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Himachal landslide: Punjab sends rescue team to evacuate pilgrims

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Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Tuesday dispatched a rescue team to help pilgrims stranded in the landslide-hit Sikh shrine of Manikaran Sahib in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district.

Seven people were killed and 11 injured in the landslide that hit the gurdwara complex on Tuesday. All the victims were from Rogla Tarwa Mandi village in Punjab’s Sangrur district.

Two seriously injured people were referred to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here for treatment.

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Reports reaching the Punjab government here suggested that more people could be trapped due to the landslide.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal expressed shock over the tragic incident.

He announced a grant of Rs.1 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs.25,000 for the seriously injured. He said the entire expenditure for the treatment of the injured would be borne by the state government.

Badal also spoke to his Himachal Pradesh counterpart Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday evening and assured him of immediate help from his government in rescue operations.

Shiromani Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has directed Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh to immediately send a team to assess the damage caused to the gurdwara complex for undertaking repair and reconstruction of the damaged portion expeditiously, a state government spokesman said here.

“The SGPC would also ensure langar (community kitchen) at the shrine for the pilgrims, which has been badly disrupted due to this incident,” the spokesman said.

The special rescue team sent to the shrine is led by Punjab special secretary-revenue Dilraj Singh and Inspector General of Police Gautam Cheema.

The team includes officers of civil and police administration, besides doctors and para-medical staff.

(IANS)

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Concerned Over The Rise of Drug Usage In The State: Himachal Governor

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair.

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There are countless mothers who have been constantly tormented by drug-dependent adolescent children. Pixabay

Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace.

“Effective steps have been taken by the government and police administration, but we all need to work together in this direction,” he said at the inauguration of the centuries-old Lavi Fair in Rampur town, which was once a centre of barter trade with Tibet.

He called upon the people to promote natural farming. The state government has made a provision of Rs 25 crore to promote natural or organic farming to produce chemical-free food.

The 400-year-old Lavi Fair has undergone a sea change with the rural folk’s changing lifestyles and aspirations, resulting in a greater sale of gadgets and automobiles than traditional items such as farm implements, livestock and dry fruits.

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‘The traders from across the border have stopped coming’ Pixabay

The fair dates back to the time when Raja Kehari Singh of Rampur Bushahr state signed a treaty to promote trade with Tibet.

Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan, Tibet and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

“People have stopped buying farm implements, horses and sheep. Now, they prefer to shop luxury goods like television sets and automobiles,” trader Ishwar Goyal told IANS.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding session of the fair on November 14.

Another trader Deepak Negi said Rampur was a centre of trade before the 1962 India-China war.

The traders from Tibet used to bring raw wool, butter, herbs and leather products and bartered them for wheat, rice, farm implements and livestock.

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Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan. Pixabay

“Now, the traders from across the border have stopped coming. Indian multinational companies come here to sell their products. The fair has largely lost its relevance,” he added.

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair. The main attraction during the exhibition were the Chamurthi horses – an endangered species known as the ‘Ship Of the Cold Desert’. Being a surefooted animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas.

Also Read: Quitting Junk Food May Cause You to Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Similar to Drug Addition

The Chamurthi horse traces its origin to the Tibet region. In India, it’s bred in the villages of Himachal Pradesh bordering China.

The fair sees several folk artistes from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh perform. (IANS)