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Himachal may get more snow

News4u-News Desk- SHIMLA: The hills of Himachal Pradesh are likely to experience more thundershowers and snow in the next two days after a spell of dry weather, the meteorological department said Friday.

“Certain areas in Una, Shimla, Solan, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Mandi districts are likely to experience thundershowers,” a statement here by the department said.

It also said that chances of snow in the upper reaches of Kullu, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Chamba districts were high.

“Weather was mainly dry in the state with the maximum and minimum temperatures increasing by two to three degrees in the past 24 hours,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district recorded a low of minus 5.1 degrees Celsius, while the maximum was 17.9 degrees.

The minimum temperatures in Shimla and Manali were 14.3 degrees and 9 degrees, respectively. The maximum temperature in these towns was 23.7 degrees and 22 degrees, respectively.

Kalpa, around 250 km from Shimla, saw temperatures varying between 7.8 degrees and 20.9 degrees.IANS

 

Himachal Pradesh Map

Himachal Pradesh Map

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The mystery behind Shimla’s ‘Scandal Point’

News4u-Feature Desk- It is a famous address in a famous city and among the must visit spots for tourists. But exactly why Shimla’s ‘Scandal Point’ has been named so is still a tantalizing mystery

The only thing agreed upon is that the place, situated in the queen of hills where the Ridge and the Mall (road) converge, got its name in the 19th century.

The story goes that the then Maharaja (ruler) ofPatiala had eloped with the daughter of the British Viceroy. This had led to the Maharaja being banished from entering Shimla by the British authorities. He countered the move by setting himself a new summer capital - now famous hill resort of Chail, 45 km from Shimla.

But with the real sequence of events still a suspense, Chandigarh based author Manju Jaidka, a professor at Panjab University’s Department of English, has tried to unveil the history behind it.

In her historical fiction “Scandal Point” (Publisher: Rupa, Price: Rs.195), Jaidka has tried to get to the bottom of the mystery.

“It’s a place with which everyone has an associated memory. Since my childhood, I have grown listening to stories about how the Scandal Point came into being and how it got its name. But they were usually vague memories that passed on through ages. So I decided to go on researching about it. I might be wrong in my assumption of the story but this is what I could make out after looking into the facts of the matter,” Manju Jaidka said.

“The most common story told about the Scandal Point was that of the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, eloping with the British Viceroy’s daughter in 1892. He was banned by the British from entering Shimla. So, he constructed a summer capital for himself at a small village called Chail. And the place of intersection of the Ridge and the Mall, where he eloped with her, came to be called as Scandal Point,” Jaidka said.

But according to the author, the story about Maharaja Bhupinder Singh cannot be true. While going through the archives at the Patiala palace and other places, she came across some facts which suggested otherwise.

“How could he (Bhupinder Singh) have eloped with a British lady and constructed a palace atChail after being banished when he was just one year old at that time? Probably because of his colourful nature and many wives, he is mistaken by the people,” Jaidka said.

The author believes that the Maharaja in question has to be Bhupinder’s father, Rajindra Singh.

“It is on record that Maharaja Rajindra Singh had an English wife. According to the facts that I have gone through, she also had a son. But no one ever knew where the mother and son disappeared. In my book, I have kept them alive and the story is woven around their lives. I may not be correct in my assumption, but when I thought that this might have happened in my head over and over again, I felt as if it was all true,” she explains.

In the book, the author has tried to come up with what might have happened.

She leaves the reader saying: “The mysterious ambience the (Viceregal) Lodge has, it seemed the best to end there as even I am not aware what the real truth behind the Scandal Point is.”

The mystery behind the true story of Scandal Point continues.IANS

Shimla's 'Scandal Point'

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Another chilly day for Delhiites

News4u-News Desk-The weekend began on a chilly note for Delhiites with the minimum temperature settling at 6.6 degree Celsius on on Saturday.

