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Himachal Pradesh

Modi poised for huge win in Gujarat, Congress wrests Himachal from BJP

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both States today.

 
Counting begins in Gujarat, BJP secures early lead

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both states today.

As results and counting trends became available for all the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, the BJP had won 52 and was leading in 65 others, making for a total of 117 seats, the same number that it has in the outgoing house.
 
The Congress had won 27 seats and was leading in 32 others. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress, had won two seats while the Janata Dal (United), an ally of the BJP, was leading in one constituency. Other parties were ahead in three seats.
 
Adding to the Congress' misery in Gujarat, its state unit chief Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil lost their seats.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP conceded defeat as the Congress won 34 seats in the 68-member Assembly and was leading in two others. The BJP had won 23 and was ahead in another three, while others had won four and were leading in two more.
 
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal admitted his party had lost and congratulated the winners. He said the reasons for the BJP's defeat, despite his government's good record of governance, would be analysed at party fora in due course.
 
In Gujarat, Mr Modi retained his own seat, Maninagar, bagging 120440 votes against 34097 secured by his nearest rival, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
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The controversial former Minister of State for Home, Mr Amit Shah of the BJP, won from Naranpura, garnering 103988 votes against the 40653 secured by his rival Jitubhai B Patel of the Congress.
 
In the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad, Ms Jagruti Pandya, widow of assassinated former Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, ended up in the third place. Ms Pandya, a candidate of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, could muster only 9075 votes against Mr Raesh Shah of BJP, who got 106631 votes. Mr Kamleshkumar Shah of the Congress got 29959 votes.
 
Mr Modhwadia lost in Porbandar, getting only 60458 votes against the 77604 votes secured by Mr Babubhai Bokhiria of the BJP. Mr Gohil lost from Bhavnagar (Rural) to Mr Purshottam Solanki of the BJP. Mr Solanki got 83980 votes as against 65426 secured by Mr Gohil.
 
The BJP had won 117 seats in the Gujarat Assembly in the last elections in 2007, while the Congress had 59 seats.
 
Counting of votes began in both states at 0800 hours today and all the results are expected by this evening.
 
Elections to the 182-member Gujarat assembly were held in two phases on December 13 and 17, when a record 71.3 per cent of the 38 million voters had exercised their franchise.
 
Polling for the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly was held in a single phase on November 4, and about 74.7 per cent of the 4.60 million voters had cast their votes.
 
The supporters of Mr Modi, who has been in office since 2001, are hoping that, with yet another big win, he would be propelled to the centrestage of national politics and become the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Exit polls had predicted a huge win for Mr Modi again this year, while they had given a slight edge in a close contest in Himachal Pradesh.
 
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IAF rescues 21 flood-affected people in Kullu

 
Kullu flash floods: IAF chopper rescues stranded people
 
 
Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted two daring operations in the past two days and rescued 21 people marooned at different places in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh due to floods caused by heavy rainfall.    
 
The Defence Ministry in a press release said that, at around 1430 hrs yesterday, Air Force Station Sarsawa received a request from Himachal Pradesh government for the rescue of marooned people following incessant rains.
 
The Beas river had swelled and the people were stranded in the small islets formed in the river. One MLH class helicopter was launched from the Mighty Armour unit of Western Air Command, based at Sarsawa.
 
The helicopter was piloted by Squadron Leader Vipul Gupta with Sqn Ldr Dhiman as the co-pilot. The helicopter reached the spot and found 19 people stranded on an islet on the swelling Beas river.
 
The pilot brought the helicopter to a low hover and the crew helped the stranded people into the aircraft. They were then flown to the local airfield of Bhuntar.
 
Today, two youth were spotted on another small strip of land in the river. The helicopter, which was available at Bhuntar reached the spot and winched them up since there was no place for it to land.
 
The helicopter and its crew have been instructed to wait at Bhuntar airstrip for any other rescue effort, the release added.
 
