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Indian man single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest

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Indian man single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest

Jadav-Payeng

Jadav Payeng turned a barren sandbar in northern India into a lush new forest ecosystem.

A little more than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav “Molai” Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India’s Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site where he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acres of jungle that Payeng planted — single-handedly.-mnn

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Himachal Watcher is a Himachal Pradesh Based Non-Funded & Independent Online English Magazine

Campus Watch

51 UHF Nauni Students to Work With Farmers to Learn Nuances of Hill Farming

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UHF-Nauni-RAWE-programme-1

Solan-With an aim to familiarize students with the socio-economic conditions of farmers and their farming techniques, 51 final year B Sc (Hons) Horticulture students of Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni will be attached to villages.

This will be a part of the four-week Rural Awareness Work Experience (RAWE) programme. RAWE is a compulsory part of the degree as per Indian Council of Agricultural Research norms and the students are paid a stipend during the programme.

The students, who have been divided into two groups, will be visiting all the four-agro climatic zones of the state. The Regional Research Stations/ Krishi Vigyan Kendras at Kullu, Jachh, Chamba and Kandaghat will be hosting each group for one week each. After a period of one week, the students will shift to a new climatic zone thereby covering all the zones in the stipulated period.

A group of villages under each zone has been selected and small sub groups from main groups will be attached to each village. The objective is to learn about rural social-cultural settings, rural development, topographical variations, climate change, animal husbandry, fruits, vegetables and cooperatives working along with understanding the culture. Scientist farmer’s interactions will also be a part of the programme.

Dr. Parvinder Kaushal interacted with the students after their departure for the one-month village attachment. He urged the students to make the most of this practical exposure.

“Go with an open mind, as this is a fantastic opportunity to learn from the people who are working on the fields. This will not only help to broaden your horizons as you will get to interact with the end users and the biggest stakeholders of the know-how and novel technologies developed in institutions like ours. Being ambassadors of the university, you must cherish this opportunity to interact with farmers, analyze their problems and look to provide easily applicable scientific solutions to them with consultation with experts,” said Dr Kaushal.

Dr. Kaushal added that the programme provides a unique opportunity to understand the rural setting in relation to horticulture and allied activities in different agro-climatic climatic zones. He asked the students to strictly follow all the COVID protocols in order to ensure the safety of the group and the villagers hosting them.

Programme Coordinator Dr. KK Raina said, “The programme aims at understanding rural situations, status of horticulture technologies adopted by the farmers along with prioritizing farmer’s problems, develop skills and attitude of working with the farm families for all-round development in rural areas.”

Dr. Anju Dhiman, Dean College of Horticulture said that due to COVID restriction, the practical aspect of the study was hampered but this present opportunity must be utilized to gain significant knowledge which will help to implement the knowledge gained in the classes into real world situations. She said that the knowledge gained during the programme will help the students to grow professionally.

Dr. Harish Sharma, Dr. MK Brahmi, Dr. Rasmi Chaudhary, Dr. Pramod Verma and Dr Aditika Sharma also addressed the students and shared tips with them.

In addition to familiarizing students with socio-economic conditions of the farmers and their problems with reference to horticulture development, RAWE would also help in imparting diagnostic and remedial knowledge relevant to real field situations through practical training.

Development of communication skills in students using extension teaching methods in transfer of technology and acquaint them with the ongoing extension and rural development programmes is another important aspect of RAWE. The students have already undergone a two-week orientation. After returning from village attachment, the students will also undergo industry attachment for 2 months after which each group will have to submit a report of the work undertaken.

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity to Start Fish Farming, Introduces 3,000 Fingerlings of Four Strains 

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uhf nauni fish farm

Solan-To increase the income of farmers from agri-horticulture and allied activities, Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry has started fish farming in the farm ponds at the university. Recently, the university introduced 3,000 fingerlings of four improved strains and varieties of fish at the university. 

University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Parvinder Kaushal released these fingerlings into the water storage ponds located in the Model Farm at its main campus in Nauni in the presence of Dr. MK Brahmi, OSD, Dr. KS Pant, Joint Director, Dr. Rohit  Bishist, Dr. KL Sharma, Dr. Deepak Sumbria, technical and field staff who will be working on the project. 

These fingerlings were procured from the HP State Fishery Department Breeding Farm, Nalagarh. The introduced stock includes Hungarian Carp, Mrigal, Jayanti Rohu and Catla. While Hungarian Carp and Mrigal are bottom feeders, Jayanti Rohu and Catla are column and surface feeders, respectively. The fingerlings have been introduced to promote poly-fish culture.

To study the scope of fish farming in the university, Dr. Hamir Chand, Assistant Director Fisheries visited the main campus farms. Before starting fish culture, Dr. Som Nath, Sr Fisheries Officer, imparted two campus training sessions to scientific and managerial personnel of the university to acquaint them with different aspects of scientific fish rearing. Exposure visits to fish breeding farms at Nalagarh and Deoli were also undertaken. 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Parvinder Kaushal said that the university has taken this initiative to supplement agri-horticulture, forestry and dairy activities. He said that fisheries combined with agriculture, horticulture and dairy activities can lead to a substantial increase in farm incomes. He said that the main objective is to establish a commercial fish culture and production demonstration units on scientific lines and undertake research work on the refinement of existing fish rearing and breeding technology to fill up research gaps through new technological interventions.