The minimum temperature recorded on Saturday was three degrees below than normal at this time of the season, the MeT office said.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 20.6 degree Celsius, the weatherman said, prediciting pleasant weather for Sunday with the maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be 22 and 9 degree celsius.

After few days of pleasant weather, chill is back in the air for the past one week in the capital with the minimum temperatures taking a dip.

On Thursday, the minimum temperature inched dow to 4 degree Celsius.

The MeT office has predicted mist or shallow fog in the morning.

While the last day of January recorded a minimum of 4.4 degree Celsius, the mercury had settled at a high ever since, rising from near seven on the first day of February.

According to MeT department, cold wave to severe cold wave conditions are prevailing in most parts of Haryana, Punjab, west Rajasthan and east Uttar Pradesh, many parts of east Rajasthan and some parts of western Uttar Pradesh.

cold in delhi

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HP to study reasons for vanishing birds

Shimla, The Himachal Pradesh government will conduct a multi-faceted scientific study to find out the reason of dwindling birds in the region, said to be affected by radiation from mobile towers in residential areas.

“The study would ascertain impact of radiation from mobile towers on human, animals and environment,” Additional Chief Secretary (Environment) Sarojini Ganju Thakur told PTI today.

Thakur said the terms of reference for the study was being prepared and the government would seek information on environmental safeguards while installing mobile towers from other states.

Earlier in the week, state Urban Development Minister Mohinder Singh told the assembly that observations show the number of birds, including sparrows, have come down due to harmful radiations from the towers in residential areas.

He had announced in the assembly that the government will ask nationally reputed agencies to conduct the study.

HP to study reasons for vanishing birds

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25 killed as bus plunges into gorge in HP

News4u-News Desk-At least 30 passengers were killed and as many injured when an over-crowded bus rolled down into a gorge near Haripur in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district on Friday.
The accident took place around 10 am when the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a turn and the bus fell into the 100-feet deep gorge from a road bridge on Baner Khud.
The bus, on way to Dehra from Nagrota Suriyan in the district, had hardly travelled half-a-km from the Guler railway station when the mishap took place.
The injured have been sent to Dr Rajendra Prasad government Medical College Tanda, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Dehra, Rakesh Sharma told PTI from the accident site, about 45 km from Dharamsala.
Six of the injured area in a critical condition.
Thirty bodies have been found. The dead included the conductor of the bus.
According to eyewitnesses, the 32-seater bus was jam-packed with many people boarding the vehicle at Guler station after alighting from Pathankot-Jogindernagar toy train.
As news of the mishap spread, principal of a nearly government school along with teachers and students rushed to the accident site to help the victims.

News4u-News Desk-At least 25 passengers, including five women, were killed and more than 30 people injured when an overloaded Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus rolled down a gorge near Bilaspur on Monday evening.

Police said the toll was likely to go up. The accident occurred at 5.30pm when a bus that was headed for Bandla village developed a snag 4 km from Bilaspur town. In a hurry to reach home, stranded passengers, most of them Diwali shoppers, stopped another bus going to Bandla village and began boarding it.

Since the bus was already overloaded, some people climbed atop. The bus, which was parked on the roadside, began rolling backwards and fell into the gorge. The fortunate few who were still standing on the roadside said they could hear nothing except screams.

Most victims were from Bandla Gamna and Sera villages.

Bilaspur deputy commissioner Ritesh Chauhan and SP Santosh Patial rushed to the spot to supervise the rescue work that was hampered as darkness descended.

Ambulances from Bilaspur and nearby places rushed the injured to the civil hospital. Seven victims were referred to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) in Shimla in a serious condition.

Chauhan said the toll could go up as the rescue operation was still on.

The HRTC authorities said that 40 passengers were travelling in the bus but eyewitnesses said the bus was already overloaded when more people tried climbing it.

25 dead in HP bus mishap

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41 killed in two accidents in Himachal

News4u - News Desk : Forty-one people, including 32 members of a marriage party, were killed and seven others were injured in two separate accidents in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, police said on Thursday.