“Today restricted space, high winds speed, High tension cables and tall trees precluded the chance of landing hence we had to winch the two people. All the rescued were reported to be safe and fine. We are on standby for any further requirements” said Squadron Leader Vipul Gupta.
 
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Himachal rains claim 8 lives; hundreds stranded

Heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh on Monday claimed eight lives and hundreds, including school students, remained stranded across the state after incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day, triggering landslides and snapping over 200 road links, officials said.

 
Flash flood washes away vehicles in Himachal Pradesh
 
 
Heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh on Monday claimed eight lives and hundreds, including school students, remained stranded across the state after incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day, triggering landslides and snapping over 200 road links, officials said.
 
Three people were washed away near Manali late on Sunday night when their vehicle fell into the swollen Beas river.
 
Elsewhere, two people were washed away in the Parbati river in the Manikaran valley, while one girl died near Bajaura. Both incidents occurred in Kullu, one of the worst affected districts by flashfloods.
 
A man was drowned in a swollen rivulet near Palampur town in Kangra district, while another was killed when a building was washed away in a rivulet in Una district.
 
Several houses in Kullu town were swept away in flashfloods as the Beas is flowing above the danger mark.
 
Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus Khan told IANS that a "high alert" has been issued in the district as most of the rivers and their tributaries were in spate.
 
In Chamba district, the Ravi river was flowing at the danger mark and people were evacuated from low-lying areas.
 
Around 1,000 school students have been moved to safer places in Holi area of Chamba. They had gathered there for the 23rd District Primary School Sports Tournament, a government spokesperson told IANS.
 
Likewise, over 800 people, comprising tourists and locals, have been rescued from various places in and around Lahaul Valley in Lahaul-Spiti district. The area witnessed snowfall too.
 
"No tourist or local is stranded on the road. All people have been moved to safer places in Koksar, Marhi and Keylong last (Sunday) evening," he said, adding that telephone lines in the area have been badly affected.
 
Reports said five faculty members of the IIT-Mandi went missing in the Chandratal (4,300 metre high) in Lahaul-Spiti. They had gone there for trekking.
 
On government's request, the Indian Air Force has stationed a chopper in Kullu town, some 200 km from the state capital, to deal with any emergency.
 
Heavy landslides hit vehicular movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and on the Pathankot-Chamba highway.
 
After three consecutive days of incessant rains, over 200 roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters.
 
Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut-off owing to landslips, a government official told IANS.
 
Three bridges were washed away in Kullu and Manali towns.
 
While picturesque tourist town Dalhousie recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 180 mm, it was 120 mm in Manali and Kangra each and 108 mm in Palampur.
 
State capital Shimla saw 23 mm of rain.
 
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The higher reaches of Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts experienced snowfalls. Keylong town in Lahaul-Spiti district saw over two feet of snow.
 
The highway that connects Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow since Saturday, the official said.
 
There are chances of moderate to heavy rainfall in the state till Tuesday, a Met Department official told IANS.
 
He said most of the areas in the state, particularly Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Sirmaur and Mandi districts, have been experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall.
 
The government has announced closure of all educational institutions in Chamba, Kullu, Sirmaur, Kangra, Kullu and Hamirpur districts till September 25.
 
An Indian Air Force chopper rescued on Sunday 19 people stuck in a flashflood in Dobi in Kullu district.
 
Authorities said excess water was discharged from the Pandoh diversion dam, located 112 km upstream of Pong dam, as a precautionary measure.
 
The Pandoh diversion dam is located on the Beas river in Mandi district. It diverts excess monsoon water towards the Pong dam. Otherwise, it diverts water towards the Satluj river which feeds the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra dam.
 
Authorities of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said excess water from the Pong Dam could be released due to high inflow in the reservoir.
 
Officials said more showers in the state could aggravate the flood-like situation in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
 
All the major rivers of the hill state -- the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna -- enter Punjab and Haryana.
 
IANS
 

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Himachal roads closed after heavy rains

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Himachal Pradesh on Monday continued to experience heavy to extremely heavy rains, causing major landslides and blocking highways and link roads, while all major rivers and their tributaries were in spate, officials said here.
 
