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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

Dehradun Weekly Wishes Happy New Year 2012 to all our Readers!

Three girls enjoy the last day of 2011 at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun on Saturday
Three girls enjoy the last day of 2011 at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun on Saturday. 

Fighting for survival of state bird Monal

Dehradun, December 31
Ram Babu “Jungli”, environmentalist, is perturbed about the survival of state bird, the endangered Monal. Having barely convalesced from a strong stroke of pneumonia, which rendered his lungs severely affected for life, Ram Babu has not lost much time in embarking upon his campaign to save environment and wild species dependent on it.
Constantly perspiring, the visibly weak Ram Babu presents a demonstration of the sounds of Monal bird and other animals in different situations before mediapersons in the city to send across his message regarding the bird. The name “Junglee” was bestowed upon him by people recognising his passion for jungles and nature at large.
It was after he stirred a campaign to save the Ganges at Srinagar in the state recently and involved people of civil society in fishing out 400 ton of filth out of it, he became critically ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia. His illness was well covered in the dailies and he was visited by people of power galleries and provided with proper medication. But his actual hurt lies somewhere else.
“Principle Forest Conservator RBS Rawat visited me in the hospital and appreciated my efforts in spreading awareness about flora and fauna in villages but neither he nor the state government fulfiled my earnest desire to let me a stay in one of the forest areas, like other forest employees. I can pump in sense among people against causing fire in the forest area. I can also help forest officials in apprehending poachers,” he stated.
He bares his anger against people encroaching upon the territory of wild animals. “It is not elephants but people who are responsible for impinging upon their area and curtailing their sources of food,” he said.
He expressed dissatisfaction in being invited only once in a year by the Forest Department to sensitise people before the forest cover becomes vulnerable to natural and deliberate cause of fire.
After having run from his home in Balaganj village in Kotdwar for penury at the tender age of 6 and staying with Gujjar community in Chilla and the Corbett forest ranges for 18 years, he saw the wildlife from close and learnt the language of birds and animals.
Later he came back to his family, but his love for nature had not diminished even a bit. He had been using his skill to make sounds of animals and birds and earning money by holding such shows at various platforms. But this certainly is not a constant source of livelihood. “I don’t always get shows to perform. I remain worried about the expenses regarding my travels. I would welcome if NGOs related to environment could support me financially. I can also reciprocate the same in their activities,” he added.

Governor, CM greet people on New Year’s Eve

Dehradun, December 31
State Governor Margaret Alva and Chief Minister BC Khanduri have greeted the people of the state on the New Year’s eve. “As 2012 arrives, I wish the people of Uttarakhand a New Year of peace and prosperity,” Alva said in her message on the occasion.
“We need to make the necessary corrections to ensure better future of the nation,” she said. She said she hoped that the coming elections in the state would be peaceful and orderly and voters would exercise their constitutional duty to vote.
Khanduri also wished all success and prosperity to the people of the state on the occasion.

Gurpurb celebrated with fervour

Dehradun, December 31
The birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated with religious fervour here today. Thousands of devotees paid obeisance at Gurdwara Gobindgarh here. A diwan was organised at Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara at Arhat Bazar where ragi Baldev Singh recited ‘Asa Di War’ while students of Sri Hari Krishan Public School recited shabads.
The contribution of Guru Gobind Singh in sacrificing his entire family in fighting against tyranny and injustice was recalled by various speakers.
Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Harbans Kapoor, BJP legislator Ajay Tamta and other prominent political and social leaders also paid obeisance at the gurdwara. Langar was organised in all gurdwaras.

American students meet eminent authors

Mussoorie, December 31
Around 14 undergraduate English literature students from Framingham State University, Massachusetts, 32 km from Boston in the United States, were in the town to meet and celebrate their new year with authors, namely Ruskin Bond and Sudhir Thapliyal, from Mussoorie.
They were accompanied by the Professor, Dr Lisa Eck, who teaches World Literature and Anglophone Traditions, along with Barbara Gardener, member of the legislative council, Massachusetts.
The students exchanged New Year greetings with eminent author Ruskin Bond and interacted with him at Cambridge Book Store in Kulri Bazaar. The students also purchased latest books duly autographed by him.
Later in evening, the students visited author Sudhir Thapliyal at his residence where he read out a passage from his novel- War at Lambhidar.
The Tour Manager for the students, Anuradha, who is also a social activist, speaking to the Tribune said the objective of the tour was to introduce American students to real India, which was much different than the prevailing perceptions in the west. She said as most of western students carried an image of India under poverty, so it was important to show them the multicultural and dynamic facet of the country that was on the path to progress. Anuradha said they would also be meeting author Ganesh Saili, who would be reading out an excerpt from his latest book.
The students of English literature, Paula and Katie, excited to be in Mussoorie among the authors, said they has read Ruskin Bond’s story in past and were really impressed with his poignant style of writing. “The experience of meeting him in person was exhilarating,” said Paula.
Professor Eck said the students were in India for six weeks to learn the global perspective in literature and the students were eager to be here and meet authors.
She said Indian Literature was becoming very popular as a lot of experimental literature was coming from India.
Gardener said such inter-literary tours should be held more often so that students get enough insight about other regions, their traditions and practices closely.
The students would also be visiting NGO “NAAZ”, working for AIDS patients in Rishikesh, and “Salaam Balak Trust” later in the month at New Delhi.


