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Shimla: Nestled amidst quaint mountains with the mighty Dhauladhars range in its backdrop adding to its glory, the Bir-Billing area in Himachal Pradesh this weekend will have more to offer than just India’s first AAI Paragliding World Cup 2015.
Tourists and adventure lovers to the picturesque towns of Bir and Billing, where 130 paragliders from 35 countries will converge during October 23-31, will also savour a taste of Tibetan culture and get a chance to angle for fish, camp, trek and, of course, paraglide as a free-flyer.
“After seeing the inaugural flights, we will devote time for searching out Tibetan spiritual sustenance,” Abhishek Nayyar, a Chandigarh-based senior executive with a multinational company, told IANS.
He said after the opening day of the World Cup, he and his friends would spend time in nearby Tibetan monasteries and shop for handicrafts.
Mona Dhingra, a Delhi-based entrepreneur whose husband is a free-flyer, said it’s more than flying this weekend.
“We are planning to mix the long Dussehra weekend with leisure, flying and spiritualism,” she said.
Bir, the landing site that is also home to Tibetan refugees and Buddhist monasteries, and the take-off point of Billing are separated by 14 km in Kangra district, some 275 km from Chandigarh.
A French contingent with 13 pilots, including many who have won World Cups and Super Cups and have been ranked World No 1, will figure in the event, Sudhir Sharma, president of the Billing Paragliding Association, the club organising the event, told IANS. The French team also includes the current World No 1.
The paragliders also include about 12 women, including former World No 1 Klaudia Bulgakow of Poland, who also won the 2013 Pre-World Cup at Bir and Billing.
While the state government and the Billing Paragliding Association would jointly organise the event, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) would be the title sponsors.
Members of the hospitality industry are expecting record footfalls during the long weekend coinciding with the Paragliding World Cup.
But they admit that the spectators might face problems in getting suitable accommodation.
An extended weekend – Thursday (Dussehra), Saturday (Muharram) and Sunday of course – should see thousands of the tourists coming to watch the event and holiday in the nearby hills.
“Most of the guests coming for the paragliding event are showing interest in nearby tourist destinations like tea estates and temples, Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan establishments,” Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) officiating general manager Vijay Sharma told IANS.
Besides, tea estates of Palampur town, Kangra, Baijnath and Jwalaji are known for the prominent Hindu shrines. Most of these towns are within a 40-km radius of the World Cup.
McLeodganj, the uphill quaint town, has already gained prominence for attracting a steady stream of Tibet enthusiasts, Buddhist scholars, back-packers and even Hollywood stars like Richard Gere.
Also known as Little Lhasa, located just 50 kilometres from the World Cup spot, McLeodganj is known for its Tibetan artifacts and traditional recipes like Tibetan dumplings.
“We are expecting a good rush of tourists this weekend after T-20 between India and South Africa in Dharamsala on October 2,” said Pankaj Chadha, owner of the McLio restaurant in McLeodganj.
Organiser Sudhir Sharma said over 20,000 spectators and adventure lovers are expected to witness the World Cup.
According to him, accommodation for the pilots and visitors is at Bir and at Chowgan village, where there are hotels, besides which special luxury tents have also been put up.
Bir is a noted centre for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation.
Sharma said the visitors could also opt for home stay units.
How to travel to Bir-Billing: One of the best ways to reach Kangra is by a flight to the Gaggal airport. There are daily flights to Kangra, which is 40 km from Bir.
Other modes to reach the venue are by road and train. The nearest broad gauge railway station is at Pathankot, about 90 km from Kangra town.
Barot in Mandi district is a two-hour drive from Bir. It’s known for trout angling.
Palampur is 29 km from Bir and Baijnath is 13 km from Bir.
Bir-Billing is 499 km from Delhi.
Where to stay: Small hotels, guest houses, and even home stays with local people.
(By Vishal Gulati, IANS)
Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur at a total cost of Rs 301.92 crore, moving steadily towards its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. MCL has placed a turnkey order to set-up a 50 MW solar power plant with a Chennai-based firm M/s Hild Energy Ltd, which will establish this green energy project within a timeline of 10 months, the MCL said in a statement on Saturday.
This solar plant would cater to the captive power requirement of MCL. The Central PSU had successfully set-up a 2MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production.
The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024. | Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash
This 50 MW solar power project will reduce CO2 emission by 91,020 tonnes per annum and carbon offsets of around 24,824 tonnes per annum, claimed the MCL. MCL is the leading production subsidiary of Coal India, having mining operations in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts of Odisha. Having achieved the highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 2,419 crore in the financial year 2020-21, the company has coal production and dispatch targets of 163 million tonnes and 182 million tonnes, respectively.
