Catch all the recent news in the Himalayan region with our weekly newsletter (4 May to 10 May), A week in the Himalayas. We bring you the recent updates on mountains, northeast, environment and much more!

Shimla witnesses a decrease in air pollution

The ambient air quality of Shimla, the ‘Queen of Hills’, marked improvement amidst the COVID-19 lockdown period. The respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level in the capital city of Himachal Pradesh plummeted by over 74 per cent during this period as compared to that in the summer season of 2019, which further peaked in June 2019. The pollution levels have decreased significantly due to a steep decline in construction activities, fewer vehicular movements and decreased forest fires that otherwise caused the air to pollute.

New Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route inaugurated, will make the commute easy

The Border Road Organization (BRO) connected road from Dharchula to Lipulekh, creating a stretch of 80 Kms at an altitude of ranging from 6,000 feet to 17,060 feet. The new road route will cut down the yatra route for pilgrims to three weeks to one week. The route was inaugurated by Rajnath Singh, Union Defense Minister through an online video.

“The construction of the road was a challenging task due to factors such as heavy snow, high altitude and an annual working season of just five months,” told BRO chief Lieutenant General Harpal Singh to HT.

WII report on Etalin Hydro Project in Dibang shows biasness and incomplete in nature, says peer review

24 scientists from 14 scientific institutions in India have heavily criticized the WII’s report on Etalin Hydro Project in Dibang, Arunachal Pradesh. 58-page peer review document class the WII’s report biased and incomplete. The review further stated that the report does not highlight the true picture of biodiversity prevailing in the region. As per a report by HT, the review says that the real impact of the project on the ecology has not disclosed clearly. The 24 scientists who have studied Dibang Valley closely specialize in different areas and include botanists, ornithologists, mammalogists, entomologists, social scientists and others.

Uttarakhand registers 94% drop in forest fire incidents during the season; Bollywood dialogues to rescue the forests 

The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand has registered a massive decline in the rate of forest fire incidents recorded for this year’s forest fire season which began from 15 Feb 2020. For last 83 days, only 18 fire incidents have been recorded, damaging around 11 hectares of green forest. As compared to last year’s figures, 298 incidents were reported in the state, damaging around 351 hectares of forest. Government officials have cited the frequent showers and hailstorms as major factors that have aided the efforts of the forest department in keeping jungles fire-free. However, the department continues to be on the alert mode and make necessary arrangements.

Not only this, the state’s forest department recently made to the headlines for introducing quirky and humorous movie lines for sensitizing the local communities on forest fires. The Rudraprayag forest division under the leadership of Vaibhav Kumar (IFS), Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) found out some of the most popular dialogues of Bollywood movies and designed posters around them. Dialogues from Sholay, Dabangg and Nana Patekar’s Krantiveer were shortlisted and catchy handouts were designed by the department. The news quickly made to the national headlines. The objective was aimed at making local communities aware and sensitize them towards the issue of forest fire.

Jammu and Kashmir government declares the whole of Kashmir valley and three districts of Jammu as red zones 

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has declared the entire Kashmir valley and three districts of Jammu as “red zone”. The decision was based on overall assessment of the coronavirus situation and the expected movement of stranded persons to the Union Territory. As per the order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the entire Kashmir valley, comprising of ten districts, has been classified as red zones. In Jammu region, three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua are declared red zones.

Arunachal Pradesh to test every person entering the state

The state government has decided to conduct RT-PCR test on every person entering the state. As per the SoP developed by the administration, even asymptomatic persons will also undergo go the testing process. Tests for such persons will undertake after 3 days of institutional quarantine. If the sample is tested negative, person will undergo a mandatory 14 day home quarantine after signing an undertaking, which will be countersigned by the Magistrate on duty and a legal guardian as a witness. The positive cases will be dealt as per the severity of the cases and protocols established by the state in the dedicated COVID-19 health care facilities.

(By: Gautam Kumar)

 

 

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