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Kinnaur Avalanche: 4 Bodies Including 3 Jawans of Himachal recovered, 2 Still Missing

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Army jawans killed in avalanche in Kinnaur

Kinnaur-The search operation for the missing jawans of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, who were buried in an avalanche in Himachal Pradesh about three weeks ago, has entered its 20th day on Monday.

On February 20, 2019, an avalanche hit a patrolling party in Namgia Dogri region in Kinnaur district along the  Indo-Tibetan border. It swept away and buried six jawans of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.

Bilaspur Jawan Rakesh Kumar Martyred in Avalanche
Bilaspur Jawan Rakesh Kumar Martyred in Avalanche

One of the jawans – Rakesh Kumar (41) of Bilaspur district – was rescued on the same day, but succumbed to injuries on the way to Pooh hospital.

The body of Rajesh Rishi (25), a native of Nalagarh sub-division of Solan district, was recovered on March 2. It was followed by recovery of another jawan Govind Bahadur Chhetri’s body on March 4. Govind hailed from West Bengal. 

On March 9, the search team recovered the body of Rifleman Nitin Rana (27). Nitin was cremated with state and military honour on March 10 in his native village Ritt in Jaisingpur of Kangra district.  His father is an ex-serviceman, and his brother is also serving in the Indian Army.

Three of the jawans martyred hailed from Himachal.

The search operation continues and the team is likely to find two more jawans soon.

In a separate incident, Amit Kumar (29)- a Garud Commando in special forces unit of the Indian Air Force – was killed during a parachute jump in Agra on March 7, 2019.  Amit belonged to village Bussal of Kangra district. 

Almost 500 jawans of Indian-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Army have been searching for the missing jawans since their disappearance. Villagers were also assisting in the operation. The teams are using everything from machinery, metal detectors, sniffer dogs to thermal sensing equipment to find the jawans.

A team of the Defense Research Development Organization(DRDO) also visited the site.

Meanwhile, the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), a wing of the Indian Army, has also deployed its machinery to remove snow.

Misc News/Press Release

Bilaspur Youth Dies of Suspected Drug Overdose

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Bilaspur youth drug overdose death

Bilaspur-A youth in Bilaspur district reportedly died of a drug overdose. Though the police is awaiting the post-mortem and forensic reports, it is almost certain that the youth had consumed some kind of drug.

A spoon, syringe, aluminium foil, mobile and some other objects were found near the body of the victim, the Additional Superintendent of Police, Bhag Mal confirmed.

The youth, who is identified as Aditya – a resident of Nihar Sector of Bilaspur town –had gone missing on Friday. As per the parents, he was a student of a private engineering college based in Bilaspur. On Friday, the parents said, he had taken money from them to deposit his fee after which he disappeared.

Following his disappearance, the parents had filed a police complaint. On Saturday, he was found dead near the workshop of Public Works Department.

The ASP said that all the objects found near the body of the victim were sent for forensic testing. The exact cause of the death could be ascertained only after we receive reports of post-mortem and forensic tests, he said.

The incident once against brings the growing, unpalatable drug menace in Himachal Pradesh into the limelight. It is not the first such case where youth is suspected to have died of a drug overdose. There are other instances too. However, parents avoid revealing the cause of deaths so that this information doesn’t reach the media.

If we consider the actual intensity of drug menace in Himachal, youth in several districts, especially Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Solan etc. are in the grip of drugs.

In 2019, during the first seven months, 1,622 cases were already filed under Narcotic Drugs & Psychoactive Substances (ND&PS)Act. Over 780 people were arrested in these cases. Other than charas and opium, over five kilograms of Heroin (Chitta) was seized in these cases. The number would be much higher currently.

In September 2019, two locals were nabbed in Mandi district’s Salapar with 100.31-gram heroin. It was the biggest consignment of heroin (Chitta) seized in the district so far.

In October 2019, Shimla Police had registered two cases wherein 85 grams of Heroin was recovered from three accused.

Seizure of such high quantities clearly indicates that demand of Heroin is increasing in the state.

With the advent of social media, the tricks of the drug trade have also changed; most of the drug sales nowadays are done on “Dark Net”. The state needs to ensure that our intelligence and police are abreast with all the latest technological advancement to nab the big fish of the drug trade.

The Director-General of Police, HP, RS Mardi, admits that after regular campaigns to uproot cannabis and poppy from fields, smuggling of synthetic drugs has worsened the situation.

He informed that a Mobile App “ Drug-Free Himachal’ and Nasha Nivaram Toll-Free Helpline(1908) were launched to control the ongoing drug menace. In addition, Nasha Nivaran Samitis comprising of NGOs, youth, media, retired police officials, panchayat members etc. have also been formed to deal with the menace on local levels.