Heavy landslides hit vehicular movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and on the Pathankot-Chamba highway. However, there was no loss of life.
 
After three consecutive days of incessant rains, most of the roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters.
 
Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut off owing to landslips, a government official told IANS.
 
Three bridges were washed away in Kullu and Manali towns.
 
While picturesque tourist town Manali recorded the highest rainfall in the state on the second consecutive day at 121 mm, it was 120 mm in Kangra, 170 mm in Dalhousie and 108 mm in Palampur.
 
State capital Shimla saw 23 mm of rain.
 
The higher reaches of Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts experienced snowfalls. Keylong town in Lahaul-Spiti district saw over two feet of snow.
 
The highway that connects Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, the official said.
 
There are chances of moderate to heavy rainfall in the state till Tuesday, a Met Department official told IANS.
 
He said most of the areas in the state, particularly Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Sirmaur and Mandi districts, have been experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall.
 
The government has announced closure of all educational institutions in Chamba, Kullu, Sirmaur, Kangra, Kullu and Hamirpur districts till September 25, while in Bilaspur and Shimla district on Monday.
 
An Indian Air Force chopper rescued 19 people on Sunday as they were stuck in a flash flood in Dobi in Kullu district.
 
A government spokesperson said Satluj, Beas and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries have been in spate in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur and Sirmaur districts.
 
"We have advised people settled along the banks of the rivers to move to safer places," an official said here.
 
Authorities said excess water was discharged from the Pandoh diversion dam, located 112 km upstream of Pong dam, as a precautionary measure.
 
The Pandoh diversion dam is located on the Beas river in Mandi district. It diverts excess monsoon water towards the Pong dam. Otherwise, it diverts water towards the Satluj river which feeds the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra dam.
 
However, the inflow of water into state's Pong and Bhakra dam increased dramatically due to heavy rainfall, but the authorities said there was no need for worry as the reservoirs still have surplus capacity to withhold additional water.
 
Officials said more showers in the state could aggravate the flood-like situation in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
 
All the major rivers of the hill state -- the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna -- enter Punjab and Haryana.
 
IANS
 

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Manali-Leh highway closed after snowfall

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The highway that connects this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, officials said on Sunday.
 
"The traffic between Manali and Leh has been closed since Saturday," an official of the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) told IANS.
 
GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains crucial highways in the country.
 
The Manali-Leh highway winds its way through the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft).
 
It is crucial to the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to forward areas in Ladakh.
 
An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation said it would take a week to restart bus services between Manali via Keylong and Leh.
 
Meanwhile, the 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass, the main tourist attraction and located 52 km from here, was closed.
 
Locals and tourists have been advised not to travel towards the higher reaches as chances of snow and rain are high till September 25, a government spokesperson told IANS here.
 
He said tourists and locals bound for the Rohtang Pass were not allowed to go beyond Marhi due to continuous snowfall that has resulted in snapping of road links leading to the pass.
 
Officials said state transport buses between Manali and Kaza have been temporarily suspended.
 
IANS
 

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Three child killers given death penalty by court in Shimla

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It's gallows for the three persons who kidnapped and killed four-year-old Yug Gupta, their neighbour, after enticing him with a chocolate some four years ago.
 
Shimla District and Sessions Judge Virender Singh on Wednesday pronounced the verdict awarding capital punishment to all the three convicts -- Chander Sharma, Tajender and Vikrant -- for murdering the child after failing to get ransom.
 
The victim's parents and grandmother were in tears when the sentence was pronounced. The court had convicted them on August 6. 
 
Yug's skeletal remains were recovered from a municipal water supply tank in August 2016, two years after he was reported missing. The child had been tortured, starved and forced to consume liquor before he was thrown into the tank.
 
The police had charged three youths, who were the victim's neighbours, with murder. They had been in police custody since their arrest in August 2016.
 
