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DC Shimla catches illegal supply line to BJP MLA’s apartment, was getting 24X7 water supply despite scarcity

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BJP balbir verma's jakhu apartment

Shimla: As a setback for the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, the name of one of its sitting MLAs has appeared in a case of water-theft. The Deputy Commissioner of Shimla on Thursday caught an illegal connection taken from main water supply line to an apartment in VIP locality of Jakhu. 

The Government had been maintaining that there is a severe scarcity of water in Shimla for almost past two weeks as the supply schemes had dried up. However,  this claim appears to be misleading as this apartment was allegedly receiving a 24×7 supply to his apartment.

It was on the complaint of the people that the DC had to visit the spot where he found the allegations to be true. The people alleged that this large pipeline connected to the SMC supply line was drawing most of the water to the apartment, depriving the people of their share of water.  

While the common people of the Shimla City have been lining up for two bucket drinking water for past two weeks now, the apartment was receiving 27×4 water supply despite government’s claims of water scarcity due to drying up of natural resources.

Though the district administration and the Municipal Corporation tried not to reveal the identity of the leader, media reports said the apartment belonged to Balbir Verma, who was recently served a notice by the SMC for due water bill of over Rs. 40 lakh.

When Himachal Watcher contacted the DC, he said he was busy in a meeting. Thereafter, we did not receive any response from him.   

The flats in the apartment have been sold to various people in 2014, the reports said. As per the buyers, they had bought it from Balbir Verma, Chopal MLA. The DC claims he has given the MC Commissioner a time of 15 days to file a report regarding the same.   

As per the District Administration, the Deputy Commissioner, Amit Kashyap, took note of a complaint and images circulated on social media.

The DC has reportedly ordered the concerned engineer of the Irrigation and Public Health Department to disconnect the line and seal it.   

Other than the apartment, the DC also ordered a shut down of a guesthouse being run illegally in the same area.

The people are claiming that the leader was not the only one who had been stealing water from main supply lines. They said the administration had been ignoring such cases deliberately.

However, now as the State High Court has taken cognizance of the matter and is reviewing daily status reports from the SMC, the officials have begun to attend to the complaints of the people.

As a matter of fact, the government is using police to suppress the protests by the distressed people. 

FIRs have been lodged against several protestors and some of them were even taken into custody for protesting.

Amid such chaos, it is ironical that the ruling party’s own leaders are displaying a disregard to the promises made by their party, which is in power currently. It is to be seen what action would be taken against this leader of the ruling party if anything is proved or the matter was not hushed up.  

The protests still continue as the people are claiming they did not receive much relief despite announcements of the Chief Minister.  The district administration is claiming that it has seized some illegal borewells on Wednesday. But reports suggested that these borewells were still active, mostly after the sun goes down. 

Meanwhile, the State High Court, who is supervising the Government’s measures to deal with the water scarcity, was reportedly disappointed as the public was still not relieved.  The court has also summoned Secretary, Irrigation and Public Health, to provide details of the water sources. 

 

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Scientist Conferred National Fellowship for Outstanding Work in Floriculture, Landscaping

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Dr YC Gupta, a senior scientist of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni 1

Solan: Dr YC Gupta, a senior scientist of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has been conferred fellowship of the Indian Academy of Horticultural Sciences. The fellowship was conferred for Dr Gupta’s outstanding contributions to the field of floriculture and landscaping.

Dr Gupta is presently working as the Dean of College of Horticulture and Centre of Excellence for Horticulture, Research and Extension, Thunag, Distt Mandi. He was conferred with the fellowship during the Indian Horticulture Congress 2019 at NAAS Complex, New Delhi held recently.

Born in Mandi, Dr Gupta obtained his BSc and MSc in 1986 from Agra University. After completing his doctorate in horticulture (Floriculture and Landscaping) from IARI, New Delhi, Dr Gupta joined UHF as Assistant Floriculturist in 1988. He served as Professor and Head of Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture for 12 years after which in 2019 he became the founding dean of the fourth constituent college of the university at Thunag.