Chief Minister BC Khanduri inspects the demolition drive work on the Chakrata road in Dehradun on Saturday
Chief Minister BC Khanduri inspects the demolition drive work
on the Chakrata road in Dehradun on Saturday.
Speed up work to clear debris, says Khanduri
Dehradun, December 31
Chief Minister BC Khanduri (retd) today visited the Chakrata road where the demolition work of the shops and buildings to widen the road has been going on for the past one week.
The Chief Minister met the people and directed the officials to speed up the work to clear the debris of the demolished buildings so that the road could be widened quickly for the traffic to ply.
Being narrow, the road from the Clock Tower to the Chakrata road up to the Prabhat cinema was one of the worst nightmares for the residents of Dehradun that often traffic congestion. The Chief Minister had taken the initiative to clear the traffic bottleneck by offering alternate sites to the shopkeepers and residents. Last week, the Dehradun Municipal Corporation started the demolition drive for the widening project.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chakrata road opened to traffic

Dehradun, December 28
On the third day of the second phase of the demolition drive today, the Chakrata road was opened to traffic.
All the debris had been removed last night. The Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority did not allot any shop today. As many as 39 buildings were demolished during the second phase of the drive.
Meanwhile, in the new shopping complex, the shopkeepers who were given allotment letters have taken the possession of the shops.
Ramesh Verma, owner of Kumar Sweets, said he would begin his business in the new complex in the next 15 days. He, however, complained of the dusty veranda and pathways and said the MDDA must clean the area outside the shops so that the customers did not hesitate coming here.
Tomorrow, the District Courts will announce its decision regarding the petition filed by the Free Hold Traders Association against the MDDA for not giving them extra shops and preferential treatment in the allocation of shops.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered against an assistant of a contractor who had allegedly thrashed a small boy with an iron road full of nails when he tried to pick the bricks and metals strewn all around.

BJP files code violation complaints

Dehradun, December 28
Describing it as the violation of the model code of conduct, the state BJP today lodged complaints at the Chief Electoral Officer against the advertisements issued by the agriculture ministry with regard to the steps taken for the state farmers and regarding the distribution of blankets by Congress leaders at a function in Dehradun.
Spokesperson for the BJP Vishwas Dabur today met Chief Electoral Officer Radha Raturi and lodged the complaints.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries had issued advertisement in which the steps taken for the state farmers by the ministry had been highlighted. The BJP has also lodged a complaint against the alleged distribution of blankets by former Congress leader Hira Singh Bisht and Congress MLA Jot Singh Ghunsola at a function held to honour ex-servicemen and women.
Joint Electoral Officer Sowjanya said these complaints would be referred to the District Election Officer for examination.

Minister of Panchayati Raj Rajender Bhandari resigns

Joins Cong through mentor Satpal Maharaj

Dehradun , December 28
Rajender Bhandari, Uttarakhand Minister of Panchayati Raj, Home Guards and Jails, today resigned from the Council of Ministers, here today.
According to officials, Rajender Bhandari submitted his resignation to Chief Minister B.C.Khanduri amidst reports that he had joined the rival Congress Party.
Rajender Bhandari, a rebel Congress candidate, had won the Nandprayag Assembly segment in Chamoli district as an Independent after he was denied the Congress party ticket in the 2007 Assembly polls. He won as an Independent.
Later, he gave support to the Khanduri-led BJP Government and was made a minister in the BJP Government. According to Congress Party sources, he has already made bridges with the Congress leadership and would be joining the party to fight the forthcoming Assembly elections as a Congress candidate.
He has joined the Congress again through his mentor and Pauri Garhwal MP Satpal Maharaj.

EC freezes party name UKD, symbol chair

Nainital, December 28
In a decision that would have far-reaching ramifications in the ensuing polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has come out with an interim order on the conflict between the two factions of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) on the issue of recognition and granting of the party symbol of the chair.
While both the factions led by Trivendra Singh Panwar and Diwakar Bhatt have been granted the interim status of state parties, the party name, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, and the symbol of the chair have been frozen till further orders of the commission.
The two factions have been asked to choose separate names for themselves and apprise the commission of the same within the next seven days.
“It would be open to the two groups to use the name of the mother party with separate appellations/suffixes, but different from the names of other existing parties” the ECI order states.
The two groups have also been told to indicate the choice of symbol to be allotted to them as their reserved symbol till the time they enjoy the interim recognition as state parties. The choice of symbol is to be relayed to the ECI within the next seven days.
The ECI has also called for the list of their respective office- bearers. Meanwhile, the time allocated in the name of the UKD on Doordarshan and All India Radio for propagating the viewpoints of the party will now be divided equally between the two groups.
After the hearing to held on Thursday, the Commission stated: “This, in the commission’s view, will be in the interest of equity and fair play and will meet the ends of justice, in the circumstances of the case.”
The CEC, Dr SY Quraishi, along with the two ECs HS Brahma and VS Sampath had taken up the petition for hearing that had been filed by the Panwar group.
The decision is likely to have a huge impact on the party leadership.
With the very name of UKD being frozen for now, it will be the party leaders who would have to make a fight of their contests merely on the basis of their personal reputations and hold.
Both factions demoralised 

Dehradun December 28
The decision of the Election Commission of India to freeze the ‘chair’ symbol of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) has dampened the spirits of members of both the factions, who fought over it after they split up last year. One faction, the UKD (P), is led by party president Trivender Singh Panwar, and the other faction, the UKD (D), by Diwakar Bhatt, state minister.

Satish Semwal, spokesperson, UKD (D), said they got the symbol by dint of the diligence and dedication put up by party activists for many years. “We have lost credibility before the public by losing our party symbol. It is all due to the immaturity and obduracy shown by Trivender Singh Panwar that we lost the symbol, which we had achieved because of the hard work of our activists.”
Though it has been an interim order, both the factions are considering it final. “As per the Election Commission of India, we need four MLAs and 8% votes to claim the party symbol, which none of us is in a position to do so at the moment. So we are taking this decision as final,” he added.
Party’s two MLAs, Diwakar Bhatt and Om Gopal, are with the UKD (D) and the third, Pushpesh Tripathi, with the UKD (P).
Trivender Singh Panwar, president of other faction, blamed the Congress and the BJP for the decision. He said: “This is the handiwork of the BJP and the Congress that we have lost the symbol. The Congress has influenced the Election Commission in divesting us of our symbol. But we will apply for a new symbol and go among people with an invigorated spirit.”
Sadly, his party mates do not think on the same lines. They are stunned over the decision. Promila Rawat, president of the women’s wing of the UKD (P), said the members felt cheated by the Election Commission of India and demoralised by the decision. “It is sad the Election Commission of India did not recognise us as the regional party though we had been fighting hard in the public on several issues concerning people but it all seemed wasted now.”
NK Gusain, district president, said all was not lost as yet as they would take up the new symbol among the people by using swiftness of the Internet and mobile phones.
It was on November 27 last year that Trivender Singh Panwar, president of the then combined UKD, withdrew support to the state government, but when the party’s member, Diwakar Bhatt, did not resign from his position as minister in the state government, Panwar expelled Bhatt on January 1 this year for lifetime. After the division, some of the senior leaders and members from the Panwar camp shifted to the Bhatt camp. Bhatt constituted a new working committee and got himself appointed as the president of the party and claimed his party was the real UKD. Both went to first state EC and then to the ECI to claim the party symbol.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa ready for trip around the world

