Gaurav Bisht

Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

Articles by Gaurav Bisht

One year in power: Sukhu-led Congress govt in HP fights financial challenges

Implementing old pension scheme (OPS) and real-time relief to the flood-affected population were the highlights of chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu’s first year in office.

The Congress rode to power by winning 40 of the 68 assembly segments on the back of 10 public guarantees. Barring the restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS), its promises, including five lakh jobs, 300 units of free electricity and <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,500 monthly allowance for women, are still a work in progress. (HT file photo)
Published on Dec 11, 2023 03:55 PM IST

Kangra airport expansion faces setback as feasibility report rejected

The report, which estimated the project cost at over ₹10,000 crores, was found to have numerous flaws, prompting the department to request a re-evaluation

The project aims at expanding the runaway across the Majhi Khad, necessitating additional funds and escalating the overall project cost. (HT)
Published on Dec 09, 2023 10:45 PM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal govt urges governor to allow farming in districts bordering China

To counter China’s bid to develop its border areas, the Himachal Pradesh government has sought permission from the governor under the Forest Conversation Act (FCA) for starting agricultural activities in Kalpa and Pooh sub divisions.

Chitkul village in the Spiti valley of Lahaul and Spiti district, bordering China. The Himachal Pradesh government is keen to start agrarian activities in the border districts to counter China’s move of populating areas on its side. (HT file photo)
Published on Dec 06, 2023 04:21 PM IST

Snowfall boosts disaster-hit tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh

From Shimla to Kullu-Manali, Dalhousie to Kinnaur, the phone lines of tourist places in Himachal Pradesh are buzzing with inquiries

The snow-covered Keylong bus stand in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. (HT Photo)
Published on Dec 03, 2023 10:34 PM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal crypto scam: Probe finds funds came back to India through hawala network

The first chargesheet in the case, that has been submitted to the prosecution department for sanction, names Hemraj, Sukhdev and Abhishek as the main accused

In offences except for those punishable with life imprisonment or death penalty, a chargesheet has to be filed within 60 days (iSTock)
Updated on Nov 30, 2023 06:10 AM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal govt unlocks temples’ treasure trove

The Himachal Pradesh government has revamped rules governing the use of precious metals stored in temples under its control, unlocking over 600 kg of gold and 235 quintals of silver.

Chintpurni temple also known as Chhinmastika Dham in Una district has become first temple in Himachal to offer paid darshan. The scheme named ‘Sugam Darshan’ is aimed at earning more resources which can be used for development and other purposes. (HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 29, 2023 05:20 AM IST
By, Shimla

Probe into Himachal staff selection paper leak case in final stage

Examination results for 22 of the 38 cases in the paper leak investigation at the state forensic lab in Junga have been completed and reports have been despatched. Sixteen cases are under “active investigation” at the Mandi laboratory.

The Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission office in Hamirpur. (HT file photo)
Published on Nov 27, 2023 03:35 PM IST

Drug regulator flags quality issues, shoots off notices to 19 firms in HP

Twenty four medicines from 19 Himachal-based industries fail to meet standards; tainted drugs are used for critical health conditions, including fungal infections, cancer, type 2 diabetes, bacterial infections

Drug regulator flags quality issues, shoots off notices to 19 firms in HP (Shutterstock)
Updated on Nov 22, 2023 05:00 AM IST
By, Shimla

3 months on, Himachal mulls lifting ban on mining in Beas river

Decision likely to be taken during the cabinet meeting scheduled for November 18; government had banned mining activities in August after unprecedented floods

The ban was enforced in August in the aftermath of severe flooding that wreaked havoc in Kullu and Mandi districts during the unprecedented monsoon rains in the state that triggered landslides (HT File Photo)
Updated on Nov 16, 2023 06:52 AM IST
By, Shimla

Japanese tech set to transform trout fish farming in Himachal

Through the use of Japanese tach, fish production is expected to increase fourfold while conserving water and space

