CM directs to speed up work on developmental projects in Kullu district

Shimla-22 January, 2021-Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over a meeting with the officers of the Kullu district administration to review progress on various schemes at Kullu today directed to complete all the ongoing developmental projects in a stipulated time frame.

He said that the Bhutnath bridge of Kullu, which was closed for traffic since last two years should be restored for traffic at any cost in March, 2021 as it was one of the important bridge and people were facing problems. He asked the Public Works department to fix the responsibility and take action against the erring contractor and engineers who were responsible for substandard construction of this bridge.

Jai Ram Thakur directed to start the work of Rs. 162 crore sewerage projects for Manali town and surrounding villages for which the pipes worth Rs. 21 crore had already been purchased. He asked the officers of the Jal Shakti Vibhag to ensure completion of this project in fixed time frame.

Expressing his dissatisfaction over the unnecessary delay in the construction of two blocks of civil hospital Banjar, the Chief Minister directed to complete this work by January, 2022 positively. He directed the Deputy Commissioner to monitor progress on all the ongoing projects so that unwanted delays due to small reasons could be avoided.

The Chief Minister said that the work on Banjar by-pass should be started at the earliest as the state government had already approved a sum of Rs. 734.40 lakh for this project. He also directed to complete all the codal formalities to pave the way for construction of a modern auditorium at Rambag in Manali where big events like winter carnival could be organised.

Jai Ram Thakur directed to complete the work on multipurpose block of the Deputy Commissioner's office within a year on which Rs. 549 lakh were to be spent. He said that the work on construction of Kullu bus stand was in final stage and would be dedicated to the people in the month of March this is year.

He appreciated the efforts of the district administration and health department for taking effective steps to combat Covid-19 pandemic in the district. He expressed happiness that the Covid cases had come down sharply in the district and presently there were only 10 active cases in the entire district.

Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur said that construction of an auditorium in Manali town would facilitate in organising various activities in a better way.

MLA Banjar Surender Shourie urged the Chief Minister for early construction of Banjar by-pass and a bridge over it.

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MLAs priorities meetings with CM rescheduled

Keeping in view the Jan Manch to be organised in the state on 30 January, 2021 the state government has made partial modification in the time schedule for the meetings of the MLAs with the Chief Minister for fixing their priorities in the annual budget. These meetings would be held on 28 and 29 January, 2021 in the State Secretariat

The meeting with MLAs of Chamba, Sirmaur and Una districts would be held from 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM while meeting with MLAs of Mandi, Kullu and Bilaspur districts from 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM on 28 January, 2021.

The Meeting with MLAs of Kangra and Hamirpur districts would be held from 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM whereas with MLAs of Lahaul & Spiti, Kinnaur, Solan and Shimla districts from 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM on 29 January, 2021.

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Mahender Singh to preside over Republic Day function at Mandi

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur will preside over the district level Republic Day function at Mandi on 26 January, 2021. Earlier, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar was scheduled to preside over function at Mandi.

A Spokesperson of the state government informed here today that as per the partial modification, Vipin Singh Parmar will attend the district level Republic Day function at Dharmshala in district Kangra.

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Himachal becomes first State to complete assessment of snow leopard and its wild prey

Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to complete assessment of snow leopard and its wild prey. The assessment of snow leopard population in has been completed by the state wildlife wing in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) Bangalore following the protocol aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) protocols of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

It is the first scientifically robust estimate of snow leopards and its prey for the State. Since snow leopard is the state animal, the study assumes great significance for Himachal Pradesh. The state has an estimated population of up to 73 snow leopards.

Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania while congratulating the wildlife wing for this achievement said that such long-term studies could prove very useful in detecting the effects of conservation at the ground level and Himachal Pradesh could also be an example for other states.

He said that the exercise revealed that snow leopard density ranged from 0.08 to 0.37 individuals per 100 sq.km., with the trans-Himalayan regions of Spiti, Pin valley and upper Kinnaur recording the highest densities, both of the predator and its prey, mainly ibex and blue sheep.

This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 sq.km., utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown. The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project. Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that snow leopards are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.

Another revelation from the study is that a bulk of snow leopard occurrence is outside protected areas, reiterating the fact that local communities are the strongest allies for conservation in snow leopard landscapes.

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment, which will also serve as a robust baseline for the Wildlife wing for long term monitoring of the snow leopard landscape.

The Forest Minister said that the results provide a robust baseline for wildlife wing to set up a long term monitoring project to track the population of snow leopard and its wild prey species in the State.

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