Shimla: Chief Secretary Srikant Baldi on Tuesday conveyed state’s anguish to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over two to three-year delays in granting its approvals to ‘muck dumping’ sites for key infrastructure and development projects.Baldi held the view that selection and approval of the muck dumping sites should be left to the state, and powers to approve such sites be delegated to the state. “This is a strange thing that it talks such a long to grant approvals to sites where muck/debris be dumped suitably. The MoEF must treat proper disposal of the muck by the state agencies as environmental service and give powers to the state to handle this issue,” he said. Baldi was speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day workshop of media professional, organised by Sunita Narain led Delhi-based environment organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to upgrade skills of journalists on the environment and climate change reporting from ‘Global hotspot’ Himachal Pradesh. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe Chief Secretary said the government was fully committed to environmental protection and has a series of path-breaking steps like a complete ban on plastic. The government ‘s resolve is to make Himachal Pradesh plastic-free in the next coming months. He also spoke about the excessive use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers, which are entering the food chain and resulting in new diseases. During the workshop Richard Mahapatra, a development journalist and Managing Director of “Down to Earth” said Himachal Pradesh, or even Himalayan region, was showing signs of climate change. There are more extreme weather conditions, droughts and desertification happening in the state, which going to be hard hit by climate change. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad”Kangra, for example, has not received its normal rainfall during the past 15 years. For the first time in higher hills, people are seeing nomads. The nomads are clueless, changing route and time evolved over a hundred years ago. Apples, of course, are now being produced at a higher level and farmers in lower altitude are opting other crops. Snowfall has drastically decreased in Himachal Pradesh and rain and hailstorms have increased over the last 25 years,” he explained.
Washington: Washington plunged into an impeachment crisis on Wednesday, as House Democrats opened an investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign season dealings with Ukraine. Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine’s president to look into Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to a rough transcript released by the White House. “Whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Trump said in the summer phone call. He was referring to Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement official. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportThe president’s words set the parameters of the political debate to come, with Trump dismissing it as routine and Democrats saying that it laid the predicate for an impeachment inquiry. The release came against the backdrop of Trump’s meetings with world leaders at the United Nations, a remarkable split screen even for the turbulence of the Trump era. On Trump’s schedule Wednesday: a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose contacts with Trump are now central to the impeachment inquiry. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, yielding to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats and plunging a deeply divided nation into an election year clash between Congress and the commander in chief. The probe injects deep uncertainty into the 2020 election campaign and tests anew the nation’s constitutional system of checks and balances. Trump, who thrives on combat, has all but dared Democrats to take this step, confident that the specter of impeachment led by the opposition party will bolster rather than diminish his political support. “There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have,” he tweeted Wednesday from New York. “The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another “President. Witch Hunt! While Pelosi’s announcement adds weight to the work being done on the oversight committees, the next steps are likely to resemble the past several months of hearings and legal battles except with the possibility of actual impeachment votes. Her brief statement, delivered without dramatic flourish but in the framework of a constitutional crisis, capped a frenetic weeklong stretch on Capitol Hill as details of a classified whistleblower complaint about Trump burst into the open and momentum shifted toward an impeachment probe.