The trout fish farm at Patlikuhal in Kullu which is run by the department of fisheries (Aqil Khan/HT)
Updated on Nov 12, 2023 05:30 AM IST
By, Shimla

In a green push, govt officials in HP to get electric vehicles

The state finance department has asked all the departments concerned to submit a list of required vehicles in order to prepare a budget

Himachal Pradesh government has prepared a draft notification mandating the use of electric vehicles by all its officials (HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 11, 2023 05:02 AM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal cryptocurrency scam: Meerut engineer made website, was trained in Dubai

Police said that the engineer, who is now believed to be one of the masterminds of the scam, also made several trips to Dubai and was trained there

According to police, people from different walks of life invested more than <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,500 crore in the elaborate ponzi scheme (iStock)
Updated on Nov 07, 2023 05:22 AM IST
By, Shimla

ED probing role of five women in Himachal crypto-currency fraud

Police suspect women, one of who is from Punjab’s Zirakpur town, may have worked as agents of absconding prime accused

The Himachal Pradesh Police said on Friday that the special investigation team probing the <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,300-crore crypto-currency scam has zeroed in on the role of five women who are suspected to have worked as agents of the absconding main accused. (Representational photo)
Published on Nov 03, 2023 05:09 PM IST

Warm winters, haphazard rain bite into Himachal’s apple production

Apple needs about 200-300 chilling hours before the flowering stage. But due to lack of snow, especially in low-altitude areas of Himachal, chilling hours were not completed. In the month of February when the crop needed a good snow, the state experienced a drought-like situation. Unusually warm winters and a haphazard rain pattern have brought down Himachal’s apple production this year.

Unusually warm winters and a haphazard rain pattern have brought down Himachal’s apple production this year. Only about 1.77 crore apple boxes have reached the markets this year as compared to 3.36 crore boxes last year, data from the state agriculture department revealed. (HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 03, 2023 07:24 AM IST
By, Shimla

After flood fury, HP seeks 2,500 crore for channelisation of rivers

These include a total of 11 projects covering 5,929 hectares of land and benefitting an estimated population of 1,79,572 in seven districts

After flood fury, HP seeks <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,500 crore for channelisation of rivers
Updated on Nov 02, 2023 06:32 AM IST
By, Shimla

Low visitor count in festive season leaves HP tourism industry in a fix

Hotel occupancy, which climbed to nearly 90% in June, plummeted to less than 20% during the festive season, dealing a big blow to the tourism industry

Low visitor count in festive season leaves HP tourism industry in a fix
Updated on Oct 31, 2023 11:30 PM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal govt halts BJP’s flagship natural farming scheme

Acharya Devvrat, the then governor of Himachal, who is now the governor of Gujarat, was the driving force behind Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan Yojana

State agriculture minister Chander Kumar said the government employees will be transferred to other departments and the outsourced staffers will be terminated (HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 31, 2023 05:40 AM IST
By, Shimla

Centre turns off tap on Himachal’s water cess plan to generate revenue

Union energy ministry’s letter reiterates that additional charges and duties cannot be imposed on electricity production as such fee on power generation falls outside the purview of the states.

In a letter to all state chief secretaries on October 25, the Union energy ministry reiterated that no state has the authority to impose water cess. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 30, 2023 02:04 PM IST

Timings of special Kalka-Shimla train hassle passengers

The Himalayan Queen toy train on the Kalka-Shimla track has been halted for 2 months, with the special train set to replace it for the period

he special train departs from Kalka at 11.55am, leaving travellers on the Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Kalka that arrives at 11.40am with hardly any time to catch it. (HT File)
Published on Oct 21, 2023 10:16 PM IST
By, Shimla

Zila parishad staffers continue ‘pen-down’ strike in Himachal

Rural development minister Anirudh Singh asserted that the principle of “no work, no pay” will continue to apply until they return to work

Himachal rural development minister Anirudh Singh. (HT File)
Updated on Oct 21, 2023 05:26 AM IST
By, Shimla

