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Himachal witnesses fury of parting monsoon, claims 8 lives, triggers flash-floods, landslides

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Flash floods in Kullu

Shimla: The parting monsoon season has hit Himachal Pradesh hard as continuous rains caused flash floods and an alarming rise in water levels in Beas and Ravi Rivers along with their tributaries during last two days. About eight persons were said to have died in different regions while a half-dozen others were said to be missing. The government has issued a high-alert warning in Mandi for September 25 considering a prediction of heavy rainfall.

As per the Meteorological Department, the rains could continue on Tuesday as well. The State Disaster Management Authority has issued an avalanche warning in vulnerable areas of Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, and Kinnaur districts.

In Kullu, the tourism industry took a hit while farmers  in Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti faced losses as snow and rain destroyed their crops. All private and government schools in eight districts remained closed on Monday.

The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway (NH) and Pathankot NH were blocked at various points due to landslides and landslips. In Kullu, several bridges were said to have washed away as water level in Beas and its tributaries were recorded above the danger mark.

Kullu, Mandi and Chamba were worst hit as the furious Beas and Ravi swept away vehicles, habitats, and livestock. The people residing along river banks had to evacuate their homes.

The district administrations had to call the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to undertake rescue operations to get stranded locals as well as tourists in Kullu district to safety. The gates of Pandoh and Largi dams were opened to release excess water that also added to overflow in rivers.

In Shimla, the NH-5 and other roads were disconnected from upper parts of the district due to landslides. The Theog-Hatkoti and Narkanda roads were blocked on Monday as rain continued on the third day.

On Sunday, a truck union office at Bashing in Kullu was hit by gushing water of Beas and washed away two vehicles. The newly built helipad at Bahang near Manali is said to have been damaged as well.

As per the review meeting of the Cabinet held on Monday, 120 stranded persons were rescued from Koksar in Lahaul-Spiti, 23 from Marhi and 31 from Rohtang (Kullu). Apart from, it, 33 persons stranded at Phojal in Kullu were also rescued. Out of these, 21 persons were rescued by Air Force and 14 persons were rescued by adopting other means.

A chopper of the Indian Air Force was deployed in Kullu region to carry out rescue work in emergency situations.

As many as 45 vehicles were retrieved from Koksar in Lahaul-Spiti. Similarly, 600 students and teachers were shifted from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Chamba and 100 students from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Mehla in Chamba district. In addition to this, three families of Rakh in Chamba district were also shifted to PWD Rest House.

Twelve tourists from Sikkim State were evacuated from Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti to a Hotel at Keylong.
Due to heavy rains on 23rd and 24th September, 60 sheep/goats were buried alive due to a landslide at Bharmour.

In Chamba, the Chamba-Tissa, Salooni and Pangi road was closed to traffic. Deputy Commissioner Harikesh Meena estimated the losses at over Rs. 100 crores so far. The Pangi valley was also cut off following heavy snowfall at the Saach Pass. The Rohtang Pass also witnessed snowfall that led to the closure of the traffic.

Yesterday, the videos showing a Volvo bus and truck being swept away in Beas went viral on social media, creating a stir among the people. As per reports, water entered a truck union and washed away vehicles as well as three shops.

The government is assessing damages sustained in two days to be over Rs. 1200 crores. The government has written to the Centre for the release of funds considering the damage caused by natural disaster.

Misc News/Press Release

IIT Roorkee Proposes Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal

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Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Seismic hazard in Himachal Pradesh is very high as the maximum area of the state lies in the Himalayas, which is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. A developed Earthquake Early Warning System could be an effort in the direction to mitigate the seismic hazards in the state.

Therefore, IIT Roorkee has sent a proposal to the State Government to establish an Earthquake Early Warning System(EEW). IIT Roorkee has already installed such Earthquake Early Earning System in Uttarakhand with the help of State Government, which is running very effectively by generating a database of earthquake events, generating public awareness and detailed research on seismic activities.

According to IIT Roorkee’s proposal, Himachal Pradesh may put earthquake sensors in different parts of the State which will detect earthquake activities in real-time. The warning may be communicated to the general public by a network of sirens. If the earthquake has its epicentre in Kangra or Mandi regions, the people in the State Capital may get lead time to take action say by 30 to 35 seconds.

Similarly, the expected lead time to the major cities if 1905 Kangra earthquake repeats in the region would be Solan 42 seconds, Mandi 20 seconds, Dalhousie 8 seconds, Dehradun 77 seconds, Chandigarh 43 seconds, Ludhiana 37 seconds, Amritsar 38 seconds, Panipat 93 seconds and Delhi 123 seconds.

