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NDPS cases in Himachal tripled in last 10 years, poppy, cannabis cultivators on Govt target

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NDPS cases in Himachal Pradesh in last 10 years

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has turned into a major attraction for foreign tourists. Sadly, far more than its outstanding geography, people and culture, the tourist influx reveals a deadly narcotic nexus. An increasing number of localities are falling prey to this business and addiction.

In Himachal Pradesh, the growing narcotics menace has overwhelmed a large number of youths in Kullu, Manali, Mandi and Shimla. The narcotics trade is assuming a horrific shape in Kullu where large numbers of tourists, mostly Israelis, pour in every year. This has inspired local farmers to clandestinely cultivate illegal poppy or cannabis crops to earn quick bucks.

The number of cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in Himachal Pradesh has more than tripled in last decade, the state government confirms. 

A comprehensive destruction campaign against the cultivation of Opium Poppy was launched from 15-4-2018 in all the districts of the State especially in areas where such cultivation is reported.

The drive is being launched through the Panchayats for the destruction of cannabis crop is grown areas by the end of June 2018.

HP Police’s Action Plan

Giving details of the action plan being undertaken during the campaign, the Director General of Police, Sita Ram Mardi, informed that all revenue and forest officials, elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Bodies, and Urban Local Bodies are duty bound under section 47 of ND&PS Act, 1985 to inform police about the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium-poppy in their respective area of jurisdiction.

They will give the information in writing to concerned SHO and to Superintendent of Police. The forest officials to patrol in their respective jurisdiction and report the illegal cultivation in their beat to the police.

Once illegal cultivation is detected, a joint campaign will be launched to destroy such cultivation by involving all stakeholders, enforcement agencies such as police, NCB, SNCB, CID and departments of Forests, Revenue, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development.

These agencies will submit a progress report on poppy, opium and cannabis destruction before August 15, 2018. All SPs will associate Mahila Mandals, Yuvak Mandals and other NGOs while conducting the destruction of opium poppy and cannabis crops.
Agriculture and Horticulture departments in coordination with Rural Development department jointly will submit a proposal to adopt alternative cash crops suitable for areas cultivating opium poppy and cannabis illegally.

Sensitizing School Students

Training module for Nodal training Officers of Education department to sensitize students on drug abuse will be prepared. During PTA and SMC meetings, parents of students will also be sensitized on this issue.

Counselling sessions are also being organized once in a week in educational institutions on drug abuse. It was also emphasized that surprised checking should be carried out randomly in and around the educational institutions to identify such students who indulge in drug abuse. The major objective of such counselling is to reach the supplier of drugs through students.

All shops/dhabas located near educational institutions be kept under strict surveillance and their inspection be carried out time to time and suspicious activities around these institutions will be informed to the police.

Public Relations Department will run a massive awareness programme through different methodologies including street plays on the ill effects of drug abuse. However, street play team of Ist IRBn Bangarh Una has already set into action.

The health department will share publicity material of drug abuse on 104 helplines with Education and Public Relations departments for its further dissemination among the public.

Cannabis/Hemp Legalization Could Help Eradicate Drug Mafia

The State High Court would be convening next hearing in a petition filed regarding scopes of legalising cannabis cultivation after replacing the current species with hemp.

Hemp belongs to the cannabis family but the amount of psychoactive substance found in currently grown cannabis is almost negligible.

The genetically modified hemp will possess only .3 to 1 percent potency as compared to 3 to 4 found in the currently cultivated plant. Apparently, these plants will be of no use to the drug users.

The petition argues that while hemp could revolutionize rural economy due to its enormous scope in the manufacturing of as many as 25, 000 products including fibre and biofuel, it can also help eradicate the role of mafia. 

The villagers who are indulged in illegal cultivation of cannabis for money would get employment, the petition argues. 

In fact, the representatives of Bombay Hemp Company had in October 2017 called on Governor Acharya Devvrat at Rajbhawan and gave a presentation on utilizing Industrial Hemp as a strategic asset devoted to a reformation of agriculture and boosting its role in the economy alongwith uplifting socio-economic standards of local farmers.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel had also asked the State and Centre government to provide its response.

