Vikas Sharma / Chandigarh October 20, 2008, 0:25 IST

DATE LINE: HIMACHAL PRADESH A daily newsletter from the statesThe new education destination Himachal Pradesh has recently sanctioned three new medical colleges, and two others are in the pipeline. Moreover, the state Government is considering approval of four private universities, a Central university, an IIT, and a host of private nursing institutions. These additional institutions will complement the existing network of engineering and dental colleges, institutions of higher education and a leading IT university.

The state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau seized a seven-foot-long leopard skin and arrested three persons at a naka near Yol bridge last night. Those arrested were Kapil Dev, Rakesh Kumar and Mandeep Choudhary of Baldhar. A case has been registered under Section 51 (1) A of the Wildlife Protection Act, Section 34 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. The cost of the seized skin was estimates to be around Rs 5 lakh in the international market.

The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) is in the dock again over the completion of 12-MW Khauli hydel project in Kangra district, completed at an estimated cost of Rs 126 crore. The per MW generation cost of the project is about Rs 10.50 crore as against Rs 10.20 crore on the 126-MW Larji project, which was until now considered the costliest hydel project in the country.

Over 50,000 residents of Palampur and adjoining areas are being forced to consume muddy and contaminated drinking water as the water treatment plants of the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department have virtually become non-functional. Though the state government had spent crores of rupees on the water treatment plants installed at Bundla village near the town but it hardly functions to the satisfaction of the residents, who have to consume contaminated and muddy water which carries mud insects and other foreign material. Many residents said when it rained the water treatment plant stops functioning and muddy and contaminated water was supplied to them. Officials of the IPH Department blame the power company which is executing a hydel project near the town to have damaged the drinking water sources by reckless cutting of hills and the entire silt and mud flow to the water reservoirs. The water tanks of the IPH Department are in a bad shape. There is no regular cleaning of these tanks. Most of the water tanks were full of mud, leaves and insects. In absence of the boundary wall stray animals freely enter inside the water treatment plant complex. These animals could fall in the water tanks any time. The officials of the IPH Department were unconcerned with the situation, it seems that no official had ever visited these water tanks. Official sources revealed that the state government had spent over Rs 3 crore on water treatment system installed for the town recently, but in the absence of proper maintenance and repair the plant was not functioning to the satisfaction of the consumers.

Book>> the kuhls of kangra

Charcoal is perhaps the best example of biochar. Considering the interest that has been generated by Jha et al. many readers would be interested in knowing how actually charcoal is made. During one of our recent field surveys to Kasera locality in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh, (Correspondence)

The government has decided to cancel seven small hydroelectric projects allotted to independent power producers (IPPs), who had failed to start work in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in the memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

The state mining department has ordered the closure of 120 mines and 115 stone crushers in the wake of the high court verdict which held that such activity could not be allowed on shamlat land.

Wanted: a fresh approach to forest conservation