A chargesheet filed by the Himachal Pardesh police's Crime Investigation Department (CID) on October 25, 2017, said the child had been missing from his residence since June 14, 2014.
 
The accused kept on demanding the ransom even after killing the child, said the CID. On June 27, 2016, the family received a ransom letter demanding Rs 3.6 crore. This was followed by three more ransom letters.
 
An angry crowd had thrashed the two accused, Chander Sharma and Tajinder Singh, in August 2017 at the district court complex when they were taken there for a court hearing.
 
The state capital had witnessed demonstrations and candle light marches after the crime.
 
IANS
 

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Traffic restored on Chandigarh-Manali highway

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Traffic on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway, which remained blocked for over 12 hours following a massive landslide along the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh, was restored on Saturday, police said.
 
Incessant rains have also caused massive rockslides in Chamba district, blocking the Pathankot-Chamba highway.
 
Likewise, the National Highway 5 has been blocked near Chaura village in Shimla district after a truck got stuck as a portion of the road caved in.
 
Nearly 100 metres of the Chandigarh-Manali highway was badly damaged in the landslide that occurred near Aut in Mandi district on Friday night. It was repaired temporarily.
 
"Work is on to clear the debris on the Pathankot-Chamba and removal of the truck on the National Highway 5. They are likely to be reopened late in the evening," an official told IANS here.
 
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Landslide blocks Chandigarh-Manali highway

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Traffic on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway has been blocked following a massive landslide along the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh, police said on Saturday.
 
However, there were no reports of any casualties.
 
Nearly 100 metres of the national highway was badly damaged in the landslide that occurred near Aut in Mandi district on Friday night.
 
Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the affected area.
 
District authorities claimed that traffic was partially restored for small vehicles through diversions on alternate roads.
 
"JCB machines are trying to clear the debris and likely to restored by afternoon," said a district official.
 
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and district authorities have deployed equipment to remove the debris.
 
IANS

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Rs 990-crore loss due to rains in Himachal, 35 lives lost

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Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday said that the state had suffered a loss of Rs 990.54 crore due to monsoon rains that also claimed 35 lives.
 
"The maximum damage due to heavy rains was reported on August 12-13," Thakur told the Assembly while replying to a calling attention motion.
 
He said that Shimla saw record heaviest rainfall on a single day after 1901, which was 500 per cent above normal on August 12-13.
 
"Funds totalling Rs 230 crore were released to carry out restoration works," he said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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11 killed in accident near Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh

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All 11 people, including five women and three children, travelling in a vehicle were killed when it skidded off the road and fell into a gorge near the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district, police said on Thursday.
 
The accident occurred near Rahni Nullah on the Manali-Leh highway, 47 km from here. The victims were on their way towards Pangi from Manali when the accident occurred.
 
Prima facie, poor visibility owing to rainfall was believed to be the cause of the accident, Superintendent of Police Shalini Agnihotri told IANS over telephone.
 
She said the accident occurred on Wednesday night but the police came to know about it only on Thursday morning.
 
Witnesses said the administration had a tough time in extracting the victims from the gorge. The villagers started the rescue operations before the authorities could reach the spot.
 
IANS
 

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16 killed in Himachal rains, hundreds stranded

 
Schools, highways shut due to heavy rains in Shimla, Mandi
 
 
Heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh claimed 16 lives, including four of a family, while hundreds of people were stranded across the state after incessant rains triggered landslides, snapping road links, officials said on Monday.
 
A government advisory advised people to avoid travel as the weather officials warned of heavy rains in the state till Tuesday and thereafter on August 16 and 17.
 
Four members of a family were killed in a landslide in Kandaghat subdivision in Solan district. A boy was washed away in the swollen Kaushalya river near Parwanoo in the district. A total of eight persons lost their lives in rain-related incidents in the district.
 
Landslides led to the death of three persons in Mandi district, while road traffic was disrupted for hours on the Chandigarh-Shimla, Shimla-Nahan, Chamba-Pathankot and Mandi-Pathankot highways.
 