Dr. Kaushal added that we are looking to establish a fish culture-based integrated farming system model by including backyard poultry and duck culture in the future.

This will help to broaden the fish genetic base with the university and to impart training to the farmers especially the unemployed youth of the state, which will, in turn, go a long way to increase fish culture area and enhance fish production and productivity and uplift the socio-economic status of farmers. Besides, the university will be well equipped to provide training to farmers and also impart practical training to the students.

The university has also formulated a project proposal on scientific interventions and capacity building to promote fishery in Himachal Pradesh worth Rs.3.00 crore which will be submitted to the Govt. of India through the state government for financial assistance under Pradhan Mantri Matasya Sampada Yojna.

 

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Kinnaur Landslide: 14 Bodies Recovered in 30 Hours, Several Still Missing

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Kinnaur landslide rescue operation photos

Kinnaur: Landslide in Kinnaur district is unfolding as one of the biggest catastrophe in Himachal Pradesh as the of fatality count continues to rise. After 30 hours of the rescue operation, which was hampered multiple times due to shooting stones at the site, 14 dead bodies had been recovered till the suspension of the operation on Thursday evening. While 10 bodies were recovered on Wednesday, four more were exhumed from the rubble on Thursday.

As many as 15 persons were rescued and taken to Bhavanagar CHC for treatment.

The wreckage of the HP Road Transport Corporation bus was found scattered about 500 meters below the National Highway-5 in Nigulsari – the site of the massive landslide. The condition of the wreckage suggested there was little hope of survival of any passenger. The distraught relatives of the missing persons remained at the site, grieving with diminishing hope to see their family members alive as the rescue operation for today was suspended.

Kinnaur HRTC Bus wreckage

HRTC Bus Wreckage

The state of exhumed bodies added to the horror of the families, as well as, the rescuers. Some of the bodies were in such a state that their identification was next to impossible. While some bodies had their limbs cut off, one of them was found without the head.

As the rescue operation would be entering its third day on Friday, the death toll is likely to rise as the driver of the bus, who had survived the accident and was seriously injured, had estimated that 25-30 passengers were onboard when the landslide pushed it down the NH.

Further, there is still no sign of one vehicle (Bolero SUV), informed Director, State Disaster Management, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta. The exact number of people feared to be buried under the rubble was yet to be ascertained. According to the district administration, based on calls received from families, the number of missing people could be anywhere between 30-50.

Kinnaur rescue operation resumes

Meanwhile, some family members of the missing persons complained that while the rescue operation was initiated immediately from the Negulsari side, JCB machines took over five hours to reach the spot from the Chauri side. They complained that such a big delay was crucial and could have saved more lives.

It’s pertinent to mention that the HRTC bus had remained untraceable on Wednesday and the wreckage was found on the second day of the rescue operation. However, most passengers were yet to be traced.  

According to the Deputy Commandant, ITBP, Dharmender Thakur, shooting stones and sliding rubble posed a huge challenge for the rescue teams, which comprised of hundreds of personnel of NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, local police, and CISF. Undertaking this operation on a steep slope further created difficult circumstances for the teams. The lives of the rescuers were also at risk as the site remained vulnerable to reactivation of landslide.

This landslide in the Kinnaur district has become a matter of debate for geologists, environmentalists, seismologists and climatologists. Unscientific cutting of fragile mountains and blasting for the widening of roads and construction of tunnels for hydropower projects, changing patterns of rains, and seismic activity are being referred to be the reasons behind the increased incidents of landslides, especially in Kinnaur district.

At the same time, the inability of the state government to consider technical suggestions given by geological experts from time to time for mitigation of such hazards is also finding mention in the critical comments given by experts. The lackadaisical attitude of the government in the adoption of technologies, such as the early warning system developed by the IIT Mandi for mountainous regions vulnerable to landslides, is also attracting criticism.

It’s pertinent to mention that after the Kotrupi disaster – a massive landslide that had buried two buses and claimed 48 lives in August 2017-experts from IIT Mandi had carried out surveys and studies and provided several suggestions for minimizing damages, which fell into deaf ears.  

The deceased were identified as:

  1. Rohit Kumar
  2. Vanshuka
  3. Meera Devi
  4. Nitisha
  5. Prem Kumar
  6. Gyan Dassi
  7. Devi Chand
  8. Kumari Radhika
  9. Bhupender
  10. Kamlesh Kumar
  11. Lakshman Thapa
  12. Vijay Kumar

Two others were yet to be identified. The state government has announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 5o thousand to the injured. HRTC has also announced Rs. 1 lakh ex-gratia to the passengers of the bus killed in the mishap. 

Further, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and several other political leader visited the spot and met the relatives of victims on Thursday. 

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