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Himachal braveheart among 40 CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama attack

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Himachal CRPF Jawan Tilak Raj of Kangra

Kangra- The 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force martyred in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir, in one of the most ghastly terror attacks also included a braveheart of Himachal Pradesh.

Tilak Raj, 32, hailed from Dhewa village in Jawali area of the Kangra district. He was survived by wife and two sons. His second son is only 22 days old. He had returned to join the duty on February 11, 2019, after attending the birth of his second baby.

The family was left heartbroken as the news of his martyrdom reached them. The villagers were visiting his house to consol the grieving family.    

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur expressed grief over the departure of all Jawans. He announced a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh to the family of martyr Tilakraj.

Tilakraj was a talented man, a good singer, and an athlete. He had written, sung, and released some of the songs. Some songs like Neelam Gaddan, Pyari Monika, Apne Ghar are also available on his YouTube channel Tilak Shanu Productions.

The entire nation was shocked when the news of the attack broke out yesterday evening. A suicide bomber reportedly rammed an SUV loaded with over 300 kg of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) into the vehicles of the CRPF convey.

The anguish against terror groups as well as Pakistan broke out in India and several foreign nations also condemned this despicable act.  Hashtags seeking revenge were trending on social media. 

The terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), founded by Masood Azhar, and claimed the responsibility for the attack. The suicide bomber who rammed the explosive-laden SUV into the convoy was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, also known as Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala. He was a resident of Gundibagh village in Pulwama district of South Kashmir 

Governor Acharya Devvrat also expressed deep grief over the attack. The Governor also called off the dinner to be organised on Friday evening at Raj Bhawan for the Members of the state Assembly.

Statement of HP Chief Minister

Expressing his grief, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government would provide all possible assistance to the bereaved family members of the martyr Tilak Raj. He said that this incident was a very unfortunate and cowardly act by the militants and that those involved in this incident would not go unpunished. 

Statement of Prime Minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that perpetrators of Pulwama terror attack act will be punished. He has warned the perpetrators and those aiding and abetting terrorists that they have made a big mistake and will have to pay a heavy price. Stating that free hand has been given to the security forces to act, PM dared Pakistan not to live in the illusion that it can destabilize India.

Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the leaders of the opposition, Indian National Congress, said they stand with the government amid this dreadful terror attack.

With this attack, several questions are being raised over the failure of the Intelligence Agencies and State Police. About 2500 jawans were travelling in a convoy of 70 vehicles, which was not a usual protocol. 

The State Police or surveillance agencies had no clue that such a massive amount of explosives was present in an SUV, which managed to get on the road and ram into the convey.

At the same time, it’s worth pointing out that contamination of the working culture of the Defense sector with politics is also responsible for inciting terrorist groups.

After the militant attack in Uri in 2016 in which 19 jawans were martyred, politicians marketed the surgical strike of the Indian armed forces like a product for image building. Some veterans of the armed forces and political leaders had also asserted that information related to such operations should not be publicized.  Sadly, the valour of the armed forces was exploited for political gains.   

The government even started observing Surgical Strike Day. There was an effort to send a message that the victims of the Uri attack were avenged and that terrorists were hit and afraid.  It was obvious that terrorist groups would react to it with bigger, more damaging attack whenever they would receive any opportunity.  

Currently, as a response to the attack, India on Friday announced that it had decided to withdraw the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan and would take all possible steps to isolate the country at the international level. 

A curfew was imposed in the affected region and teams of the NIA and NSG were on their way to visit the spot of the attack. Some suspects were also detained in relation to the attack.

Misc News/Press Release

UHF Nauni Station Becomes India’s ‘Lead Centre of Dahlia Testing’

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Dahlia in full bloom at RHRTS Dhaulakuan

Solan- As good news for the farmers of Himachal Pradesh engaged in floriculture, the Regional Horticulture Research and Training Station (RHRTS), Dhaulakuan of the Dr YS Parmar University and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been designated as the ‘Lead Centre of Dahlia Testing’ in the country.

As per the university, this is a big shot in the arm for Dahlia cultivation in the state as the flower has been introduced in Himachal for the first time under the project. The research conducted at the station could pave the way for its adoption by farmers for commercial cultivation.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA) of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, GoI has given the prestigious national level designation to the research station.

The status of National level Lead entre of dahlia testing is a big achievement for the station as Dahlia is among the most admired winter flowering plant. It is a recognition of the work carried out at the research station and is expected to catalyze commercial cultivation of this flower in the state,

said Dr AK Joshi, Associate Director RHRTS, Dhaulakuan.

He added that several cultivars will be added to the present germplasm and farmers will be able to get rooted plants in the future. UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma and Director Research Dr JN Sharma congratulated the scientists.

The research station forayed into floriculture in 2012, mainly in ornamental plants, but has since made rapid strides in this area. In 2016-17, under a PPV&FRA funded project worth Rs. 18 lakh, over 50 cultivars of dahlia of different shapes, colours, sizes and categories were introduced at the station from different reliable nurseries and departments from Uttarakhand and adjoining areas.

Elaborating on the research, Dr Priyanka Thakur, Principal Floriculturist and main investigator of the project told that the objectives were the development of Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) testing guidelines of dahlia and evaluation of species/ cultivars. The morphological characterization, development of DUS testing guidelines and the establishment of DUS centre for dahlia at the station is presently underway.