Timely action may save many lives if there is an earthquake in the State in future and such an early warning system is in place and institutionalized and such EEWS will help generating a database of earthquakes in the state and generating mass awareness on earthquake safety.

Regarding this proposal, a meeting to develop Earthquake Early Warning System in Himachal Pradesh was held under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Onkar Chand Sharma today.

After detailed deliberations, Onkar Sharma said that the State Government may consider and more discussion will be held to take up this proposal.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Excise and Taxation Department Collects Rs. 6421.55 crore in 2018-19 Financial Year: Govt

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HP Excise and Taxation Department tax collection for 2018-29

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Excise and Taxation department collected Rs. 6421.55 crores towards government ex-chequer during the financial year 2018-19 against the target of Rs. 5860.63 crores.   The department has collected Rs. 1159.74 crores up to May 2019 during current fiscal. This information was released by Principal Secretary (E&T) Sanjay Kundu.

Kundu stressed on the need to run special campaigns for the realization of arrears due under all heads so that more revenue could be added to government ex-chequer. He also directed to work for plugging loopholes and leakages at all levels.

While expressing concern over pending arrears, he directed the department to take a fresh look at the provisions of Excise and Toll policy to make it more effective and realistic to achieve and secure higher revenue. He exhorted to make the excise policy more tourist-friendly by amending the relevant provisions and also by securing the government revenue. 

He emphasized conducting intensive and adequate training programmes for capacity building and to emulate the best practices and models available in the country.

He directed that the department should adopt a more proactive approach for revenue enhancement under Goods & Services Tax Act. The departmental officers in the field should take more interest in tax collection from the service sector in co-ordination with various government departments.

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Campus Watch

HPU VC Faces Backlash After Varsity Releases PG Merit List Without Settling UG Results

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ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension 3

Shimla– The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Univesity, Sikander Kumar, is facing backlash from students after he made the varsity a laughing stock by releasing merits list for PG classes without completely declaring and settling results of UG classes.

Both student organisations, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Student Federation of India (SFI) are up in arms against the VC, alleging him of incompetence to handle the affairs of the varsity properly. Also, both students organizations have been alleging the varsity of irregularities in admissions to P.hD and MCA.  

The students are alleging that not only the dictatorial attitude of the VC mentally harassing thousands of students across the state but also harassing those students who are protesting against prevailing disorder and irregularities in the working of the authorities.

It’s pertinent to mention that the varsity on Thursday suspended 10 members of the ABVP for staging protest over delay and irregularities in the UG results due which students were facing huge inconvenience.

ABVP, during another protest on July 19, termed it a dictatorial and one-sided action aimed at suppressing the voices protesting against corruption and the harassments students were facing.

SFI also criticized this action of the varsity. Irrespective of the organization to which they belong, SFI condemns the suspension of these students who were protesting against prevailing disorder at the campus, said SFI campus secretary Jeevan Thakur.

Today, ABVP staged another protest over the suspension of its members at the campus in which students laid down on the ground pretending to be dead bodies, terming it a symbolic representation of the future of students.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension5

The students warned that a movement similar to JP Narayan of 1975 that was organized to end the emergency like situation would be re-created against VC’s dictatorship.  ABVP demanded to revoke the suspension of 10 students and properly declare the UG results. The organization warned that if the varsity does not accept these demands, a massive protest would be organized on July 22 – the foundation day of HPU. Chandel has warned that not even the Chief Minister would be allowed to enter the varsity campus on that day.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension6

SFI also alleged the current VC of adopting a completely dictatorial attitude towards students and raised questions over the working of the varsity authorities.

The varsity failed to settle the results of the sixth semester of UG classes by July 19. The students are compelled to visit the varsity themselves to get their results corrected. Moreover, without settling UG results, the varsity has released the merit lists of the entrance exams for PG classes, said SFI.

It said the VC is more concerned about protecting his staff responsible for creating disorder and indulging in corrupt practices. Letters with false allegations against them were being sent to the parents of those students who were taking part in protests, which is leading to mental harassment of both students and parents, SFI alleged.

Students are being treated like captives in hostels. Even 24×7 library was made inaccessible to students. The inter-hostel outing in girl hostels was also suspended, said SFI.

The campus president of SFI Vikram Thakur alleged that the varsity is consistently depriving students of their democratic rights. He urged the students to unite in order to end this dictatorial attitude of the VC.

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