Santa Claus has passed all required flight and medical tests, clearing him to leave the North Pole on time, Transport Canada announced in a news release Friday.
His sleigh has been inspected, his bag of toys has been scanned, and his reindeer have successfully completed their takeoff and landing tests.
Santa Claus has been cleared for takeoff from the North Pole, Transport Canada announced Friday, and now eager present-seekers can track the man in red's flight through the skies.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) is once again providing detailed updates on Santa's movements on its website, or by contacting 1-877-Hi-NORAD starting at 6 a.m. ET. Trackers also can send an email to noradtrackssanta(at)
Norad "Santa cams" are positioned around the world and this year, the command centre also is offering a Santa-tracking app for mobile devices. Tracking opportunities also are offered on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and Twitter.
Like any pilot, Santa had to pass a series of flight and medical tests before Transport Canada cleared him for flight.
"I'm very happy Santa has passed these latest tests," Mrs. Claus wrote in a text message sent to Transport Canada. "I made sure he focused on his tasks, not emptying the cookie jar or surfing the web too much, lol."
Santa's journey is expected to be smooth as usual, said Norad Capt. Jeff Noel in an interview with Global News.
"In all the years and centuries that Santa's been on the go, there's been no responsibility whatsoever for him ever missing a Christmas Eve," Noel said.
Only Santa knows his route, so Norad can't predict when he'll hit any particular home, Noel said. But one important detail is known.
"He usually arrives only when children are asleep. So in most countries, it seems Santa arrives between 9 p.m. and midnight."
While the technology for tracking Santa evolved, the tradition is more than 50 years old.
In 1955 a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co., advertisement misprinted a telephone number for children to call Santa. The number put children through to Norad's predecessor's operations hotline. The director of operations at the time had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa so the children who called were given updates.
It became a well-received tradition.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

North Delhi businessman rescued from Dehradun

A 38-year-old businessman, who had allegedly been kidnapped from his residence in north Delhi's Sarai Rohilla on December 18, has been rescued from Dehradun, police said on Friday. According to sources, Vinod Kumar of Dayanand Colony area had gone missing after being lured for drinks to a Paharganj restaurant on the fateful evening.
"We rescued Kumar from Dehradun after his former clients-turned-abductors held him there for two days and had demanded a ransom of R1 crore from his wife for his safe release," said a senior police officer.
Police have arrested three men - Amanpreet, Pinka and the brother of the plan's mastermind, Lalit, identified as Dheeraj - for their involvement in the crime.
A drunk Kumar, police said, had been driven to Noida by his abductors from a pub in Paharganj before the first ransom call was made from his phone on the morning of December 19.
"The gang, which was travelling in two separate cars, kept misleading us across Delhi, Noida, Nainital and Dehradun for days before Dheeraj was finally arrested from Udham Singh Nagar on December 21," the officer said.
Police said they had been able to track the gang after they withdrew Rs 25,000 from an ATM in Nainital after giving police the slip on December 19. Three others wanted in the case are at large and investigations are underway.

Friday, December 23, 2011

YMCA humble Doon academy

Dehradun, December 23
The YMCA team defeated the Doon Defence Academy cricket team by five wickets in a match in the Twenty20 Beehive Challengers Cup Cricket Tournament here today.
The Doon team scored 128 runs for six wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Openers Paras and Pavan scored 42 and 43 runs, respectively. Gurpreet and Ravinder took two wickets each for the YMCA team.
In reply, the YMCA team scored 129 for five wickets in 17 overs to win the match by five wickets. Anshul was the highest scorer (28 runs).
Tarun made 21 runs while Gurpreet and Nazish remined unbeaten on 18 and 12 runs, respectively. Rajat Loshi took two wickets for the Doon team.

Delhi Public School and others celebrate Christmas

Students participate in a Christmas programme at St Joseph’s Academy in Dehradun
Students participate in a Christmas programme at St Joseph’s Academy in Dehradun

Dehradun, December 23
Delhi Public School celebrated Christmas at a function held here today with great enthusiasm. The school was tastefully decorated giving a feeling of festivity with a happy sound of bells, hymns and peace. A Christmas tree was also decorated beautifully.

The celebration began with a speech on significance of Christmas. Children, dressed in bright red colour, added colour and joy to the occasion.
A nativity play was also enacted. The magic moment of Santa Claus entering amid the audience distributing candies and goodies was captivated all present.
Headmaster Niraj Gupta cut the cake with the students. He advised the students to follow a righteous path and congratulated the students and staff for their exemplary display.
St Joseph’s Academy
St Joseph’s Academy organised a Christmas programme for the senior and junior students here. They enacted the traditional nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus. The choir sang the traditional carols to a spellbound audience. The graceful “angel” dance and the peppy “jingle bell” dance along with good old Santa brought great excitement to the show.
The Principal, Rev Bro AJ George, appreciated the programme and said, “We should keep the true meaning of Christmas alive in our hearts all the year around.” He said: “We don’t have to be Christians to practice the values of Jesus Christ’s teachings. If you are born as a Hindu, be a good Hindu and if you are born as a Muslim, be a good Muslim”.
The programme came to a happy ending with everyone singing “Feliz Navidad” and “We wish you a Merry X-Mas”.
Shemrock-Riverdale School, Haridwar
With just a day left for Christmas, a special programme was held at Shemrock-Riverdale School here today.
At least 65 students, dressed in Santa Claus attire, made the school atmosphere dip in the Christmas celebration.
A cradle was also set up at the school where prayers were offered with teachers highlighting the teachings of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary.
School principal Poonam Chaudhary said the school was regularly organising such programmes to inculcate compassion, mutual harmony, brotherhood and a sense of understanding of the Indian culture among the students.
Young schoolteacher Disha, in a Santa Claus attire, distributed gifts to all students. Chetna, Rashmi, Shilpi, Preeti and Prachi from the school staff coordinated the

Bhatt is Director-Gen of Health and Family Welfare

Dehradun, December 23
The Uttarakhand Health Department has cleared three appointments at the senior-level of homeopathy doctors and allopathic doctors.
In a government order issued yesterday, Dr Jagdish Prasad Bhatt has been appointed the Director-General of Health and Family Welfare and Dr BS Kanwasi has been appointed the acting Director of Homeopathy.
On the other hand, Dr HGS Manral, who recently retired as Director (admin) and was again brought to Doon Hospital as a skin specialist on Wednesday, has now been appointed as the Advisor of Health. 

