Every Wednesday

 Crop under curse
Delayed action by officials and farmers' non-adherence to the spray schedule has ruined apples in many belts
Kuldeep Chauhan
The scourge of scab and premature leaf fall has raised an alarm among the apple growers, more particularly in Bagshiad-Thunag-Janjheli in Mandi and Barshaini in Kullu.

Virbhadra Singh
Prem Kumar Dhumal

Poll politics
The battleground is being prepared for the Assembly elections
Kulwinder Sandhu
With the state Assembly elections due in another five months, top leaders of all political parties, including chief minister Virbhadra Singh, former chief ministers Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar and new aspirant Major Vijay Singh Mankotia have started coming out of their dens to mingle with the public. Virbhadra Singh is hopeful of coming back to power by playing the development card, even as his party is going through hard times with recent allegations of corruption and moral misdemeanor on top leaders.

Painting perfect

SUNNY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN: The sun shines down on the sleepy hills, creating a mystic aura of joy and happiness all around, which has been capturing artists’ imagination for centuries
SUNNY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN: The sun shines down on the sleepy hills, creating a mystic aura of joy and happiness all around, which has been capturing artists’ imagination for centuries.

Promotion Jam
S. R. Pundir
Nearly 500 officers and employees of the state department of prison are sore over the indifferent attitude and step-motherly treatment of the state government. Even after pleading their case before the chief minister, their demands, which include promotions and grant of facilities at par with the police personnel, are still unfulfilled. Officers of the department had been trapped in the ‘promotion jam’ for the past nearly 10 years. Officers serving as deputy superintendent and superintendent of jails have been waiting for their next promotions for the past several years. Keeping in view the demand of the employees to initiate promotions, the Jail officers and employees have been awaiting promotions for the past 10 years

Ayah vs nanny
Simla-born celebrated author M. M. Kaye was all praise for her Indian ayah
by Shriniwas Joshi
Most of us know Mary Margaret Kaye as the author of enthralling The Far Pavilions. But only few know that the lady who attained name and fame as M. M. Kaye and an author of about 15 books had this to say about her birth, “…in the summer of 1908 I came to be born in a bedroom in the Central Hotel (Shimla) on the twenty first day of August - just. I say ‘just’ because Mother says I arrived in a terrific hurry and complaining at the top of my voice, at eleven minutes to midnight.”

Tea(ry) affair
Double standards: Govt sells tea gardens in violation of law
Ravinder Sood
The state’s greens are yet again facing the axe and this time, it is Kangra valley’s lone tea industry that is the target. Interestingly, it is the state government that is to blame. Its apathy is causing tea gardens to be replaced by concrete jungles.

Hamirpur shining
The sleepy town wakes up to fashion & sports
Dharam Prakash Gupta

Students of Hamirpur-based International Institute of Fashion Designing (INFID) are all set to make their mark in the world of fashion. Seven students of the institute have been selected by Madura Garments in Ludhiana and New Delhi recently.

Weaving a success story
Jute geotextiles absorb water up to five times their weight and help check soil erosion
Rakesh Lohumi

Jute geotextile engineering technology, which has been effectively tried in many states in treating soil related problems, has not been put to much use so far in the ecologically fragile hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where landslides, soil erosion, subsistence of roads are a major problem.

Solace from Strife
Pratibha Chauhan
Children from strife-torn Kashmir have made the state their abode. They do not find much difference between their home state and Himachal, except that back home peace eluded them. It was the Indian Army’s Operation Sadbhavana that gave these 30 children from Jammu and Kashmir a chance to live peaceful lives. These kids were brought to various parts of the state by the 14 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regiment.

Victim of Apathy
The Palampur Municipal Council’s indifference is turning it into a virtual slum
Ravinder Sood

Despite  being an important tourist attraction of Himachal, Palampur is crying for immediate attention of the concerned authorities. The valley was earlier called Palam, which meant the land of brave soldiers, who have laid down their lives for the country in various wars before and after independence. 

Small holdings, big problem
As farmers take to cash crops, area under foodgrains has plummeted
Rakesh Lohumi

While the state has been doing exceedingly well in the field of education, health and social welfare in recent years, it has been lagging far behind in agriculture, which is the mainstay of the hill people.

Blue Revolution
Himachal gears up for a rainwater harvesting revolution by involving rural gram panchayats
Kulwinder Sandhu

The state government has launched a rainwater harvesting scheme in the rural areas of Himachal, with the participation of the rural folk through the gram panchayats. In order to run the scheme effectively, it has also decided to give incentives to the best performing gram panchayats for the construction of rainwater harvesting structures in the villages. The hill state has been divided into four zones that are dependent on rain-fed agriculture. In the first zone (650 mt and below), the cropping system of maize-toria-wheat fetches an income of Rs 15, 000 per hectare. 

Disrupted connectivity
Collapse of the Chakki Bridge has increased the woes of commuters
Rajiv Mahajan

The washing away of the 118-year-old, inter-state bridge on the Chakki rivulet, popularly known as the Chakki Bridge, has added to the woes of commuters of Kangra valley. Six pillars of the bridge (spanning over 100 mt) were washed away in the flashfloods in Chakki rivulet on August 9, 2007.  The bridge was a lifeline for Kangra valley but had outlived its utility and had been declared unsafe many years back. Constructed in 1889 by the British government at a cost of Rs 1,4,280, the bridge had outlived its life. 



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