A canter carrying members of a marriage party from Chaura to Shekhpur plunged into a 300-feet deep gorge near Shekhpur at 12.30 AM on Wednesday night, killing 32 people.

While 30 people died on the spot, two persons succumbed to their injuries on way to hospital.

Five injured persons were rushed to RP Government Medical College, Tanda in Kangra while another injured person was taken to a hospital in Pathankot.

Chamba district police chief, Madhusudan, who was on the spot, said the truck was carrying about 40 people.

He said the injured persons have been rushed to the hospital while bodies of the deceased were being recovered from the gorge.

In another accident, nine persons, all employees of a company, were killed on the spot when a pick-up van rolled into a ditch near Bharmaur, 65-Km from Chamba on Wednesday night.

The van was going to Bharmaur to drop the employees after the night shift.

Himachal Vidhan Sabha Speaker, who represents Bharmaur constituency, has expressed grief over the accident and asked the district administration to provide immediate relief to the affected families.

Himachal Pradesh Map

Himachal Pradesh Map

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Himachal to set up international airport near Shimla

News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, In a bid to make the state a global tourist attraction, Himachal Pradesh government has said it will set up its first international airport near Shimla, with about Rs 1,000 crore investment, under public private partnership mode.

The state government has initiated a slew of steps to promote tourism to increase its contribution to GDP to 10 per cent from the present 8.5 per cent, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said at an investment meet here last night.

The tourism sector contributes about Rs 3,600 crore to the Rs 44,000 crore state GDP.

Among the measures to promote tourism, the government has identified 40 acres each at three places in Shimla and Solan (near Shimla) districts to set up the Rs 1,000 crore international airport.

The final decision on the spot would be taken soon, Dhumal said

Himachal Pradesh Map

Himachal Pradesh Map

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8 Kg wheat per person in tribal, difficult Himachal areas

News4u - News Desk : Himachal Pradesh Cabinet has decided to provide eight kgs of wheat/flour per person every month from 1st July 2010 to 30th June 2011in all tribal and far-flung difficult areas like Dodra Kwar and Bara Bhangal, officials said.

The cabinet decided to authorise officials at Municipal and Panchayats levels to issue ration cards within their jurisdiction.

The cabinet on Saturday also approved filling of 258 posts of pharmacists in the Department of Health and Family Welfare on contract basis.

It granted one-time relaxation in educational qualification of all matriculates who successfully acquired diploma in pharmacy before 12th September 2001.

Further, it also decided to exempt children of those engaged in security services for the country from producing Himachali Domicile Certificate for seeking admission to institutions under the control of Technical Education Department in the State.

Himachal Pradesh Map

Himachal Pradesh Map

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Flood fury in North, East; snowfall in HP

News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, Lakhs of people reeled under the fury of floods with widespread rains in North and East India swelling up rivers in the region today as Himachal Pradesh experienced first snowfall of the season.

The deluge situation in Assam remained critical with the mighty Brahmaputra crossing the danger level in several places, affecting over five lakh people at 400 villages in 11 districts.

The river had crossed danger level at Guwahati, Goalpara, Sibsagar, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Nimatighat, Naharkatia and Tezpur districts.

Flood water submerged vast tracks of farm land and a large number of human habitations in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Morigaon, Sonitpur, Dhubri, Goalpara and Barpeta districts.

Asia’s largest human inhabited river island Majuli in Jorhat district was flooded following a breach in an embankment affecting thousands of people.

Snowfall

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Himachal Tourism on New Heights – Courtesy State Forest Wing

News4u-Bureau Report- Arpita & Vivek Tanwar-The Forests of Himachal Pradesh known for their grandeur and majesty are like a green pearl in the Himalayan crown. This life supporting systems are presently under great stress due to impact of modern civilization, economic development and growth in human and cattle population.

According to national Forest Policy, 1988, at least two third i. e 66% of the geographical area should be under forest in the hilly states like Himachal Pradesh. However, keeping in view that about 20 % of the area is inaccessible and beyond the tree limit, the State Government aims to bring 50% of the geographical area under forest cover.