Virasat Festival

Phaag from Haryana mesmerises audience 

Dehradun, December 23
The fifth day of the Virasat festival witnessed a beautiful dance form of ‘phaag’ from Haryana. ‘Phaag’ or spring is the season of festivities and this dance is usually performed during joyous occasions. ‘Swang’ is performed by males and ‘phaag’ by females.
The festival of Holi has an old tradition of folk songs. Even now at many places, the custom of singing songs in groups is followed days before the festival. Groups of men and women move from door to door singing traditional songs and dancing to the beats of drums and cymbals.
In association with the NZCC (North Zone Cultural Centre), Rakesh Ganguly and Group performed ‘phaag’.
The second performance of the evening was ‘bhawai’. It is the traditional folk dance of Rajasthan that can be traced to a feudal era. It is the art of fine balancing of various utensils and pots on the head and hands. The performers balance a number of earthen pots or brass pitchers as they dance nimbly, pirouetting and then swaying with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass, on the edge of asword or on the rim of a brass thali (plate) during the performance.

Mandir Samiti tenants continue protest

 Dehradun, December 23
The Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority has begun erecting connecting walls which it had broken yesterday in a few shops.
The tenants of the Mandir Samiti continued their protest today. Shopkeepers have intensified vacating their shops in wake of the demolition deadline of December 26.
The house owners and tenants, who are to be allotted flats in the new building near the ISBT in the city, were unhappy about the lack of basic facilities in those flats. Usha Gupta complained, “The flats had no water supply, electricity connection and sewerage lines. We are worried as our houses will be broken by December 26. In such a situation, how can we live there.”
Housing minister Khajan Das has assured the people, who are to be rehabilitated in these flats that all lacking amenities would be provided in them before they were handed over the allotment letters. Nearly 24 flats are ready by now.
On the Chakrata road, the shopkeepers who had to vacate their shops by December 25 for the demolition drive to be taken up on December 26 were seen engaged in the process. A handloom shop owner rather was found dismantling the first floor of his shop by himself. He said, “I don’t want the team assigned by the MDDA to demolish the demarcated portion of my shop as they may damage the remaining part as well. That’s why I, myself, am have begun the process at the first floor.”
Rajender Kumar, another shopkeeper, said it would take him two to three days to vacate his shops entirely. 

State gets 2,000 acres from UP

Dehradun, December 23
The state has received State Industrial Development Corporation Limited’s 2,000 acre land that was in possession of Uttar Pradesh.
Uttarakhand chief secretary Subhash Kumar held that the state would now develop this 2,000 acre land into an industrial estate. He said a meeting of top Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand officials took place sometime back where it was agreed upon to hand over the land presently to Uttarakhand as a part of assets distribution process.
The chief secretary directed SIDCUL to follow its norms while allotting the newly acquired land for the development into an industrial estate.
State principal secretary of the industrial development Rakesh Sharma said while SIDCUL had been entrusted with the task of industrialisation both in hills and the Terai regions of the state.
He said the government aimed to come up with a favourable industrialisation policy for the state. He also disclosed the SIDCUL’s new office was expected to come up at the Information Technology Park, Dehradun, in March.
State Additional Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Jain, principal secretary of Planning S Ramaswamy, additional secretary of finance Sharad Chandra Pandey, SIDCUL General- Manager K Sharma and other senior officials were present on the occasion.

Rahul blows poll bugle in Uttarakhand

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi tries to shake hands with supporters after a party rally at the parade ground in Dehradun on Friday
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi tries to
shake hands with supporters after a party rally
 at the parade ground in Dehradun on Friday.
Dehradun, December 23   
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the Uttarakhand BJP government over corruption at a massive party rally held at the historic parade ground to kickstart the election campaign for the coming Assembly elections in the state.
Countering the campaign of Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri, who has been harping on curbing corruption, Rahul Gandhi compared Uttarakhand with Karnataka in corruption. “Both states are in competition in corruption and the competition is which of the two can loot the most,” he said.
Talking about the various alleged scandals that took place during the present BJP rule, Rahul Gandhi said a lot of money was sent by the Union Government to the state for the Mahakumbh mela held in 2010 but the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report had indicted the state government.
Similarly, he pointed towards the scandal in the allotment of hydro-electric projects where a single company was allotted 14 projects. He also mentioned about the Citurgia land use change scandal in Rishikesh, a decision which was taken back by the state government due to the fear of adverse decision in the high court.
He said after his removal as Chief Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was made a national vice-president of the BJP.
“There is no dearth of money in the country as seen in the past and the Central Government has been pumping in money to the state government but there are ‘thieves’ around,” he said. “The money does not belong to Central or the state governments. It is peoples’ money. Is it reaching the common people?” he asked.
Rahul Gandhi said the opposition parties were talking about corruption but it was the UPA government that brought the path-breaking Right to Information Act.
“Earlier, only a few, including the Chief Minister, MPs and bureaucrats, were privy to the information but after the Right to Information Act, each and every citizen has the right to get information,” he said.
“It is through the Right to Information Act that corruption is being exposed in the country,” he claimed.
Highlighting the achievements of the UPA government, the Congress leader said it was the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that had launched a guaranteed employment scheme like MANREGA for the poor of the country.
He also mentioned about the Right to Education Act for each and every child in the country and the Food Security Bill being introduced in Parliament to provide cheap food to a majority of the population.
He said during the previous Congress rule, the state of Uttarakhand made rapid progress and was number one state in the country but it had now slipped to the third place.
Mentioning about Uttar Pradesh where he is spearheading the party’s election campaign, Rahul said Uttar Pradesh was backward but Uttarakhand had been bestowed with all bounties of nature and resources. “Some of the best educational institutions are here, the best human resource is available here and has the potential to become an education hub like California,” he added.
He said having everything in the state, the people only lacked a proper government. He appealed to the people of the state to vote for the Congress so that a government that could work for the “Aam Aadmi” could be formed in Uttarakhand for overall development of the state.
Senior state Congress leaders, including state Congress chief Yashpal Arya, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing and Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat, Party MPs, Satpal Maharaj, Vijay Bahuguna, Pardeep Tamta and KC Singh Baba, was present at the rally along with Birender Singh, Congress general secretary in charge of Uttarakhand affairs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Total chaos and panic at Clock Tower shopping complex

