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Himachal preparing India’s first Climate-Smart Agriculture profile

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Solan: As part of its effort to prepare the first state-level Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) profile in India and to mainstream climate resilience into the agriculture sector, a broad consultation workshop was held at the Nauni based Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.

The World Bank supported Integrated Development Project (IDP) of the Himachal Pradesh’s government and CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in collaboration with UHF’s Department of Environmental Science and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) organized the workshop.

The experts from state departments of Forests, Horticulture, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Environment, Science and Technology and scientists from UHF Nauni took part in the workshop.

WOrkshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture profile.2

The workshop aimed to leverage the understanding of the participants on climate change and develop a shared vision for scaling up CSA. The results of this discussion will inform future work on CSA in the state by identifying the key institutions supporting CSA, and the most appropriate technology packages for different zones across the state.

Dr Renu Saizal, Assistant Conservator of Forests welcomed the guests and gave a brief background of the IDP and the CGIAR. In his address, Dr Pramod Aggarwal, Regional Programme Leader of the CCAFS informed that they had collaborated with the World Bank to prepare CSA profiles of 20 countries and Himachal Pradesh was the first state in India where such a profile is being prepared.

Himachal was chosen because it is a fairly progressive state with rich experience and depth in data through ongoing projects, which needs to be analyzed. Globally, climatic issues are becoming more serious and Himachal Pradesh is no exception as it is bound to witness almost all aspects of climate change. It is now all the more imperative that what we do today should not become a maladaptation for tomorrow and therefore prepare an action plan for the state to address current and future climatic challenges,

said Dr Aggarwal.

The workshop was divided into two sessions. The first session was on the technologies, which can be implemented in the state, and the second focused on the institutions and policies.

The workshop was a participatory process through which we want to learn what the state was doing. An analysis of the feedback will be undertaken and the final report will be presented during a dissemination workshop. The report will lead to an investment plan and help to formulate the policy of the state,

added Dr Aggarwal.

Addressing the gathering Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said,

Himachal is very sensitive to climate change and this is a reality that cannot be ignored. Climate variability will lead to a shift in cropping patterns and it is important to identify crops, cultivars and animal breeds that can withstand drought stress.

He advocated for a stronger policy for public transport and the planned expansion of roads through maximum use of tunnels and pillars, which do not disturb the natural vegetation and water movement along the mountain slopes. Special focus must be given on water harvesting systems in homes to recharge groundwater, along with the promotion of precision farming techniques that maximize water use efficiency.
WOrkshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture profile

Dr SK Bhardwaj, Head UHF’s Department of Environmental Science explained the climatic scenario of the state. Calling for a collective effort on adaptation and mitigation of climate change, he said that state is experiencing warmer winters and snowfall has squeezed to January- Feburary months in place of November to February. He added that the tree line has also shifted upward and pointed out that the rainfall has become highly variable thereby causing frequent droughts and flash floods affecting crop productivity and leading to loss of property of the state.

Dr Bhardwaj lauded the efforts of the farmers to adapt to changing climate by growing alternative crops like kiwi, pomegranate and vegetables in place of apple, Kullu being the best example of the practice.

Several topics like irrigation, pasture management, agri-technology, weather-based crop insurance schemes and pollution from agricultural activities were also taken up during the workshop.

About the Climate-Smart Agriculture profile

This project builds on the Himachal’ investments in integrated watershed development and will support the government to identify and scale up adoption of the most appropriate CSA practices that increase farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change.

The objective is to support the Government of Himachal Pradesh to identify locally-relevant climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices; understand the policy and institutional barriers to broader adoption of CSA practices; and identify appropriate technology solutions for monitoring the adoption of CSA practices and their impacts on climate adaptation and mitigation, including water use efficiency and water flow regulation.

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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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