5 hikers found dead in Kinnaur; 4 still missing, two saved

Five of the 11 missing hikers, who started their expedition from Uttarakhand, were found dead Thursday in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, a senior official said, adding that the bodies were recovered by challenge teams led by the army and the ITBP.

Four hikers are still missing, while two, including a guide, were rescued, Kinnaur deputy commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq said.

A team of 17 hikers left Harsil in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district for Chitkul in Kinnaur on October 11. On Wednesday evening, six of them reached Kinnaur and informed the administration that several more got stuck in the snow at Lamkhaga Pass during bad weather.

Lamkhaga Pass, located at an elevation of 20,000 feet above sea level, is one of the most difficult passes that connects Kinnaur to Uttarkashi.

Sadiq said the military and ITBP launched a rescue operation Thursday morning and recovered the bodies of five hikers in the snow at various locations. The bodies will be airlifted to Uttarkashi on Friday, he added.

Of the two hikers who were rescued, one is said to be in very critical condition, he said. , adding A hiker and guide were rescued. The hiker was taken to Uttarakashi by a helicopter, while the guide is with army soldiers and he too will be airlifted to Uttarakhand on Friday, he added.

The rescue operation had to be suspended due to bad weather at 2 p.m. Thursday, the official said, adding that it would resume at 6:30 a.m. on Friday.

According to reports, a team of eight hikers from West Bengal, one from Delhi and three cooks set out from Harsil on October 11 via a trekking agency. They had obtained an interior line permit from the Uttarkashi Forest Department from October 13 to 21.

Team members have been identified as Anita Rawat (38) from Delhi, and Mithun Dari (31), Tanmay Tiwari (30), Vikash Makal (33) Saurav Ghosh (34) Saviayan Das (28), Richard Mandal ( 30) and Suken Manjhi (43), all from Calcutta. The kitchen staff have been identified as Devendra (37), Gyan Chandra (33) and Upendra (32), all from Purola to Uttarkashi.

SDPO Bhavnagar Raju said the rescue team had yet to identify the bodies.

Himachal schools will reopen for grades 9 to 12 from Monday

Himachal Pradesh schools for grades 9 to 12 will reopen from September 27, the state cabinet ruled on Friday.

While students in classes 10 and 12 will go to school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, students in classes 9 and 11 will go to school on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Online courses and exams for classes up to Standard 8 would continue.

The Cabinet also decided to create and fill 8,000 multi-skilled worker positions in educational institutions under the higher and elementary departments, in accordance with the provisions of the part-time multi-skilled worker policy 2020. In accordance with the policy, these multi-skilled workers would be provided. a consolidated fee of 5,625 rupees per month for 10 months during an academic year.

Cabinet has agreed to change the transfer policy for the inter-district transfer of JBT and C&V teachers to the state by reducing the current term from 13 years to 5 years, including the term of the contract, for the transfer to another district and also increase the existing quota duration from 3 percent to 5 percent.

It also decided to increase the fees of IT teachers outsourced to various educational institutions in the state by Rs 500 per month from April 1, 2021.

Approval has also been given to open a new Ayurvedic health center in Chhiyal village in gram panchayat Nasogi in Manali tehsil of Kullu district.

The Cabinet also gave its approval to rename Forest Training Institute and Rangers College Sundernagar to Himachal Pradesh Forest Academy.

In order to encourage the creation of large anchor units with significant investments in the state, the Cabinet agreed to draft a customized package proposal for incentives for mega industrial projects in the state under Himachal Pradesh Industrial Investment Policy and Rules, 2019.

Himachal Agricultural University seeks GI label for Japonica red rice

Himachal Agricultural University has submitted an application for GI (Geographical Indication) registration of Japonica red rice to the Geographical Indications Registration Office, Chennai.

Professor HK Chaudhary, vice-chancellor of Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar HP University of Agriculture, Palampur, said the university is also working on three projects related to GI tagging, including red rice, Karsog Kulthi and Chamba Chukh.

University scientists have been asked to file at least 50 GI registration applications in this Golden Jubilee year of Himachal State. After getting a GI label, farmers get national and international recognition for that particular crop or product, which helps them get a better price, which benefits them financially.

Elaborating on red rice, the VC said it was one of Himachal’s many treasures. The varieties of red rice include Chhohartu from Shimla district, Sukara, Jhinjan and Karad from Chamba district, Jattu, Deval and Matali from Kullu district, and Desi Dhan, Kalizhini, Achhoo and Begmi from Kangra district cultivated in different parts of the state at different altitudes since time immemorial.

Red grain rice costs more, is nutritionally superior being rich in iron and zinc and many trace elements and vitamins, and additionally has high antioxidant properties. These varieties of red rice belong to both indica and japonica subspecies.

Professor HK Chaudhary said that unlike red rice from Kerala and other states, HP’s red rice is suitable for cooler climates. In view of this, the university is working to obtain a GI for Japonica red rice.

Red rice is also an important part of all religious ceremonies in Himachal Pradesh. Chhohartu, a variety of red rice cultivated in the Chhohara Valley, Rohru (Shimla) is part of the cultural heritage of the region. Since time immemorial, paddy of this variety has been offered under different names on various occasions like weddings, religious ceremonies, child births, etc. Rice of this variety is served at community lunches and yajnas. The Pichh, excess water of thick consistency decanted after cooking the rice, of this Red Rice is considered very useful for pregnant women and children. Red rice is also used to make drinks in many parts of the state.

The university has formed working groups for the registration of geographical indications of different cultures, animal genetic resources and commodities of Himachal Pradesh.