Additional Chief Secretary Manisha Nanda said that 923 roads were closed due to landslides, including six National Highways, and that men and machinery had been pressed into service to open these roads to traffic as soon as possible.
 
Presiding over a review meeting here on the damage caused by rains, Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhry said the state had released Rs 96.50 crore for relief and rescue operations.
 
As a precautionary measure, all schools and educational institutes in the state will remain closed on Tuesday too.
 
The water level in the Beas river rose dramatically, touching the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway 21 near the Hanogi temple. Traffic on the stretch was suspended owing to the development.
 
All trains on the Kalka-Shimla route were cancelled due to landslips on the tracks.
 
After heavy overnight rains, most roads in Himachal interiors remained closed to traffic on Monday, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded.
 
Vehicular movement in Kinnaur district was suspended due to landslides at several places on the Hindustan-Tibet Road.
 
An official said traffic in higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts was the worst affected and efforts were on to restore it.
 
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According to the Met office here, moderate to heavy rains have occurred in most parts of the state since Sunday.
 
Extremely heavy rainfall occurred at isolated places in Solan, Mandi, Sirmaur, Kangra and Hamirpur districts. Heavy to very heavy rainfall occurred at a few places in Shimla, Kullu, Una, Bilaspur and Chamba districts, a statement by the meteorological office said.
 
Sujanpur Tira town in Hamirpur district recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 307 mm, while it was 300 mm in Arki town in Solan district and 239 mm in Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district.
 
Baijnath town in Kangra district recorded 235 mm in the past 24 hours, while Palampur town recorded 212 mm.
 
It was 142 mm in Dharamsala town, 117 mm in Kasauli, 129 mm in Solan town and 72 mm in Dalhousie.
 
State capital Shimla recorded 172 mm rainfall within 24 hours in this month - the highest precipitation since 2011, a meteorological official said.
 
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) authorities released excess water from the Pandoh dam into the Beas river as heavy rain abnormally increased the water level in the reservoir, the official said.
 
The water level in the major rivers of the state - the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna - which enter the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana has also increased, a government official said.
 
"Continuous heavy rains have increased the water level in the Beas river and its tributaries, including the Parvati and the Tirthan," the official added.
 
IANS
 

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Rain claims 5 lives in Himachal; hundreds stranded as highways shut

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Heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh claimed five lives and hundreds remained stranded across the state after incessant rainfall triggered landslides and snapped road links, an official said on Monday.
 
Three persons were killed in Mandi district in landslide incidents, while a boy was washed away in the swollen Kaushalya river near Parwanoo in Solan district.
 
Reports said five persons were buried under a landslide near Chakla village in Kandaghat in Solan district. One of them reportedly died. Rescue work is still on.
 
After heavy overnight rains, most of the roads in the interiors of the state remained closed to traffic on Monday, stranding hundreds of travellers and commuters.
 
The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21 has been closed for vehicles near Mandi town, an official said. Likewise, traffic on the Chandigarh-Shimla National Highway-5 was hampered near Chakki Ka Mor in Solan district.
 
The Mandi-Pathankot, the Chamba-Pathankot and the Shimla-Nahan national highways were blocked by landslides.
 
Vehicular movement in Kinnaur district remained suspended since a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road has been under landslides at several points.
 
An official said the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts was the worst affected and efforts were being made to reopen it.
 
As a precautionary measure, all schools and educational institutes in Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur and Mandi districts were closed for the day.
 
According to the Met office here, moderate to heavy showers have occurred in most parts of the state since Sunday.
 
Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 239 mm, while it was 238 mm in Sujanpur Tira town in Hamirpur district. 
 
Nehri town in Mandi district recorded 235 mm in the past 24 hours, while Palampur town recorded 212 mm.
 
It was 172 mm in the state capital, 142 in Dharamsala town, 98 mm in Kasauli, 94 mm in Solan town and 57 mm in Dalhousie.
 