MCL was the coal mining company to introduce environment-friendly surface miner technology, which contributes over 95 per cent in coal production. As another environment-friendly initiative, the company has successfully introduced vertical rippers for blast-less over-burden removal in Hingula and Kaniha opencast projects. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: solar plant, carbon neutrality, Odisha, Sambalpur, Coal India, subsidiary, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, solar energy
As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him. The actor took to his blog where he poured his heart out and also shared an unseen photo with his father. The image in question is from Big B's wedding in 1973, where the two are caught in a sweet moment as they look at each other.
Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog,
"My Father , my all .. November 27th his birth in the year 1907 .. Which makes it his 114th Anniversary .. He is in the heavens, with my Mother and they celebrate .. as do we , in thought word and deed .. (sic). But first."
He then posted the picture followed by elaborate paragraphs. The megastar wrote,
"Those rare moments when one would find himself rushing against the winds to prevent the distance between us and to close it down as soon as it can be. The day of my wedding and his expression of fulfilment to not just be in congratulation but instead to be in the face of a belief, a chime, an ultimate season of love and great passion, of the quarries of the fears and conditionings of these deprived gym routines kart ..(sic)". "This could have been unknown for long facilitating years, to give not expected versions and lastly large scale informations of the insides ; but as time passed by, as does now , they explained purposely, the values of education and similarity .. Be in peace and love .. (sic)",
the veteran actor concluded his note. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, actor, blog, birth anniversary, 114th birthday
By Plabita Sharma
The World Vegan month of November usually brings with itself an increased amount of dialogue and searches about Vegan lifestyle, sustainable living and clean beauty. Before pondering any further, it is important to understand what the Vegan lifestyle is and how it goes beyond the concept of consuming a plant-based diet. Veganism essentially is a lifestyle that is driven by compassionate choices and an increased awareness of one's actions on the world. Thus motivated by the two, a vegan individual usually carefully curates their day-to-day practices in a manner that does little to no- harm to the planet, the people and all of its inhabitants.
Beauty as industry has time and again been scrutinised for its effects on the consumers and the ecosystem - this can be during the manufacturing process or the effect it has on the consumer's thought processes. Now, as the world moves towards adopting Global Sustainability Goals, committing to a world that works with the natural resources instead of against them - it is only fair for each individual to be curious about making the right choices to make their beauty bag as consciously curated as possible. With multiple brands coming up with new standards of vegan and sustainable beauty, many consumers are left confused and doubting the authenticity of these claims. So here is a quick guide that can help you make the right choices:
Vegan and cruelty free labels: Keeping true to the traditional meaning of Vegan - any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. Similarly, cruelty-free as a label means that the ingredients or the final product did not test on animals or harm any animals during the production process. One way to test the authenticity is to check if these products are legally certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), or verified by Vegan organisations as The Vegan Society and others. Cruelty-free and vegan products are also generally categorized by having cleaner and gentler formulas as they are mostly deprived of harsh chemicals and solvents.
Any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. | Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash
Ethical and natural ingredients: It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. Since most vegan products tend to be plant derived it is of utmost value to ensure that while the source is nature, the impact of manufacturing is also minimal so that there is no harm done to the environment. Often the face scrubs used by us are most damaging not just to the face and to the marine life as well; thus opting for more natural ingredients rather than synthetic ones is quite beneficial. Some natural scrubbing ingredients are sugar, salt, coffee which are safe for the coral reefs and far gentler than synthetic scrubs.
It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Sustainable and ecofriendly packaging: While the ingredients and formulation can be certified, it is also important to pay attention the quality, material and nature of the packaging in which the product is being stored. With an increase in clean-beauty standards, the consumption of such products has also increased, thus giving brands the opportunity to further develop their packaging in a manner that is sustainable and its increased quantity does not harm the environment. This could translate into using raw materials that are recycled and can be renewed or even introducing the concept of up-cycling the product packaging for decoration or storage purposes. Fore example, The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic that can further be recycled thus continuing the recycling system. Their makeup brushes also have wooden handles instead of plastic ones this adds to their classy appearance and use of ecofriendly material.
The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic. | Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash
The above is a small snippet in a long list of things that can help contribute to a cleaner and more consciously lifestyle. Where demand increase, supply follows - as people begin to demand ethical, responsible production and products, more and more brands have begun to deliver. Household names such as The Body Shop have pioneered conversations on clean, green and sustainable beauty for decades - thus making them a frontrunner for several old time vegan people.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Beauty, makeup, clean, November, World Vegan month, New Standards , Vegan, Conscious