However, the government is not taking any interest in this direction. Meanwhile, common people are still mistaking this legalisation petition as an attempt to legalise cannabis smoking, which is not the case here.

For more information, you can read this previous report published on Himachal Watcher.

Misc News/Press Release

Nauni Varsity Already Sold Over 90,000 Fruit Plants, Read About Next Open Sale

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Fruit plant sale at uhf nauni 2021

Solan-The restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID 19 have not affected the annual sale of planting material prepared by Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni. Despite the restrictions on large gathering, over 90,000 temperate fruit plants have been sold to over 2,500 farmers from the four university nurseries in Nauni and Kandaghat.

This year, the university started the annual sale of planting material from 5th January in a staggered manner by limiting the number of farmers who were allotted plants on any given day ensuring strict compliance with the COVID 19 guidelines. The allotment list of the farmers who had applied for plants by filling the online demand form within the stipulated date was uploaded on the university website. This list mentioned the number of allotted plants along with the date, time and name of the university nursery from where these plants could be collected.

Owing to its high quality, the planting material prepared by the university sees a huge demand among the farmers of the state and the many parts of the country. This year, apple varieties like Jeromine, Red Velox, Scarlett Spur, Granny Smith and Gala Group were among the varieties which were popular among the farmers. Continuing with the trend, the demand for various stone fruits also witnessed an increase along with demand for apple plants from the lower regions.

On Saturday, Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor chaired a meeting of the Seed and Planting Cell of the university. It was decided during the meeting that as the university has already provided plants to a majority of the farmers who had filled the demand form, the remaining plants will be open for sale for all farmers. The sale of the remaining planting material of select varieties of apple, pomegranate, plum, pear, peach, apricot, walnut, fig, etc will be open to everyone from 18th January. The farmers have been advised to confirm the availability of the desired variety of fruit plants from the nursery before visiting.

The numbers of the nurseries are as follows- Fruit Science- 9418127315, Model Farm, Nauni -82196 68423, KVK Solan (Kandaghat)- 70188 56503, and Seed Science- 9418140341.

In addition to the planting material provided by the university nurseries in Nauni and Kandaghat, the regional stations/ KVK of the university at Mashobra, Bajaura, Reckong Peo, Rohru, Tabo, and Chamba also supply temperate plants to the growers at different dates. 

 

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COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Launched in Himachal, 1,536 Healthcare Workers Vaccinated on the First Day

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COVID-19 vaccination drive in himachal pradesh

Shimla– The COVID-19 vaccination drive in Himachal Pradesh started from IGMC Shimla after the Nation-wide vaccination drive was launched today by the Centre Government.

In the first round itself, 3 crore people are being vaccinated across the country. This drive would be taken up to 30 crores in the second round when elderly and people with serious co-morbidities will be vaccinated. There are only three countries- India, USA and China, who have a population of more than 30 crores. 

Two types of COVID-19 vaccines have been supplied for the vaccination drive. These include Covishield vaccine (made by Serum Institute of India Ltd) that has been supplied to all States/UTs.

The second is Covaxin vaccine (made by Bharat Biotech International Ltd) that has been supplied to 12 States.

In Himachal Pradesh, the first phase, 93000 doses would be administered to the front line warriors including health care workers of the State, the government informed.

Today 2,499 health care workers were to be administered dose through 27 identified sites in the State. However, only 1535 healthcare workers were vaccinated on the first day. It was 61 percent of this set target. Though a media report highlighted that a few minor incidents where beneficiaries showed symptoms of dizziness, anxiety, nausea and shivering were reported, the government did not dwell upon it much.

Further, about 74500 health workers would be vaccinated and each beneficiary would be provided two doses and the second dose would be administered after an interval of 28 days, the government informed.

State Vaccination Store has been set up at Shimla while Regional vaccine store has been established at Mandi and Dharamshala. District Vaccine Stores have been set up in all the 12 districts of the State besides 386 cold chain points in the State.