The farmers of Himachal can adopt this new crop for cut flower as well as pot plant production, which can not only help in diversification but also boost the economy and raise farm incomes.

The newly introduced dahlia cultivars are suitable for pot plant production, borders, mass plantations and cut flowers etc. Cultivars like Matungini, Mother Teresa, Sister Nivedita, Tenzin, Suryadeva, Jishu, Gilody, SP Kamla have been found suitable for low hill conditions. Matungini, Jishu, Sohini, Black Eternity, Surya Deva, Maa Sharda have been found suitable for cut flower production.

Often called the ‘King of flowers’, Dahlia is grown both for indoor and outdoor elegance. The height of plants differs with variety and can vary from two-inch lollipop style pompoms to the giant 10-15 inch ‘dinner plate’ blooms growing to a height of 4-5 feet.

These cultivars remain in flowering from Feb to May. Farmers can reap rich dividends by selling cut flowers, pot and as landscape plants and through the production of rooted plants. The students of the university are also working on the evaluation of dahlia varieties for the low hill conditions of Himachal Pradesh.

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Misc News/Press Release

Holding Clean Elections India’s Biggest Challenge as Misuse of Money Increases By Leaps And Bounds: EC

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Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence

New Delhi: Conducting clean elections is now one of the biggest challenges in our democracy given the prevalent abuse of money power, particularly when it manifests in the inducement of voters, the Elections Commission of India said today.

Unfortunately, the use of the money during the elections has increased by leaps and bounds in recent times. Mischief mongers are ever devising more ingenious ways to beat the system, said the EC Larger seizures have been made by our enforcement teams in successive elections.

To address this paramount problem, the Election Commission of India headed by Chief Election Commissioner  Sunil Arora along with Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra today held a meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence.  Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions attended the meeting.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora along with the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra at Meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence, in New Delhi on March 15, 2019.

He said Commission is determined to curb this menace and has issued detailed guidelines to monitor election expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties.  He said individually and collectively the agencies participating in the meeting are the bulwarks of clean elections. The outcome of synergised action should exceed the commitments made. 

To ensure clean elections, it is vital keeping track of the legal expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties for election campaigns. More importantly, it is imperative to ensure that there is no illegal use of money and other items for buying of votes, said Election Commissioner Chandra.

Issues Discussed at Committee on Election Intelligence

  • Ways of Curbing of covert expenditure by candidates and political parties
  • Sensitisation of the law enforcement agencies about their role during elections
  • Co-operation and sharing of intelligence of economic offences amongst law enforcement agencies for effective action
  • Preparation of road map for action during the elections
  • Mapping of constituencies by concerned agencies to check transportation of smuggled goods, drugs, liquor, and cash, including fake currency, through seaports, inter-state borders and international borders and pro-active and preventive action by each law enforcement agency

The Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions assured the Commission of prompt 24X7 expenditure monitoring and surveillance action.

The Commissions said a greater synergy amongst various enforcement agencies is needed to develop a collective strategy to fight this menace.  Therefore, the Commission expects that all enforcement agencies should have proper sharing of information for taking coordinated action rather than working in silos.

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity’s Apiculture Centre Judged as India’s Best Research Center, Bags Award

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Nauni Varsity’s Apiculture Centre bags award

Solan: The apiculture research centre of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has again bagged the ‘Best Research Center (2016-18)’ award. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) confers the award every year.  This is the second year in a row that the centre has bagged this award.

 University’s Department of Entomology runs the Solan centre of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Honeybees and Pollinators AICRP (HB&P).

Scientists from 27 AICRP centres from across the country participated in the meet and presented their work. Three scientists from the UHF centre; Dr Harish Kumar Sharma, Dr Kiran Rana and Dr Meena Thakur also attended the meeting.

The Principal Investigator Dr Harish Sharma said that the centre is engaged in research in diversified aspects of apiculture including managed honeybee pollination, bee botany, bee breeding, honeybee disease identification and their management, and standardization of technology for hive products.

This is the only centre in the country where bumblebee rearing and its utilization in protected cultivation has been standardized.

he said.

Elaborating on the work done by the entomology department of the university, HOD Dr Divender Gupta told that the centre has been working for the overall upliftment of apiculture in the state with special emphasis on pollination management.

In addition, the centre has been providing specialized training on queen breeding and bee breeding to beekeepers from across the country including the north-east. 

In order to establish bee breeders, the scientists have been providing technical backup for production of quality queens for increasing honey production and pollination efficiency,

he added.

The award was given at the Biennial Group Meeting of AICRP (HB&P) organized by ICAR at the School of Agricultural Sciences and Rural Development, Nagaland University last week.

Dr PK Chakravarti, ADG ICAR conferred the award at the plenary session of the workshop in the presence of eminent apiculturist and former national coordinators of the AICRP (HB&P) Dr RK Thakur and Dr RC Mishra. Dr RK Thakur, who is currently serving as the Joint Director (Communication) at UHF also delivered the lead lecture during the event.

UHF VC Dr HC Sharma and Dean College of Horticulture Dr Rakesh Gupta congratulated the whole team for bringing laurels to the university.

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