02HP01A.qxd 10/1/2013 6:12 PM Page 1 c Shimla 25° 13° m b y VIGNETTES 3 Amazing facts about sincere, gentle, compassionate sheep HIMACHAL DIARY 4 Mega festival for folk dancers to showcase their talent The Tribune Himachal Plus Shimla Wednesday October 2 2013 Bats, monkeys, parakeets wreak havoc on crops www.tribuneindia.com Modi factor doesn't count in Himachal, says HPCC KULDEEP CHAUHAN/TNS MANDI/KULLU, OCTOBER 1 The invasion by “new vermin” parakeets and monkeys in the day time and bats at night of orchards and maize fields has virtually ruined the economy of farmers in the state. The damage to the fruit crop varies from 10-15 per cent, rue farmers, who do not know of any method to fight the new vermin. The parakeets' number has multiplied manifold for the past three years in the apple and maize belt. “Earlier, we had been battling hail storms, fungal and insect attacks in orchards. But now we are fighting a losing battle with parakeets and monkeys during daytime and bats at night time,” resent Tara Chand Thakur of Saterh Behal and Mehar Chand Thakur of Haripur, orchardists from the upper Kullu valley. “Our assessment is that more than 15 per cent crop is damaged by the threefold attacks of parakeets, bats and monkeys in Kullu district every year,” said Mahendra Upadhaya, president of the Kully Valley Growers’ Association. “The farmers have expressed concern that the number of bats and parakeets has multiplied alarmingly and it is difficult to save the crops from these HPCC general secretary Sunil Sharma greets party leaders and workers in Chamba. Photo by writer OUR CORRESPONDENT A bat trapped by a farmer in an orchard in Kullu. Photos by writer new rogues,” he says. The story of bat menace is no different in other parts of the apple belt, where the fruit bat menace is spreading all along the Pabbar valley in Rohroo and Jubbal and Chopal valleys, part of the upper Yamuna basin. “They come in thousands from the Tiuni side (Uttarakhan) and invade fruit crops during the night silently, wreaking havoc in orchards. We have made several pleas to to the Wild Life Department to contain the problem, but to no avail," says Laxman Thakur, president, Ecohorts, NandpurRuildhar, where bats have been invading orchards Continued on page 2 CHAMBA, OCTOBER 1 Parakeet-eaten fruit on apple trees in an orchard in Kullu. Congress has lost its right to stay in power: BJP TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE NAHAN, OCTOBER 1 Blaming the Congress government in the state for having failed in providing relief to the common man, Dr Rajiv Bindal, BJP MLA from Nahan and the party's general secretary, said the state government had failed to control the price rise and this was adversely affecting the common man. He said the Congress government had no right to stay in power as it was adding to the hardships of the common man. In a press note, Dr Bindal said the Congress was looting the public. He said an LPG cylinder, which was available at Rs 437 till last month, was now being sold at Rs 1,040. He said though Rs 435 as subsidy would be credited in the bank account of the consumer, a cylinder would cost Rs 605 and its price had been increased by Rs 168. He said the government had also added Value Added Tax of Rs 37 in the enhanced price thus burdening the common man. Dr Bindal said the move to increase the bus fares by 30 per cent would directly hit the poor passengers. He termed this as an act of dacoity. He said the woes of the common man did not end here as diesel, which was available at Rs 16 per litre during the Vajpayee regime, had gone up to Rs 53 per litre under the Manmohan Singh regime. He said every item, including education, travel, foodgrains,vegetables, milk and medicines had become costly thus making the life difficult. c m y b The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has claimed that the BJP leader Narendra Modi stands nowhere before the popularity of Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and the people of the state will see the Congress sweeping all four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal Pradesh in the coming general election scheduled for next year. Presiding over a meeting of party workers and leaders at Chamba last week, the HPCC general secretary, Sunil Sharma, who is also the in charge of Chamba district, claimed that the Modi factor could not breathe in Himachal as the Congress had gained in strength in the hands of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and HPCC president Thakur Sukhvinder Singh. "Becoming the Prime Minister of India is daydreaming by Narendra Modi," Sharma quipped. Sharma came down heavily on the previous BJP government in the state for its failure in fulfilling its promises and "misleading" the public about development. At the meeting, he reminded the party leaders, workers and the rank and file of the party of the strength of the Congress organisation and the policies of the government for the well being of the poor and the needy. This would help the Congress in winning the next Lok Sabha elections. He apprised the meeting of the HPCC president, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh, to strongly implement the policies announced by Rahul Gandhi. The party men should hold meetings in all blocks of the state which in turn will result in massive support to the Congress organisation. Regarding election strategy, Sharma directed the district and block presidents to divide Chamba district in five zones within 15 days and each zone must be having minimum 20 booths. Prominent among the leaders who addressed the meeting were former MP Choudhary Chander Kumar and HPCC vice-president Kewal Singh Pathania.
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