AEFI Committees at State and District level has also been notified with additional members of Pulmonologist and Medicine Specialists for casualty assessment of AEFI cases.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, however, urged the people of the State to ensure that all precautions are maintained despite having administered COVID-19 vaccine.

Further, in India’s vaccination campaign, those who are at the maximum risk of getting infected will be vaccinated first. Doctors, nurses, hospital sanitation workers and para-medical staff will get the doses first. This priority is available to the medical hospitals in both the public and private sectors.

After the medical staff, the members of essential services, and those responsible for the country’s security and law and order will be vaccinated.  Security forces, police personnel, fire brigade, sanitation workers will be given priority. This number will be nearly 3 crores and Government will bear the expense of their vaccination.

According to the Centre Government, on the first day of the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination program, a total of 3,352 sessions were held wherein 1,91,181 beneficiaries were vaccinated as per the provisional reports. Additional 3,429 beneficiaries were vaccinated in Defence institutions.

Further, according to the official statistics of the HP Health Department, the State reported only 71 new COVId-19 positive cases on January 16, 2021. Only one COVID-19 death was reported in which a 80-year-old male died in Kangra district. So far, the State has reported a total of 56973 cases and claimed 952 lives. If the statistics to be believed, the number of active cases has dropped to 755 today evening. 

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Himachal’s Schools, Colleges to Re-Open for Regular Classes in Feb, DDU Shimla to be Notified Non-COVID Hospital

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Schools re-opens in Himachal Pradesh pradesh

Shimla-Schools in Himachal Pradesh would open for regular classes from February 1, 2021, the State Government decided in a meeting of Cabinet held on Friday.  

All the teachers of summer closing government schools have been asked to attend the schools from 27th of this month. The students of classes 5 and 8 to 12 of summer closing schools would be allowed to attend regular classes from 1st February 2021 by strictly following laid down SOPs. The school management would have to ensure strict use of face masks, social distancing and use of sanitisers in the school premises.

In winter closing schools of Himachal, the students of classes 5 and 8 to 12 would be allowed to attend regular classes after winter vacations with effect from 15th February 2021. Online system for education under Har Ghar Pathshala would continue. The similar system can be adopted by the private schools in the State, the Cabinet suggested.  

 Similarly, ITIs and Polytechnic and Engineering colleges would also be opened from 1st February 2021.  

All the government colleges would be opened for regular classes from 8th February 2021 after winter vacations.

There were reports that the government has also decided to allow gathering of more than 50 people.

It also decided to notify Zonal Hospital Dharamshala and DDU Hospital Shimla as Non-Covid Hospitals.

Further, State Government has constructed four Make Shift Hospitals at IGMC Shimla, CH Nalagarh, RPGMC, Tanda and Medical College, Ner Chowk. Now, the Cabinet said that due to reduction in Covid-19 active cases, the Cabinet decided to use the Make-Shift Hospital at:

  1. IGMC as Medicine Intensive Care Unit
  2. Make-Shift Hospital at RPGMC Tanda as Communicable Diseases/ Infectious Diseases Ward,
  3. Make-Shift Hospital at CH Nalagarh as Trauma Care Centre
  4. Make-Shift Hospital at SLBSGMC Mandi at Ner Chowk as Super Specialty Ward.

The Cabinet gave a mining lease on 599.1935 hectares of area for extraction of limestones and mining minerals for cement plant in villages Kamandal, Kumarla, Gitrata and Aara of Chopal Tehsil in Shimla district for three years to RCCPL Private Ltd., Navi Mumbai.

The Cabinet decided to set up Women Help Desks in District Police Offices and Police Thanas in the State. It also gave its nod to purchase 136 scooty/scooter alongwith 272 helmets and 136 Desktop Computer for the Women Help Desks in Police Department. 

Further, six posts of different categories for newly created Civil Courts at Jhandutta in Bilaspur district and Jaisinghpur in Kangra district would be created and filled, the Cabinet decided.

 

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