Dehradun December 21
Ever since the demolition drive has been suspended on the Chakrata road, the focus has shifted towards the new shopping complex at Clock Tower, where chaos and panic loomed large all over the place. Some people were seen holding a protest with banners, others talked at length with officers. Some, congregating in large groups, slammed the state government for its “confused” approach on this sensitive issue. Traders, who could not bear the losses any more, began selling eatables outside the complex itself.
Madhu Chawla, who runs a South Indian food outlets, was aghast at the confusion prevailing in the demarcation of the area of the shops. Showing her new allotted shop, she said: “It is weird that I was given the middle portion of two shops, for which I had to break the middle wall. But the very next day, I was given some other measurement. This way five new measurements have been given in the last three days now. MDDA officials have asked me once again to wait for the next 36 hours for a final demarcation.”
She complained of lack of water lines in the premises, which is of paramount importance to her food
outlet. “We suffered two days without electricity at our home on the Chakrata road. This new shop is not ready and we have stored material of our shop at our neighbor’s place. A lot of our readymade stuff had to be thrown in the drain, as we were informed just 8 hours before the demolition drive,” she said.
Swarnlata, house owner, said she was not ready to shift to new flats provided by the MDDA for relocation for its small size. “I cannot accept a flat of 44 ft in exchange of my house of 65 ft. I need two such flats to accommodate my family of 11 persons,” she said.
Shopkeepers began selling Chinese food outside complex, alleging that they could no longer wait to get new shops, as the matter had got delayed due to wrong demarcations. A bakery owner said he would also do likewise tomorrow.
Gurmeet Sethi, the lady who has become resolute after getting support from the Sikh fraternity over demanding first front shop as was allotted earlier, said: “MDDA officials came in the morning to remove banners of protest from my shop and threw us but after we resisted vehemently, they went away. For the last two days, we are sleeping in this vacant shop.”
The influential people need not to bother as their interests are well safeguarded. Work in two shops allotted to Kumar Sweets was proceeding peacefully, despite the mayhem existing all around.
On Chakrata road, the traffic began moving to and fro in the morning, which was directed to one way because of the demolition in the Hanuman temple on the road on the left side. Some of the shopkeepers were seen packing their articles silently, without any commotion on the site.

Alva, SC judge release GK Sharma’s book

Dehradun, December 21
Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva and Justice Cyraic Joseph, Judge of the Supreme Court, today released a book titled "Quest for Justice at its threshold” written by Gyanendra Kumar Sharma, Legal Advisor to the Governor.
In his address, Justice Joseph said that Sharma had given a thrust on the mechanism which not only disposed of the case but also eradicated the differences between parties and brought them to normalcy. Justice Joseph also appreciated the efforts of Sharma for suggesting the mechanism for timely and inexpensive justice within the present constraints.
In her presidential address, the Governor said that trial courts are the courts for the common men. Considering the litigation expenses, it was not possible for the common man to approach the higher courts. The Governor also stressed that speedy and inexpensive justice was the right of the people.
Alva congratulated Sharma, the authorfor sharing his long experience as a judicial officer.
Introducing the book, Sharma said that the book contained the rights of litigants and duties of the courts in justice delivery system.

Satpal Maharaj appointed chairperson of poll panel

Dehradun, December 21
Garhwal MP Satpal Maharaj has expressed gratitude to Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for appointing him chairperson of the Uttarakhand Election Campaign Committee.
In a statement issued here today, Satpal Maharaj said the election management in the state would be done with active cooperation of party workers. He said the issues affecting the people would be taken up on a priority basis during the campaigning.
He said apart from taking up public issues, the Congress would also work for the redressal of public problems during the election campaigning.
The MP said he had been asked by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to canvass for the party in Uttar Pradesh. Maharaj said he would be taking a delegation of former Uttar Pradesh MLAs residing in Uttarakhand to UP for election campaigning in that state.
He reiterated his commitment to work for the betterment of the Congress both in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

UKD (P) women cell holds protest

Dehradun December 21
Pramila Rawat, head of the women cell of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Panwar), led party members to the Chief Minister’s residence at Garhi Cantt in protest against the expulsion of 250 selected candidates for the posts of police constable for 2010-11.
The members started their rally from Parade Ground, proceeded from Dila Ram Chowk and reached before the CM’s house.
In the absence of the Chief Minister, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate received their memorandum and assured them a meeting with Chief Secretary tomorrow on this issue.
In her memorandum, Rawat called the expulsion of 250 candidates, who had been selected and completed their training period, erroneous. She said such candidates were more than 600 but only these 250 were punished, which was unjustified. She appealed to hand over the inquiry to the CBI or the CID so that the expelled candidates could get justice.

Monday, December 19, 2011

55 cases settled at Lok Adalat

Dehradun, December 19
The District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) held a Lok Adalat here today. As many as 55 cases were settled by mutual agreement. Civil Judge and secretary of the DLSA Pradeep Kumar Mani said people should not only be apprised of their legal rights but also their duties.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rishikesh Pratap Singh also gave the participants valuable information related to revenue. Judges Pradeep Pant, Sahdev Singh, US Nambiyal, KK Shukla, Retesh Kumar Shrivastav were also present. 

