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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.

Campus Watch

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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