Catch all the recent news in the Himalayan region with our weekly newsletter (25 May to 31 May), A week in the Himalayas. We bring you the recent updates on mountains, northeast, environment and much more!

Assam floods: 3.72 lakh people affected, 348 villages under water

Floods in Assam have affected 11 districts of the state and around 3.72 lakh people. So far, state has registered six deaths due to the floods, as reported by the Assam Disaster Management Authority. Close to 27000 ha of crops have been damaged due to the natural calamity. At several places, infrastructure like bridges, tunnels, embankments etc. have been reported to be damaged. State’s Kopili river was noted to be flowing above the danger mark at Kampur and Dharamtul.

The center has increased the State Disaster Response Force funds for Assam to Rs. 772 crore.

Unlock 1: India relaxes lockdown norms

The guidelines dated 30 May, 2020 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs extends the lockdown until June 30 in containment zones. These containment zones will be demarcated by states, depending upon the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in an area. For areas outside of containment zones, there will be lifting of the lockdown in a phased manner. The night curfew shall continue to remain in place it will now be observed from 9 pm to 5 am.

Malls, hotels, and restaurants, and religious places such as temples, mosques, and churches will reopen from June 8. Schools, colleges, coaching institutes, and other educational institutions will open in July, after due consultations with parents and other stakeholders.

Hill stations heat up in Himachal

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has reported that with the beginning summers, popular hill stations in Himachal have recorded a two-degree Celsius increase in their maximum temperatures. The maximum temperatures are likely to increase in the coming days and may touch 40°C in the lower hills of the state. At 42.8°C, Una (a mix of plain and hilly areas) recorded the maximum temperature in the state.

Water quality of rivers improve in Shillong

As the people of Meghalaya reconcile with the torrid times of the lockdown, the polluted rivers in the State are getting a much-needed reprieve from effluents. Going by the findings of the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB), the water quality level in the main rivers showed an overall improvement of 52%. Most inspiring is the April 2020 assessment on the two most polluted rivers that run through the heart of Shillong city, Umkhrah and Umsyrpi Rivers. The scientific assessment indicated that the quality of water in both rivers has drastically improved by 58% and 38% respectively.

No mid-day meal in Uttarakhand for the past two months, reveals RTI

RTI documents accessed by The Wire, a digital news publication, revealed that the Uttarakhand government has not provided food under the mid-day meal scheme to around 1.38 lakh children during the last two months amidst the lockdown and the health crisis. In other words, one out of five children in the state has not been able to receive the benefits of the mid-day meal scheme during this period. It has been further claimed that the state government provided rations to children only on 48 out of 66 working days between March 13 to May 17, 2020.

Dibang hydropower project: WII’s conservation plan gets slammed by expert

A group of experts has panned a ‘flawed’ conservation plan by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) that could pave the way for a mega hydroelectric project in an ecologically fragile part of Arunachal Pradesh, Diban Valley district. The flaws include overlooking several endemic species of flora and fauna, reporting animals that are not found in Asia and ignoring the WII’s own report on the existence of the Royal Bengal tiger in Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh.

It has been previously reported that The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry on April 23 has already accepted the WII Wildlife Conservation Plan for the Etalin Hydroelectric Project.

(By: Gautam Kumar)

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