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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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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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