Dr Gupta During the Indian Horticulture Congress 2019 at NAAS Complex, New Delhi


Dr Gupta has been associated in the development of seven hybrids of Gladiolus, five hybrids in Marigold, four hybrids in Antirrhinum and 3 hybrids in Pansy besides a patent named ‘HIMFLORA- a computerized botanical database of wild ornamentals of Himachal Pradesh’. Two varieties, Solan Mangla of Gladiolus and Solan Shringar of Chrysanthemum were released in 2014 and Virbhadra Singh, a variety of carnation was released in 2016.

Besides being the National Chairman for DUS testing of Carnation and Lilium under PPVFRA, Dr Gupta is a life member of various professional societies. The American Biographical Institute, USA conferred on him an honorary appointment in the year 2000. He is also the Fellow of Society for Recent Development in Agriculture and Indian Society of Ornamental Horticulture (ISOH) and the recipient of ISOH’s Lotus Puraskar 2011. He also won the Dr Manmohan Attawar Gold Medal Award in floriculture for the year 2016 by the Horticultural Society of India.

In his career spanning over nearly 31 years in teaching, research and extension including administration, Dr Gupta has guided several MSc and PhD students and has numerous research papers, books, book chapters, popular articles, and technical bulletins to his credit.

He has handled more than 17 externally funded and 8 state-funded research projects. UHF University Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal and other scientists and staff and students congratulated Dr Gupta on his achievement.   

 

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ITBP Head Constable from Himachal Among 6 Shot Dead by Own Colleague

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Himachal ITBP head constable mahinder singh

Shimla-Six personnel reportedly died and two were injured when one of them opened fire with his service rifle following some dispute at an ITBT camp in insurgency-hit Narayanpur district of Bastar, Chhattisgarh on November 4, 2019.  This information was released by the Director General of Police,Chhattisgarh, DM Awasthi.

One of the personnel, Head Constable Mahender Singh, hailed from Barthi area of Bilaspur district. He is survived by his parents, wife, and two sons.

As per the DGP, there was some dispute which led to this fratricidal incident in which one of the personnel, Constable Masudul Rahman (West Bengal), opened fire on his colleagues at the Kedarnar camp of ITBP’s 45th battalion.  

“The ITBP personal who shot his five colleagues committed suicide with his own rifle and died on the spot,”

TOI quoted DGP.

As per another report, while the reason for the dispute is still not known, there is a speculation that the constable accused of opening fire was upset as he wasn’t granted leaves. However, the exact cause was yet to be ascertained.

Other four deceased included Head Constable Daljit Singh (Punjab), Constable Surjit Sarkar (West Bengal), Biswaroop Mahtoo (West Bengal) and Brijeesh (Kerala).

 Injured were identified as constable SB Ullass (Kerala) and constable Sitaram Doon (Rajasthan).

A probe has been ordered, ITBP officials confirmed.  

 

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Monkey Sterilization in Himachal Working, Farmers Feeling Relieved, Claims Forest Minister

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Monkey Sterlization in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Forest, Transport and Youth Sports Minister, Govind Singh Thakur, claims that sterilization of monkeys has proved to be a successful solution in Himachal Pradesh and providing relief to the farmers. So far, one lakh 57 thousand monkeys have been sterilized in eight monkey sterilization centres of forest department in the state, the Minister claimed.

While the people did not report any relief from monkey menace, the Minister claimed the situation has improved as per the government.

He said the incentive to capture monkeys has been increased to Rs. 1000. Local people would be given training by the forest department to capture monkeys. It was discussed that workshops should be organized in vulnerable panchayats to provide training to the locals.

The Minister was presiding over one day workshop on ‘Human-Wildlife Conflict’ at Shimla organized by the Wild life wing of Himachal Pradesh Forest Department on November 3, 2019.

Forest Minister said that 548 panchayats of the state are vulnerable to monkey menace.

Principal Chief Conservator Dr Savita said 1100 monkey hotspots have been identified in the state. She informed that 91 Tehsils/sub-Tehsils and Municipal Corporation Shimla area have been declared vermin for a period of one year.

Emphasis was laid on the plantation of fruit-bearing saplings in forests so that monkeys don’t enter human settlements in search of food.

However, no discussion was done on keeping human settlements clean and discourage littering of food waste which attracts monkeys, especially in cities.

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