Digvijay Cinema building dismantled

The demolition of the shops continued on the second consecutive day on the Chakrata road in Dehradun on Monday
The demolition of the shops continued on the second
consecutive day on the Chakrata road in
 Dehradun on Monday.

Dehradun, December 19
The second day of the demolition operation on the Chakrata road remained confined to dismantling portions of high-rise building of Digvijay Cinema. The portion of the Hanuman temple hall, which was to be broken, was demarcated.

The shopkeepers of the next 50-metre portion of the total 360 metre stretch began vacating their shops today for the next stage of the operation. The shopkeepers of this slot remained confused about the allotment letters regarding shops to be given in the new shopping complex. Some of them went to meet Vice-Chairman, Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA) BVRC Purushottam who did not give much clarification about the letters.
It was in the evening that the owners of two shops created ruckus over the allotment. The owner of the Sethi Snack Shop expressed reservation on the given first allotment to Ashok Goyal, owner of the Canara Bank building, alleging that their shop came first in the sequence and they should have been allotted the front shop in the new shopping complex. Purushottam, who was present there, could not pacify the aggrieved party and left the place.
Shashikant Goyal, a prominent trader on the Chakrata road, remarked that it was odd that on one hand MDDA officials showed enthusiasm in dismantling the shops and on the other it had cold feet in giving allotment letters to the traders.
The first lot of 16 shopkeepers was given away the allotment letters a day before the demolition drive began on Sunday. The confusion over the second lot led to fury among the shopkeepers. They were also incensed about not getting any concession for the losses to their business till the time they got new shops. Sunil Verma, a shopkeeper said, “The electricity connection has been snapped in the shops situated on the Chakrata road. Our business has nose-dived for which we are not being compensated. The loss may accumulate if the entire operation is dragged on for more days.” Long jams on the roads around Chakrata were witnessed throughout the day. The routes were diverted to the Garhi Cantt, Prince Chowk, Saharanpur and Kanwali Road.

Johra takes over as chief of Haridwar Municipal Committee

Corporation administrator Pendiyan quits

Haridwar, December 19
After the Nainital High Court order of reinstating the abolished Haridwar Municipal Committee, today administrator of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation Senthyl Pendiyan resigned from the post, handing over the charge once again to elected chairperson of the committee Kamal Johra.
With this once again the city got its municipal committee status back, which was elevated to municipal corporation a few months back. Also, the abolished committee started working under the palika norms and procedures.
Taking over charge, Kamal Johra termed it as a victory of truth, thanking the legal court for assuring that the democratically elected committee’s tenure was not curtailed midway.
Johra blamed Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik for deliberately trying to hamper the smooth working of the committee. “Kaushik had no support from the palika councilllors, including the BJP ones,” said Johra. He also lamented that though Kaushik was a local legislator and having an important portfolio of urban development, he had been the main hurdle in the development of Haridwar, due to his “anti-committee stance.”
Meanwhile, with taking of charge, the atmosphere in the municipal committee building was jovial, with councillors coming with musical bands and their supporters raising slogans of victory and against Madan Kaushik.
Ashok Sharma, councillor from Kankhal, distributed sweets, terming the court’s decision as landmark, and on this point sought the resignation of. Co-administrator of Municipal Corporation Jyoti Yadav said that now the whole structure of the corporation would
be revived again as municipal committee.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cabinet clears Food Security Bill, to be tabled in Parliament this week

NEW DELHI: After a prod by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the Cabinet on Sunday cleared the National Food Security Bill at a specially convened meeting to table it in Parliament this week.

The bill, meant to provide subsidized foodgrains to people, brought to the Cabinet by food and public distribution minister K V Thomas, was approved without a hitch in a meeting that lasted under an hour.

The bill, which the UPA will table in Parliament in the hope of gaining some political dividend in the crucial Uttar Pradesh elections, seeks to cover 75% of the rural population and 50% of urban population in the country. Initial estimates suggest that the food subsidy bill could be upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore.

A minimum of 46% of the rural population and 28% urban population will get 7 kg of foodgrains per month per person. Rice would be provided at Rs 3 a kg, wheat at Rs 2 and coarse grains at Rs 1 a kg.

The rest of the targeted population would get 3 kg of grains per person per month at half the minimum support price offered to farmers by government during procurement. Existing nutrition and select social security schemes would also be brought under the legislation as an entitlement.

After having ensured clearance for a bill seen as the Congress president's pet project and a key element in the party's strategy for 2014 general elections, Thomas said, "With this, we fulfill our commitment to the people of India made first in the Congress manifesto in 2009."

Thomas met PM Manmohan Singh on Sunday just ahead of the Cabinet meeting and explained in detail the proposals as well as responses that had been elicited from various states. Thomas explained the financial ramifications of the bill to the PM as well as the foodgrain requirements and storage capacities that would need to be built up in the coming days. The inclusion of existing social security and nutrition schemes under the bill was also discussed with the PM with the cabinet secretary and V Narayanasamy, minister of state in the PMO.

The fact that Congress wants the bill tabled as soon as possible was evident when minutes of the Cabinet meeting and the final decision were communicated within minutes of the meeting's end.

The total number of beneficiaries to be covered by the bill would depend upon the results of the delayed Socio-Economic and Caste Census currently underway. While the government had moved closer to the recommendations of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, it has left the door open to play with the absolute numbers through the use of 'deprivation parameters' in the census data.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Big Bazar enters Doon

Dehradun, December 17
Big Bazar further enhanced its reach to the customers with the launch of its first store in Dehradun. The new store was inaugurated by Principal Secretary PC Sharma at the City Junction Mall, Near ISBT, Haridawar bypass road.
Spread over an area of 28,500 sq. ft, Big Bazar will prove to be a one-stop destination for the Doonites. Dhananjay Sengupta, GM, North Zone, Big Bazar, said, “The store will give people the opportunity to shop for all their requirements, save and enjoy the experience with their entire family at the same time,” he said .

