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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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Haryana Tourists Fire Bullets in Air at Hatu Mata Temple, Brandish Rifle, Manhandle Priest

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Hatu temple gun fire by tourists

Shimla-Following regular instances of hooliganism and assaults with weapons by tourists from neighbouring states, especially Punjab and Haryana, the Himachal Pradesh Police had announced regular checking of tourist vehicles on borders to prevent them from carrying weapons into the state. However, the tourists continue to bring weapons, including firearms, into the state.   

In a fresh incident, some tourists from Haryana on October 13, 2021, reportedly fired bullets in the air near the Hatu Mata Temple, Narkanda.  On hearing the sound of gunshots, the priest of the temple, Lalit Sharma, approached these tourists and objected to it. The tourists allegedly grabbed him by the neck and gave him life threats.

The priest freed himself somehow and immediately informed the temple committee about the incident. A member of the temple committee also informed the local police.

The priest said that a special pooja (worship) was organized at the temple on the occasion of Durga Ashtami and a large number of people was present inside the premises to participate in the pooja. This incident created panic among these devotees.

A taxi driver, Shravan Kumar, told police that two cars – HR 16X-3753 MG Hector & PB 26G-5555 Fortuner- were parked in the middle of the Hatu Mata link road, blocking the traffic. The tourists in these vehicles were brandishing guns and creating a nuisance. A short video clip showing one of these men brandishing a gun from their vehicle has also appeared. It was speculated that these men were intoxicated. 

Later, the local police arrived at the scene and apprehended about eight tourists for questioning. The police recovered a pistol, a rifle, and a dozen of bullets from the men. Cases were filed against two of them. When inquired in front of the temple committee, the two tourists told the police their names and addresses. They were identified as Kuldeep, 37, of Tehsil Lauharu, District Bhiwani, Haryana,  and Abhishek Kumar, 27, of district Bhawani, Harayana.

A case was filed at the Police Station, Kumarsain under Section 336, 34 of IPC and 25-54/59 of the Arms Act. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rampur, Chandrashekhar confirmed the report.

The temple committee has expressed concern over the incident and asked the police and the district administration to take stringent action against these men for hooliganism and creating a nuisance. The committee also urged that steps should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

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New Chief Justice of HP High Court Justice Mohammad Rafiq Takes Oath

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New Chief Justice of Himachal PRadesh High Court justice mohammad rafiq

Shimla-The new Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Mohammad Rafiq, was today administered the oath of office by Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan.

Justice Mohammad Rafiq was born on 25th May 1960 at Sujangarh in the Churu district of Rajasthan. He completed B.Com in 1980, LL.B in 1984 and M.Com in 1986 from the University of Rajasthan.

He, later on, joined the Bar and practised as an Advocate after enrolment with the Bar Council of Rajasthan on 8th July 1984. He practised exclusively in Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur in almost all branches of law and specially conducted constitutional matters, service matters, land acquisition cases, land revenue cases, preventive detention cases, customs & excise matters, railway claims cases, tax matters, company matters and criminal matters before the High Court.

He worked as Assistant Government Advocate for the State of Rajasthan from 15th July 1986 to 21st December 1987 and Deputy Government Advocate from 22nd December 1987 to 29th June 1990. He appeared before the High Court as panel advocate for various Departments of the State Government for five years i.e. from 1993 to 1998.

He also represented the Union of India as Standing Counsel from 1992 to 2001 before the High Court. He also represented the Indian Railways, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, Rajasthan Board of Muslim Wakfs, Jaipur Development Authority, Rajasthan Housing Board and Jaipur Municipal Corporation before the Rajasthan High Court.

He was appointed as Additional Advocate General for the State of Rajasthan on 7th January 1999 and worked as such till his elevation to the Bench. He was appointed as Judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 15th May 2006. He also worked as Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court twice; from 7th April 2019 to 4th May 2019 and from 23rd September 2019 to 5th October 2019. He was also the Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority and the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court before elevation as the Chief Justice. He was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya from 13th November 2019 to 26th April 2020. Justice Mohammad Rafiq was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on 27th April 2020, on being transferred from the Meghalaya High Court. He was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh on 3rd January 2021, on being transferred from the Orissa High Court.

The ceremony took place at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhawan, where Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh conducted the proceedings of the oath ceremony and read out the notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice regarding the transfer of Justice Mohammad Rafiq as Chief Justice of the HP High Court.

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HP Bypolls 2021: Bragta Doesn’t Withdraw Nomination, Remains Out of Sight Entire Day to Evade BJP Leadership

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chetan bragta's election symbol is apple

Shimla-Chetan Bragta, who has revolted against the Bharatiya Janata Party over denial of ticket to him, didn’t withdraw his nomination. October 13 was the last day for the withdrawal of nominations.  BJP leaders, who had been claiming that Bragta would withdraw his nomination, kept searching for him throughout the day but couldn’t find him or connect to him.

As per reports, Bragta had disappeared this morning to avoid BJP leaders and his mobile numbers were also switched off. However, Bragta posted a video on social media after the time for withdrawal of nomination ended. In this video, Bragta informed that the Election Commission has allotted “apple” as his election symbol. He also said that he would not step back and would fight the elections as an independent candidate.


The reports also said that BJP workers and leaders kept searching for Bragta in order to convince him to withdraw his nomination. However, the reports said, to avoid this pressure for withdrawal, he decided to disappear and switch off his mobile numbers.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that BJP is likely to expel him from the party. BJP, while denying him a ticket for the HP by polls 2021, had cited discouraging ‘dynastic politics’ as the reason. 

Pertinent to mention that BJP had denied a ticket to Chetan Braga – son of former MLA Narender Bragta- from the Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seat that had fallen vacant after the demise of his father. The ticket was instead given to Neelam Seraik.

While the chances of Neelam’s victory already seems to be bleak, Chetan Bragta has further aggravated the tension for BJP. This rebellion could benefit Congress Candidate Rohit Thakur.

BJP had faced revolt on all three Assembly seats over denial of ticket. However, somehow it convinced the miffed leaders on Arki and Fatehpur Assembly seats to not file nominations as independent candidates. However, BJP failed to do so in the case of Chetan Bragta. BJP had been maintaining that there is no resistance to its selected candidates from within the party.

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