The weather office has forecast heavy rains across the state till Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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Heavy rains in Himachal close highways; hundreds stranded

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After heavy overnight rains, most of the roads in the interiors of Himachal Pradesh remained closed to traffic on Monday, stranding hundreds of travellers and commuters.
 
The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21 has been closed for vehicles near Mandi town, an official said. Likewise, the Chandigarh-Shimla National Highway-5 was hampered near Jabli town in Solan district.
 
Vehicular movement in Kinnaur district remained suspended since a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road has been under landslides at several points.
 
Reports said five persons were buried under a landslide in Kandaghat area in Solan district. One of them reportedly died as rescue work was still on.
 
An official said the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts was the worst affected and efforts were being made to reopen it.
 
As a precautionary measure, all schools and educational institutes in Shimla and Mandi districts have been closed for the day.
 
According to the Met office here, moderate to heavy showers have occurred in most parts of the state since Sunday.
 
Nehri town in Mandi district recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 235 mm. Dharamsala town recorded 110 mm rain in the past 24 hours, while it was 100 mm here in the state capital, 98 mm in Kasauli, 94 mm in Solan town and 57 mm in Dalhousie.
 
The weather office has forecast heavy rains across the state till Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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Minor earthquake recorded in Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the early hours of today in the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh, the third in the area in the last one week.
 
A bulletin  from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 32.3°N and longitude 76.3°E, occurred at 0118 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
Earlier, two minor quakes, measuring 2.9 and 3.8 on the Richter scale, were recorded in the same area on July 25 and on July 27, respectively.
 
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Pune pilgrim killed, three washed away in Himachal flashflood

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A woman pilgrim from Pune in Maharashtra was washed away and three other persons were reported missing in a flash flood triggered by heavy rains in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Saturday while they were on way to Kinner Kailash, police said.
 
While the deceased was identified as Sangeeta Morey, the three missing persons remained unidentified, a police official told IANS on the phone.
 
As many as 163 persons were rescued while 35 others are still stranded at different location en route Kinner Kailash.
 
Most pilgrims were trapped in the Ganesh park area near Kinner Kailash, dedicated to Lord Shiva's 79-foot vertical rock Shiva Lingam at a height of around 6,050 metres above average sea level.
 
The district administration deployed police, Home Guards and Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawans for search and rescue operation, Acting Deputy Commissioner Avninder Kumar said.
 
Kinner Kailash trek is considered the toughest as it takes at least two days to complete.
 
The pilgrimage is yet to start officially.
 
IANS
 
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Five killed in fire in house near Mandi in Himachal

 
Five dead in fire at residential building in Mandi
 
 
At least five persons, including three women, of a wedding party were charred to death when a house caught fire near Mandi town in Himachal Pradesh early on Monday, police said.
 
The incident took place at Ner Chowk around 5 a.m. when the occupants of the house were asleep.
 
The deceased were identified as Narender Soni and Veena Soni, Sudesh, Mona,40, and her eight-year-old son Sai Sohel.
 
Prima facie the cause of fire is believed to be an electrical short-circuit, Superintendent of Police Gurdev Chand Sharma said. The deaths were reportedly due to suffocation.
 
IANS
 
 
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Indian Air Force's MiG-21 crashes in Himachal Pradesh, pilot killed

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A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, killing the pilot, official sources said.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Defence said the aircraft crashed at 1321 hours.
 
"Squadron Leader Meet Kumar, a fully operational pilot had got airborne from Air Force Station Pathankot at 1220 h. The pilot sustained fatal injuries during the accident," the release said.
 
A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident, it added.
 
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Wanted Punjab criminal shot dead in Himachal

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Punjab Police on early Saturday shot dead a wanted criminal and arrested two of his accomplices in Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur district after a brief encounter, said a senior police officer.
 
The encounter took place in Naina Devi, famous for a hilltop Hindu shrine.
 
"A team of Punjab Police was chasing gangsters, who snatched a car from Sohana in Mohali (in Punjab). As the police signaled the criminals, one of them fired at them. The police retaliated and fired back. One of the criminals died in the process," Bilaspur Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar told IANS.
 
