BJP MLAs and 1 CPM MLA and one of the two independent MLAs have declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits.

About Virender Kashyap Sting Operation

As per the reported contents of the CD of the said sting operation conducted by a TV channel, Kashyap was seen allegedly accepting a packet of money in exchange of some favour.

As per the audio, it was an alleged bribe from a private party about setting up of an educational institution. However, Kashyap was not holding any official position at that time.

After the sting created a huge political drama, Kashyap claimed that he had found the money in the hotel saying someone might have forgotten it there. A BJP party-worker even handed over the money to the local police next day.

The matter was allegedly hushed up initially, but ruling BJP government had to order an inquiry in 2010 under pressure. The Solan police formed a special team in February and filed a probe report on March 2

The police findings claimed no offence was committed by Kashyap. As expected, the BJP leader was given a clean-chit.

Later in 2013, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, an RTI activist, challenged the finding of the inquiry conducted by the government in the court. The division bench comprising Justice D.D. Sood and Justice Kuldeep Singh had quashed the investigation report of the police.

In the same year, the court had also served a notice to Kashyap to file a reply within four weeks.

The activist had alleged that the police gave the BJP leader a clean chit without forensic testing like matching the audio with the voice-sample of Kashyap. He alleged the district police did not conduct a fair probe due to high political pressure.  

On gaining back the power in 2012 assembly polls, the Congress government also ordered a probe by the Vigilance Department.

The Vigilance sent the said CD for forensic testing. After receiving positive results, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau filed an FIR under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.

Now, the District and Session Court, Solan, has finally framed the charges against the sitting MP.       

The MP, however, is still refuting the charges and calling it a conspiracy.

The State Congress party, which faced a humiliating defeat in the 13th assembly polls in 2017, has found it as an opportunity to poke the BJP government over the corruption charges on the sitting MP and FIR against a sitting MLA.

The Congress is questioning the silence of the BJP over the said case.

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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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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