The forests of the State have been classified on an ecological basis as laid down by Champion and Seth, and can be broadly classified into Coniferous Forests and broad-leaved Forests. Distribution of various species follows fairly regular altitudinal stratification. The vegetation varies from Dry Scrub Forests at lower altitudes to Alpine Pastures at higher altitudes. In between these two extremes, distinct vegetation zones of Mixed Deciduous Forests, Bamboo, Chil, Oaks, Deodar, Kail, Fir and Spruce, are found. The richness and diversity of our flora can be gauged from the fact that, out of total 45,000 species found in the country as many as 3,295 species (7.32%) are reported in the State. More than 95% of the species are endemic to Himachal Pradesh and characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, while about 5% (150 species) are exotic, introduced over the last 150 years.

The forests of Himachal Pradesh are rich in vascular flora, which forms the conspicuous vegetation cover. Out of total 45,000 species of plants found in the country as many as 3,295 species (7.32%) are reported in the State.

More than 95% of species are endemic to Himachal and characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, while about 5% (150 species) are exotic introduced over the last 150 years.

Along the National Highway 22, as you cross the State border from Haryana into Himachal, Parwanoo (470 m) welcomes you. A couple of decades ago, this was a sleepy little village and today, it is a major industrial town. For the tourist, Parwanoo is a convenient base station to see and visit a number of nearby areas.

As Himachal woods are rich in Pine trees, and so the ripe pine fruit falling –off make it vulnerable to fire, especially during summer season.. Once caught, fires spread fast, causing immense damage to the beautiful forests. To protect the woods from this is quite a challenging task for the local Forest department.  And, the local Forest guards across Himachal are always alert and ready for such challenges.  The State Government has taken effective initiatives by providing its Fire-guards with latest gadgets to encounter severe situations during fire – fighting.  The dedication of the local Forest guards and the administrative team are highly appreciable. The News4u crew met few Fire Prevention Officers, on & off their duties, to understand their modus-operandi.

Prashar Lake in Himmachal Pradesh

KASAULI - This small hill station seems to live in time warp that belongs to the 19th century. The narrow roads of Kasauli (1951m) slither up and down the hillside and offer some magnificent vistas. Directly below is the spread of vast plains of Punjab and Haryana which as darkness falls, unroll a gorgeous carpet of twinkling lights. At 3647 m, the peak of Choor Chandni also called the Choordhar powerfully dominates the lower hills and across the undulating ranges, Shimla is visible.

The upper and lower malls run through Kasauli’s length and one can enjoy longs walks. A mixed forest of pine, oak and huge horse-chestnut encircles the town. Its colonial ambience is reinforced by stretch of cobbled road, quaint shops, gabled houses with charming facades and scores of neat little gardens and orchards.

The local administration and the Forest department jointly with the Himachal Tourism have taken a very positive step, by letting the un-explored and beautiful sites to private hoteliers and resort operators, and allowing them to build Eco-friendly resorts to add to the beauty of the destination, and to meet the increasing accommodation requirement of the tourists visiting this area on vacations. The Pine Eco Camp-Chewa and the Sanawar Camp resort are two such examples that offer tourist a stay in the lap of nature and also indulge in adventure activity, guided quiet walks into the jungle etc.

The vision is to preserve and protect the natural heritage, both Flora & fauna of Himachal Pradesh and attract discerning tourists and visitors to the state; and in the bargain provide opportunities to enhance livelihood of the local people and alongside generate revenue for the sustainable development of its resources through the creation of a special purpose vehicle(SPV). The Eco Tourism Policy would encourage a partnership between SPV on one hand and the Civil Society and the State on other.

The zeal and dedication of Officers & their team are remarkable. We salute the Solan Forest team, including the DFO Mr. Anil Thakur & his team members namely Mr. Pradeep singh, Ratan, Kewal, Ashok & many more.

Sutlej and Baspa Rivers' junction, Himachal Pradesh

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