Dehradun “The History of Beautiful Doon Valley”

In the past hundred years or so the Doon Valley has undergone several revolutionary changes that would be good to recapitulated so that the future drift of the city can be put into right perspective.
Let’s take the demarcation year as 1900.This was the year in which the first train from Haridwar reached Dehradun Railway Station. This landmark year began the process of making the valley more accessible for the rest of India, and particularly the British. 1900 was a significant year also because it saw the abolishment of the District Postal System as now Dehradun came under the umbrella of the All India Postal Network set up by the then British government. The valley’s first radio station, too, became functional in this year in the Kutchery Compound through persistent efforts of the then District Magistrate A.J.K. Hallow. Later this station was closed down once nationalization of radio broadcasting took place during World War I.
Another landmark year for Doon was 1901, when telephone bells began ringing in the valley. But television had to wait till the year 1975 when the Mussoorie TV Tower was built.
The 19th century also saw the construction of a motorable road to Dehradun, though Mussoorie waited for the next century. It was in 1920 that the first car, a Ford T model was driven up to Kulri via Jharipani by Col E.W. Bell, son-in-law of ‘Swetenhams and owner of the Clouds End Estate. The present Mussoorie Road was built uptil Bhatta by 1930, King Craig by 1936, and after independence in 1954 it reached Library and in 1957 it reached Picture Palace.
The economy of the valley was primarily agricultural and was given a tourist boost by the visit of the Indian princes and the British during summers etc. It was only with the coming of electricity, in the year 1909, when the first bulb was lit on May 24, 1909, at Mussoorie, and in Doon in 1918, that the economy underwent a change.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the setting up of many national level institutions in the valley, In 1901, the then Viceroy Lord Curzon set up the Imperial Cadet Core impart military training to Princes and college students. In 1922, the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College (RIMC), now Rashtriya Indian Military College, was started at the same campus. RIMC was set up to train young Indian boys of aristocratic background for entry into Royal Military Collage, Sandhurst, in England.
In 1906 the Forest Research Institute was started at Chandbagh Estate where the Doon School is now located. In 1930, the Railway Staff College was set up in the present Chetwode building of IMA. The college closed down within a year or so due to financial constraints.
This campus was later (in 1932) selected for the establishment of the Indian Military Academy.The next towering institution to be set up in the valley that changed its very economic fabric was the ONGC. Most of the major schools and colleges in the valley were set up in the 20th century, though missionaries had started opening schools in the valley in the 1850s. One of the first schools to be set up was St George’s College Barlowganj, in 1853. American Presbyterian Mission Boys High School and Dehra Christian Girls’ Boarding School (CNI) are the two early schools that have a reputation even today.
The Doon Valley was amongst the first places in India to have a school for the blind. Sharp Memorial Blind School was opened in the early part of the century.Soon after Independence, the government established the Central Braille Press in 1951, which was followed by the setting up of NIVH in 1967. In the field of education for the handicapped there were many pioneers. Amongst them was Late Prof Ulfat who founded the Nanhi Dunya Movement. Another was Padma Bhushan Puran Singh Negi who pioneered the publication of books in Braille for the blind.
Today the Doon Valley is well known for public schools. The foundation for public schools was laid down with the setting up of The Doon School by Sir P.R. Das of the Indian Public School Society. Lord Willingdon, the then Viceroy of India inaugurated the Doon School in 1935 and its first head master was A.E. Foot, a science teacher at Eton College, England.
Architecturally the skyline of the valley has changed drastically over the years. Most of the prominent landmarks and shopping malls were built by philanthropist businessmen of Doon, who were amongst the leading families of Doon.One such family was that of Seth Bhagwan Das.The family floated the first Indian Bank in the valley known as Bhagwan Das Bank Ltd. The then chairman of the Bank, Seth Nemi Das built the Jugminder Hall (Town Hall), Women’s Hospital Wing at the Doon Hospital and the only Sports Pavilion in the city. During the 1930s, the three local bodies of the valley were headed by three philanthropists, who were mates from their school days at AP Mission School – Rai Bahadur Choudhary Sher Singh, Rai Bahadur Ugrasen and Barrister Darshan Lal. Rai Bahadur Chaudhary Sher Singh was the chairman of the District Board. As chairman he took development to the rural areas. Most of the major roads in the villages were built during his time. He also opened many schools in the villages.
Rai Bahadur Ugrasen was the chairman of Dehradun Nagar Pallika. He built the two main shopping malls, Manda House Complex on a part of old Nashville Estate and Astley Hall Shopping Mall on Rajpur Road. He is also credited with bringing piped water into Dehrdaun municipality. Barrister Darshan Lal was the chairman of Mussoorie City Board. He increased the power generating capacity of Bhatta Falls. During his chairmanship the Dehradun-Mussoorie Road was extended up to Kingcraig from Bhatta. He was also instrumental in building the Landour Clock Tower.
After Independence, the citizens of Doon honored the builders of the Doon valley, by naming prominent roads and chowks after their names. One of the most important landmarks of the Doon Valley, the Balbir Tower (Clock Tower) was built to commemorate India’s independence. It was a collaborative effort of the Dehradun Nagar Pallika and Lala Sher Singh and Lala Anand Singh, leading businessmen of their times and was named after one of their ancestors who was also an honorary magistrate in his days.
The foundation stone was laid on July 2, 1948, by the then Governor of UP, Sarojini Naidu. The Clock Tower was completed in 1953 and was inaugurated by Lal Bahadur Shastri. It has a unique hexagonal architecture lending it heritage value.
The colossal philanthropic achievements of the earlier years was in subsequent years added to by shopping complexes, corporate houses, government buildings and high rise structures. Astley Hall, Mansa Ram Bank building and Manda House have been replaced by Windlass Shopping Complex, Plazas, Janpaths and shopping arcades.
Dehradun Pin Code 248001 and Dehradun STD Code 0135Dehradun MapDehradun Map

Friday, December 16, 2011

International symposium concludes

Dehradun, December 16
On the concluding day of the International Symposium on Recent Advances in Medical Disorders, Dr Sanjiv Mittal, Head, eye department, Sri Guru Ram Rai (SGRR) Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, said any problem experienced in the eye should not be ignored.
“There are several disorders that can be immediately taken care with prompt intervention,” said Dr Sanjiv Mittal.
In another lecture, Dr Neel Kamal also shed light on the diabetic foot and its cures, while Dr RB Kaliya gave presentation on hip-replacement.
At the end of the symposium, a question-answer session with the students was also held.
Several medical experts from the United States of America (USA) and Canada participated in the symposium. The representatives of the University of Kansas also paid obeisance at the Darbar Sahib.
Dr Sanjiv Mittal shed light on the problems and the cures present.

