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Ravaging forest Fires in Himachal kill 7 including on-duty forest official

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Forest fire kills forest officer in Himachal pradesh

Shimla: The rising temperature and the ongoing dry spell in Himachal Pradesh have fueled massive forest fires in various districts like Shimla, Mandi, Chamba, Kullu, and Kangra. These fires not only gutted forest wealth worth hundreds of crores spread over thousands of hectares of land but also devoured seven people.

Five of these deaths were reported on Tuesday while two people had died earlier a couple of days ago. The State Government or the Forest Department are yet to release any statement regarding the incidents.

Yesterday, Deputy Ranger Ashok Kumar (50), a resident of Pukhri, was killed while he was leading a rescue team to douse a fire in the Dalhousie division. As per the report, he fell down into a deep gorge after he slipped. He died within a few minutes due to severe burns, said the initial reports. The pictures of his burnt body are doing rounds of social media.

His body was handed over to his family after the post-mortem. However, the post-mortem report of the body was still awaited.

In another incident, Satvinder Singh (24) and Surinder Kumar (35) died after receiving burn injuries from the forest fire in Patti village of Kangra.

An elderly woman was also killed on Tuesday after her village settlements caught fire in Joginder Mandal.

Reganu Devi, a resident of Kullu, also died at the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital in Shimla. She was referred to Shimla with over 80 percent burn injuries she had sustained due to a forest fire in Kullu.

However, so far, the government had not made any decision regarding the assistance of helicopter services to deal with the forest fires.

HP Meteorological Department has predicted statewide rains on May 31st and June 1st, which is the only hope against a large number of active forest fires.

It is pertinent to mention that several districts are reeling under water paucity and the fire tenders are not able to fully assist the forest officials in dousing fires.

The forests dominated by pine trees are more vulnerability to fires. The pine trees shed their leaves during this season of the year. The leaves dry up within a few hours.

A thick layer of leaves covers forest land. While in some cases villagers set these fires to uncovered the ground to facilitate the growth of grass for livestock, in other instances, carelessness and miscreants are responsible.

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Solar Power Plants in Himachal Pradesh to be Set up Soon, Rs. 1000 Crore MoUs Singed: HP Govt

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Solar Power Plants in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-To set Solar Power Plants in Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has signed two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) worth Rs. 1000 crore with two companies.

One MoU worth Rs. 600 crore was signed between State Government and Renew Energy Pvt. Ltd. through Director of the Company Prabhat Kumar Mishra for setting up of 150 MW Solar Power Plant in the State to produce green energy. This project is proposed to start production from 2021 and provide employment to over 1000 persons

While another MoU worth Rs. 400 crore was also signed with CSE Development (India) Pvt. Ltd. for setting up of 100 MW  Solar Plant to produce renewal energy by Director Business Development & Head Open Access Vikram Madan on behalf of the company.  This project on completion would provide employment to about 700 persons.

On behalf of the State Government, the MoUs were signed by Principal Secretary, Power and Renewal Energy Resources Prabodh Saxena.  

The government said the projects have direct employment potential of about 1700 people besides self-employment avenues to thousands of people.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the State Government would facilitate the companies to obtain necessary permissions and clearances etc. from the concerned authorities at the earliest so that work on these projects could be started soon. He said that work to set up the plants would be initiated soon as land had already been identified in Una and Kangra districts.

He said that Union Government has fixed the target of harnessing about 99533 MW solar power in the country through renewal solar energy out of which the State has been asked to achieve the target of exploitation of 776 MW solar power by the year 2022.

 

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Video: Leopard Sighting in Shimla on NH-5 Near Kanlog

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Leopard sighting in Shimla city

Shimla-Leopard sightings in residential areas and on roadsides in Shimla is becoming frequent. Last week, a leopard was spotted near Kanlog on Tutikandi-Dhalli bypass. The leopard was captured on a mobile camera by some commuters. The leopard disappeared into the adjoining forest later.

Similarly, a sighting was reported by a local from Chaura Maidan area very recently.

Mostly, the leopards enter residential areas looking for dogs. Littering and inappropriately disposed of garbage attracts dogs and dogs attract leopards.

However, their sighting creates panic among residents. The Forest Department has been trying to capture these leopards by placing cages in the areas from where reports of sighting were received. However, so far, the department did not get any success.

Wildlife experts advise people to not bend down or look into the eyes of a leopard directly in case they encounter one. Bending down or looking directly into their eyes are perceived by these animals as preparedness for attack or a challenge.

Also, as per the experts, leopards are shy animals and avoid humans. They prefer to hunt down prey that doesn’t weigh more than 30-40 kg. That’s why a person in a crouching position would appear like a smaller animal to leopards and the chances are high that they would attack. This also explains why children are more vulnerable than adults.

Make sure that there is no garbage littered near residential areas to avoid attracting dogs.

To be safe, while crossing vulnerable areas, playing loud music on the mobile phone is also advisable. In that case, a leopard won’t mistake a human for another animal.

If you have pets, keep them in enclosed spaces after it gets dark. Do not form a crowd on seeing a leopard. It would frighten the animal and make an attack imminent, say experts.

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HP Sports Policy Will be Amended For Specially Abled Students: Govt

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HP Sports Policy Amendment

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Sports Policy will be amended to provide equal participation in sports to visually impaired and specially-abled students, announced the state government on August 7, 2019.

This announcement was made by the Sports Minister Govind Singh Thakur during Van Mahotsav function at Baldeyan panchayat of Shimla district. The event was organised by the Non-Profit Organization Umang Foundation for visually impaired and specially-abled students.

About 200 specially-abled students of Himachal Pradesh University, Govt. Degree College Sanjauli, Special School Dhali and Portmore school along with members of Umang Foundation planted around 250 Deodar plants in association with the forest department.

Visually impaired and other specially-abled persons could also equally contribute in the society if given ample opportunity, the Minister said. He also announced to provide 15 laptops to Umang Foundation for visually impaired students for pursuing higher education. Rs 50 thousand were also announced for these students.

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