The dead criminal was identified as Sunny Masih of Gurdaspur in Punjab, he said. Two others -- Amanpreet and Goldy -- were arrested.
 
Two policemen also received gunshot injuries.
 
Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal and other senior police officials visited the encounter spot.
 
According to the police, several criminal cases have been registered against the criminals in Punjab. They belonged to Pathankot-based Jaggu gang.
 
The encounter spot, nearly 130 km from the state capital, is located close to Punjab.
 
IANS
 
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Minor tremor recorded in Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 32.8°N and longitude 76.0°E, occurred at 0127 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Shimla region of Himachal Pradesh

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Shimla region of Himachal Pradesh in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin rom the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 31.4°N and longitude 77.7°E, occurred at 0336 hours at a focal depth of 5 km.
 
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Seven killed in Himachal bus accident

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At least seven persons were killed and 20 injured when a Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus skidded off the road and rolled down a hill near Chhaila on Friday, the police said.
 
Most of the injured have been admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital here.
 
The bus was on its way to Tikkar from Shimla when the accident occurred on the Theog-Hatkoti road, 42 km from here.
 
Witnesses told the police the bus driver probably lost control over the vehicle when it was descending a steep gradient.
 
The administration had a tough time extricating the victims from the badly mangled wreckage after the people in the area launched the initial rescue bid.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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Construction banned, fest postponed in Shimla over water woes

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Acting tough over the acute shortage of portable water in the state capital for almost a week, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday suspended all construction activity for a week and said no water would be supplied through tankers to VIPs, including judges.
 
The much awaited five-day annual summer festival of dance and music here, set to begin on June 1, has also been postponed due to the water scarcity.
 
In a resumed hearing, a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol directed the state that all construction activity within the Shimla planning area will forthwith remain suspended for at least one week.
 
Thereafter, depending upon the prevalent situation, a committee will take an appropriate decision in this regard.
 
"An endeavour shall be made by the Chief Secretary to immediately approach the army authorities for diverting the water used for watering the golf course at Annadale as also the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, which has got huge water storage tanks, to meet emergent situation within the municipal limits of Shimla," said the bench, which a day earlier took suo motu cognizance of the acute shortage of water.
 
The bench was categorically clear in saying except under extreme emergency situations, no water through tankers shall be supplied to any individual, more so in a VIP area, be it the judges, ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats, police officers and commercial establishments.
 
However, this order would not include the residences and offices of the Governor and the Chief Minister, it added.
 
Listing the case for next hearing on Wednesday, the bench, also comprising Justice Ajay Mohan Goel, directed the Muncipal Commissioner to personally remain present in the court and file the compliance report.
 
During the hearing, the court was informed that Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhry was monitoring the situation on an hourly basis.
 
"As on date, approximately 18.5 million litres per day (MLD) of water is being received from all sources," said the government, adding measures for plugging the leakage of approximately 3.5 MLD water have been already taken.
 
Shimla's normal demand of water is 42 to 45 MLD, civic body officials told IANS.
 
They blame leaks in the distribution network, a significant portion of which came up in the British days, and diminishing water resources due to over-exploitation.
 
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While Shimla residents are grappling with water woes -- not exactly for the first time -- Mayor Kusum Sadrate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is helming the Municipal Corporation for the first time in three decades since June 2017, is away in China on an official tour.
 
Meanwhile, a scuffle was ensured when protesting Communist Party of India-Marxist activists were stopped by police from entering the office of the Municipal Corporation here.
 
They were raising slogans against the civic body and were demanding to meet the Deputy Mayor to lodge their protest over water shortage.
 
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who is also monitoring the situation, said 35 additional water takers have been deployed to supply water to those areas facing acute shortage.
 
"We are arranging transportation of water from nearby Solan and Bilaspur districts," he told reporters.
 
Even tourists are feeling the pinch.
 