School children are being sensitized about the harmful effects of consuming drugs and their addiction. Over 2200 schools and over 170 colleges have been covered under this sensitization campaign of the state police.

What is more alarming is that during the last two years, a large number of local youth have been nabbed in relation to supply of Heroin. In some of the cases, the youth were found to be members of influential families having a strong political background.

In this row, n September 2019, Hamirpur Police had arrested two youth with heroin at a hotel. One of the youth was identified as Kunal Bhatiya, 18, son of Anil Bhatiya – an influential political leader.

In June 2018, four including the son of ex-MLA of Bilaspur, Bambar Thakur, was allegedly caught with 498 grams of charas that he was carrying in a car registered in his father’s name.

Names of Nigerian drug peddlers have also appeared on multiple occasion. In July 2018, based on a tip, Shimla Police had laid a trap and successfully arrested a Nigerian national Kra Basile and seized Heroin from his possession.

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Art & Culture

Video: Mega Natti at Kullu Dussehra 2019 Performed by 4,000 Dancers to Send Out Message of Cleanliness & Nutrition

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Kullu Dussehra 2019 Manha Natti

Kullu- International Kullu Dussehra Festival on October 12, 2019, witnessed a traditional dance “Natti” performed by four thousand women at the Dhalpur’s Rath Maidan. It event was named as “Mega Natti or Manha Natti”. Women from various parts of the district including Manali, Sainj, Anni, Banjar etc participated in the dance.  Not only a large number of locals swarmed the Rath Maidan to witness this majestic scene, but visitors from foreign countries also witnessed and captured it in their cameras.

This year’s theme was Swachhta (Cleanliness) and Poshan (Nutrition). These thousands of women, dressed in the traditional attire of Kullu district, danced on the beats of traditional folk songs and instruments for one hour. During the first 25 minutes, ‘Natti’ was performed by Anganwari workers to send out a message on cleanliness.

The tradition of performing “Natti” by a group of thousands of women had begun in 2014. While about six thousand women had participated in ‘Natti’ in 2014, in 2015, 9,892
women had performed during Kullu Dussehra, which was recorded in the Guianese Book of World Records.  

Since 2014, this tradition continues, and every year Mega Natti is organized on different themes. In 2015, the theme was “Save Girl Child.”

Cabinet Minister Govind Singh Thakur also attended the event as the Chief Guest. The Deputy Commissioner, Dr Richa Verma, was also present on the occasion. Both participated in the dance too.

The District Administration has been receiving appreciation for its efforts to highlight the traditional culture of Kullu and the messages of awareness it is delivering through this event.

While Dussehra in other parts of India is celebrated for only one day, in Kullu, the celebrations continue for a week. During this period, approximately five lakh visitors, including domestic and international, attend the weeklong festivity.

 

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Misc News/Press Release

Crop Diversification in Himachal Enhanced Crop Production and Farmers’ Income, 2nd Phase of JICA Project to Launch Soon: Govt

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crop diversification project in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Crop Diversification Project in Himachal Pradesh under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has helped in enhancing the crop production and the income of the farmers through vegetable cultivation, said Chief Secretary Dr Shrikant Baldi while interacting with the Mission team of the JICA. The team was headed by Deputy Director, South Asia Takumi Kunitake, which met Baldi on October 11, 2019, to discuss the launching of the second phase of this project in the state.

Baldi told the team that the farmers had been actively involved under this project and they were managing the irrigation schemes at their own. The agriculture department had been successfully implementing this project and all the works were being completed as per the estimated cost.

The efforts would be made to launch the second phase of the crop diversification promotion project soon in all districts of the state for which all the formalities would be completed before the completion of the first phase, Baldi said.

This Mission team was on the tour of various districts of the state to study the positive results of the JICA funded crop diversification promotion project after launching of its first phase in five districts. It also held a discussion regarding launching of the second phase for which the state agriculture department had submitted Rs. 1104 crore project to the government of Japan through the government of India in June 2019.

Baldi stressed that there was a need to provide more irrigational facilities to the farmers and bring more area under vegetable cultivation. He urged the JICA to approve the second phase of this project before completion of the first stage so that the expertise of the available trained staff could be utilised in the next phase as well.

The Mission team apprised that after submission of its report, the government of Japan would take a decision on launching of the second phase. Following it, another Mission would visit Himachal Pradesh to study the detailed project report. Thereafter, the letter of consent would be signed with the India and Japan governments. The team assured that efforts would be made to start the second phase of this project in all districts of the state, for which all the formalities would be finalised before the completion of the first phase.

The Mission team also held detailed discussions with Principal Secretary Onkar Chand Sharma on Thursday. The team visited four out of total five districts included under the first phase of the project (Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra and Mandi districts).

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