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RTI activist murdered in Himachal in broad daylight, had exposed a BPL fraud

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RTI Activist Kedar Singh Jindal Murdered

Sirmaur: In a spine-chilling case, Kedar Singh Jindan, an RTI activist from Shillai region of Sirmaur district, was allegedly murdered in broad daylight on Friday afternoon while he was on his way to home. Kedar was over-run by a Scorpio vehicle, which has been seized by the police.

Earlier, the police was considering the possibility of a road accident, but after recovering the car, it arrested two men identified as natives of Bakras panchayat and registered a case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The Superintendent of Police Rohit Malpani has confirmed filing of a case.

The police had sent the body to Shimla for a postmortem. Some reports suggested he was first beaten and then his head was crushed under the said SUV.

One of the accused Jai Prakash was identified as a member (up-Pradhan) of the Bakras gram panchayat while the second one was identified as Gopal. For now, the police is speculating that the killing was motivated by some previous grudges between the two parties.

Though the police has not confirmed the exact cause, the alleged murder could be related to a alleged BPL fraud Kedar had tried to highlight earlier in June this year. 

Kedar Singh was not only an RTI activist but was also a social worker and SC/ST leader. He was an advocate by profession. He had been raising grievance of Scheduled Caste community from time to time.  In September 2016, Kedar was in news after he held a press conference without his clothes to highlight the poor quality of education being provided in government schools and the lack of facilities in them.  

He had fought the last HP Assembly elections on BSP ticket.

On June 29, 2018, Kedar Singh had held a press conference at the Press Club, Shimla, and had exposed a fraud in the list of families living below poverty line (BPL). In the press conference, Kedar had claimed that an RTI application filed by him has revealed that about six well to do families in the Bakras panchayat having wealth worth crores were wrongfully registered under BPL.

He had alleged that by forging records using his position in the panchayat, Jai Prakash had managed to get government jobs for his family members in government jobs.

Watch Video of Press Conference Held in Shimla on June 29, 2018

Kedar had shown photographs of the bungalow worth over Rs 50 lakh, houses and three vehicles including a Scorpio which the family owned.

He had alleged that neither the previous government nor the current one had taken any sort of action to investigate the matter. He had come heavily upon the panchayat members and the government for unlawfully giving benefits meant for poverty-stricken families to wealthy families through corrupt means.

In the same conference, Kedar had told the media that he had made a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Bureau demanding an inquiry into this alleged fraud. He had demanded action against all culprits involved in issuing fake BPL certificates and officials who helped them get government jobs.

As per reports, Kedar had been attacked earlier on at least five occasions. More details are likely to arrive after the ongoing investigation. 

Environment

Total 332 Bird Species Located in Himachal Pradesh

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Bird Species Count in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-As per the Great Backyard Bird Count (7th Indian edition), the number of bird species in Himachal Pradesh was 332 in 2018, a spokesman of State Forest Department informed on February 21, 2019.  

PCCF (WL) Dr. Savita said that among the Indian States, Himachal Pradesh shared the topmost position with Uttrakhand where the highest number of species was recorded.  

Birding locations included wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, conservation reserves, villages and urban areas. He said that more than 150 bird species were recorded in Mandi, Shimla, Kangra and Sirmaur districts.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a citizen science initiative intended to encourage both amateur and professional bird-watchers to contribute towards the understanding bird and their biology in a better way.

The Department said that amateur birders from across the state contributed in the count in addition to 287 checklists that were uploaded into e-Bird by 55 participants.

 Participation in the event involved a minimum of 15 minutes bird watching during which all the bird species seen were counted and listed.  It involved bird watching sessions with school teachers and students, birding involving local villagers and panchayat representatives and training of frontline staff of the forest department in bird identification.

The Department said a detailed report is in preparation and will be circulated by the first week of March

This initiative was coordinated by Joint Secretary (Forests) Sat Pal Dhiman, Chief Conservator Forest (HQR) Nagesh Guleria, Chief Conservator Forest (WL) South Sushil Kapta, DFO (Hqr) N.P.S. Dhaulta along with other senior officers of the department.

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Campus Watch

Foundation Stone of HP Central University in Kangra laid, Will Be Ready in 3 Years, Says Govt

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HP Central University In Dehra, Kangra district

Kangra-The foundation stone of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh at Dehra in Kangra district was laid today by the Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Prakash Javadekar said that the forest clearance for construction of this University was also accorded when he was the Union Forest and Environment Minister. The State Government deposited Rs 6 crore under CAMP Act for forest clearance.

As per the official information released, the Central University will have two campuses at two different locations. The first Campus would be at Jadrangal near Dharamshala, which would be spread in an area of 750 hectares. The second campus would be established at Dehra in an area of 287 hectares.

The Government said about Rs.1300 crore would be spent on construction of both these campuses and the same would be completed in the next three year, the government said. These campuses would be spread in an area of about 1000 hectare, making it one of the biggest University of the region.

The Government said that an amount of Rs.7044 crore was being spent on the education sector during the current financial year and a provision of Rs.7600 crore had been made for the next financial year.

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Misc News/Press Release

5MW Solar Power Plant in Bilaspur’s Naina Devi Ji Inaugurated

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Solar Power Plant in Naina Devi In Bilaspur district - himachal pradesh

Shimla-The 5MW Berry Dol Solar Power Plant constructed near Shri Naina Devi Ji Shrine in Bilaspur district was inaugurated today. The HP Power Corporation Ltd. claimed it spent Rs. 36.24 crore on this project.

As per the official information released by the State Government, this power project is synchronised with Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) Ltd 33/11 KV network Kot.

The power generated was being sold to HPSEB. T

This power project is expected to generate 101-lakh unit electricity per annum, earning revenue of Rs. 4.40 crore to the State exchequer.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, MPP and Power Minister Anil Sharma, MLA Jhanduta  J.R.Katwal , IG Himanshu Mishra, Deputy Commissioner Bilaspur Vivek Bhatia, CO IRB Gaurav Singh were present on the occasion.

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