"I reached my hotel this morning from Delhi and found that there was no water in the toilet. I was charged Rs 200 for a bucket of water," tourist Harpreet Ahuja told IANS, adding he cancelled his hotel booking and will be returning home.
 
Another tourist Vinod Yadav, who reached Shimla from Kalka in a toy train, said toilets in the train were stinking as there was no water.
 
He said even the toilets at the Shimla railway station were locked due to water shortage.
 
IANS
 
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Research in Horticulture & Forestry of special significance to farmers in mountainous regions: Kovind

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Research in horticulture and forestry has a special significance for farmers in mountainous regions such as in Himachal Pradesh and, over the past three decades, the Dr Y S Parmar University has contributed significantly to advancements in the field, President Ram Nath Kovind said today.
 
Addressing the 9th convocation of the University, the President noted that it has the distinction of being the first Horticultural University in Asia. He congratulated students of the University for choosing to pursue their education in the agricultural sector.
 
This sector, he is said, is associated with the prosperity of farmers, the rural community and the entire country. He said he considered each student and teacher of this University to be a technically-equipped friend and partner of the farmers of Himachal Pradesh as well as other parts of the country.
 
Mr Kovind said the goal of education should not be limited to simply getting a job. They can start their own enterprises by using their skills and learning. There is immense potential in the field of fruit and vegetable processing.
 
With their knowledge and enterprise, graduates of the University could help consumers in the country and abroad get better food products and help farmers get better value for their produce. 
 
He urged the students to take advantage of various schemes and initiatives of the Union and state governments to set up their businesses in the agriculture sector.
 
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14 killed in two road accidents in Himachal Pradesh

 
14 die in two road accidents in Himachal Pradesh
 
 
Fourteen people were killed and 15 injured in two separate road accidents in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla and Sirmaur districts on Sunday.
 
Eight people were killed and 15 injured when a bus skidded off the road and rolled down the hill in Sirmaur district.
 
The bus was on its way from Manva to Solan town when the accident occurred near the Nai Neti panchayat, around 25 km from Rajgarh town.
 
Most of the injured were admitted to the Regional Hospital in Solan.
 
Sirmaur Deputy Commissioner Lalit Jain told IANS the rescue operation was over. Most of the victims were from Rajgarh area. He said the cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained.
 
In another accident, all six occupants of a car were killed on the spot when it fell into a 300-foot deep gorge near Chhaila on the Theog-Hatkoti road, 42 km from Shimla.
 
Witnesses told police that the car driver probably lost control over the vehicle when it was descending a steep gradient.
 
The administration had a tough time extricating the victims of both the accidents from the badly mangled vehicles.
 
People in the area began rescue operations even before authorities reached the spot.
 
IANS
 
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Kasauli: Second firing victim succumbs to injuries

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Another victim of firing purportedly by a guest house owner during a demolition drive in the tourist resort Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh succumbed to his injuries on Sunday after battling for life for 12 days, police said.
 
Earlier, Assistant Town Planner Shaila Bala Sharma, 51, was shot dead by Narayani Guest House owner Vijay Singh during the demolition drive in Solan district.
 
Public Works Department employee Gulab Singh got bullet injuries when Vijay Singh fired at employees deployed to raze illegal constructions in the area on May 1.
 
He was referred to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh where he died.
 
The accused was arrested from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh two days after the crime. He is on police remand.
 
Vijay Singh fired at officials when they insisted on executing the apex court order to demolish illegal constructions at his guest house.
 
The apex court, which ordered the demolition of illegal constructions in 13 hotels and resorts in Kasauli area, took suo motu cognizance of the firing incident.
 
On May 9, the court asked the state government to provide it the names and designations of officers who were posted in Kasauli when unauthorized constructions were carried out.
 
A bench of Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta also sought a report from the state on specific steps taken to ensure that no uauthorized construction was being carried out in other parts of the state.
 
During the hearing, the bench told the Advocate General of Himachal Pradesh: "Unless you take action and remove four-five people from service, nothing will fall in line."
 
IANS
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