20 IAS, 10 IPS officers from Himachal to go on election duty

The Election Commission of India has summoned these officers with deployment dates staggered over the next three to four days

Key officials, including Priyatu Mandal and C Palrasu, have been assigned on election duties (HT File)
Updated on Oct 21, 2023 05:16 AM IST
By, Shimla

How thousands of investors in Himachal lost crores of rupees in crypto scam

As the SIT constituted by the state police dug deeper, the scam is estimated to be worth ₹2,000 crore. The SIT is now seeking help from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the ministry of finance and income tax department to ascertain the trail of financial transactions and the assets accumulated by the accused. It also is trying to get help from other agencies like SEBI and RBI.

Over a span of five years, starting in 2018, fraudsters operating in Himachal Pradesh reportedly scammed numerous cryptocurrency investors of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>400 crore, initial police investigation suggested. This coincided with a surge in the crypto market. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. (REUTERS File Photo/Representational image)
Updated on Oct 20, 2023 08:18 AM IST
By, Shimla

ED seeks info of 21 suspects in cryptocurrency fraud case from Mandi police

As the investigation progressed, police officials said that the scale of the fraud could potentially reach ₹1,000 crore

The accused individuals hailed from various locations, including Punjab’s Zirakpur, Hamirpur, Una and Baddi in Himachal. (iStock)
Updated on Oct 18, 2023 07:00 AM IST
By, Shimla

Amid festivities, HRTC staffers await September salaries

According to reports, the biggest transport provider in Himachal Pradesh has accumulated losses of over ₹1,500 crore

The state government owes <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>63 crore to the HRTC in salaries and pensions. (HT Photo)
Published on Oct 16, 2023 10:36 PM IST
By, Shimla

Kiratpur-Manali project deadline pushed by two years

Heavy monsoon rains and resultant landslides had severely damaged 20km stretch of the four-lane project

The highway between Mandi and Manali has suffered severe damage following Beas floods on July 9 and 10 and then more floods on August 14 and 15. (HT File Photo)
Updated on Oct 15, 2023 05:02 AM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal govt to raise 1,000-crore loan ahead of Diwali

According to the schedule, the Reserve Bank of India is set to raise ₹1,000 crore through an open auction on October 17 with the funds expected to be transferred to the state government’s account on October 18

Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu during an SDMA event in Shimla on Friday. (HT Photo)
Published on Oct 13, 2023 10:32 PM IST
By, Shimla

Himachal crypto fraud: SIT likely to release names of police personnel linked to scam soon

Sources said that the special investigation team (SIT) that is probing the fraud may release a list of officers linked to the case in the near future

Himachal police DGP Sanjay Kundu (HT File)
Updated on Oct 13, 2023 06:58 AM IST
By, Shimla

Stalemate prevails as SJVNL, HP govt talks on concessions fail

The meeting took place in Delhi and was attended by state government officials, including energy secretary Rajeev Sharma and director of energy Hari Kesh Meena

Sources said that the next steps will be determined after the hearing in the HC scheduled for November 6th. (HT File Photo)
Updated on Oct 11, 2023 05:10 AM IST
By, Shimla

Now, Punjab taxi operators up in arms against HP entry tax

The state government has now made it mandatory for the tourist buses to pay between ₹3,000 and ₹6,000 for 13 to 32 seaters vehicles, irrespective of them having an all-India permit or not

The tourism industry in Himachal is suffering a severe blow as most tour and travel agents from Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal are refraining from booking trips to the state due to the additional taxes being levied by the government. (HT File Photo)
Published on Oct 09, 2023 10:46 PM IST
By, Shimla

Speed of trains on Kalka-Shimla track to go up, trials on

Currently, trains on this iconic route chug along at a leisurely 22 km/hour, but this is about to change, with the speed expected to cross 25 km/hour, cutting the travel time by 45 minutes to one hour

Currently, the journey takes about six hours. (HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 08, 2023 07:32 AM IST
By, Shimla
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