Haridwar choreographer gives dancing tips to Bollywood actresses

Dolly BishtHaridwar, December 16
Soon Bollywood actresses will be dancing to the directions of an Uttarakhand-based young choreographer, which will be first for any choreographer hailing from this hilly state.
Dolly Bisht from Haridwar has just returned from Mumbai, wherein she assisted noted choreographer-cum-director Farah Khan for her upcoming flick “Joker” starring Akshay Kumar.
Working as second assistant dance director to choreographer Feroz Khan, Dolly choreographed the dance steps for the actress of the film, Sonakshi Sinha.
Talking to The Tribune exclusively, Dolly Bisht termed it as a dream come true as she had gone to Mumbai for the grand finale round of dance reality show “Dance India Dance,” wherein she reached the mega audition final stage making it to the top 30s.
“Never thought I would get to be a part of the film industry and giving dance steps to Sonakshi. I was worried a bit …but sticking to the theme of the film and song gave me ample confidence to conceptualise the song,” said an exuberant Dolly.
Currently pursuing her B.Com at Haridwar Educational College, Bisht wants to make it big in the glam world and be a professional choreographer.
But she is not taking it easy, as she points: “To make other people dance, you have to be first well-versed in all dance forms, be it contemporary, classical-semi classical, western, hip hop or the mixed variety.”
“Apart from this, a film choreographer has to conceive the dance keeping in mind the theme, story, song, music, costume and trend,” said 20-year-old Dolly, who has more than 40 awards and trophies to her credit in various dance competitions.
Her father SB Bisht and mother Bhajan are all proud of the young girl and are supporting her in her dreams. “From childhood itself she has only one passion, dance, and it is our duty to provide her best of support though it is not so easy for people of Uttarakhand to make it to this arena, which is confined mainly to Mumbai or Delhi only,” said Dolly’s father.
Accepting that had she been from a metropolis, she could have found a conducive atmosphere both in terms of training and opportunities. Yet the vibrant dancer doesn’t want to make it an excuse of any sort.
Now Dolly is giving free dance training to 20-odd youths in Haridwar itself as she claims that she definitely has a dance institute in her mind in the near future for Uttarakhand.

Sale of Chinese goods ‘threat to economy’

Dehradun, December 16
Dehradun Mayor Vinod Chamoli today said the increasing use of Chinese products was a matter of concern for the country.
Addressing a workshop organised by the Himalaya Parivar, a non- government organisation in Dehradun, Chamoli reminded that while 80,000 square kilometres of the Indian territory was still in the Chinese possession in the aftermath of the 1962 war, Chinese were now trying to destroy the Indian economy by flooding the Indian markets with its products.
Another key speaker Suryanarayan Jha said India had failed to strengthen its borders with China. He said China had been repeatedly troubling India. “It shows Arunachal as part of China and continues to irritate India on one pretext or other”, he said.

CPI activists demand food security

Haridwar, December 16
On Food Security Day, the Communist Party of India (CPI) activists demanded food security from the Centre.

At a meeting at Bhagat Singh Chowk, CPI activists said as per the Constitution, safeguarding of financial rights was specified, but by merely making laws, the government could not step back from its duty.
“The providence of food to poor people should be done at the government-run fair price shops at subsidised rates and if possible, free of cost. Millions of tonnes of food grains are lying in food stores of which a major portion gets wasted,” said comrade Munirka Yadav, vice chief of the CFFP Employees Association.
Raees Alam of the district CPI unit pointed out that the aim of the World Food Day was to heighten public awareness about the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Communists also took strong objection to respective Union Governments bifurcating the people in the BPL (below poverty line) and the APL (above poverty line) brackets. The government should take steps to ensure that poverty is vanished from the country. For that a methodical economic and social approach was needed, which the subsequent governments lacked, remarked comrade Prakashi Devi.

Withdraw Lokayukta Bill: CP (ML)

Pithoragarh, December 16
The Utarakhand state unit of the CP (ML) today called upon the state government to withdraw the Lokayukta Bill passed by the Uttarakhand Assembly, as, according to the party, it is an instrument in the hands of the powerful to protect the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in the state from the clutches of the law.
Briefing the media after a district-level convention of the party held here on Wednesday, the newly elected district spokesperson for the party, Govind Kafalia, said the party wanted the Bill be withdrawn in the interests of common people of the state as it would increase corruption in the state. “The Lokayukta Act will give the impression that corruption is being checked but actually it will be protecting the corrupt,” alleged Kafalia.
According to Kafalia, 23 resolutions were passed at the convention, including seeking a salary package of more than Rs 11,000 for all anganwari and Asha workers in the villages of the state and a law to give government job to one member of each family in the state. “The party also felt that the agriculture needs to be given special attention in the state and every landless family should be given minimum an acre for cultivation,” said Kafalia.
According to the district spokesman, the state should make laws to ban big dams in the state and bring in laws to protect the agriculture from the menace of wild animals. “The party wants that small hydroelectric schemes in the state be brought under the control of the village Panchayats and all government land near villages should be allocated to the nearby villages,” said the party spokesperson.
“Our party feels that anyone who talks of third front without Left parties is without political understanding of the state because the Left parties are out to give revolutionary alternative to the people of the state whereas the third front partners have started talking of participation in the government after the election,” said Kafalia.

Schemes launched by Nishank shelved

Dehradun, December 16
Though it has been three months since the regime changed in Uttarakhand, the ripples continue to be felt in the everyday functioning of the state. The biggest casualty has been the programmes announced by former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
Some of the schemes launched by Nishank have been relegated to the background and instead the schemes announced by Chief Minister BC Khanduri during his previous tenure between 2007-09 have been dusted and brought to the fore along with the announcements made by him since taking the reins once again in September.
The subjectivity and perceived bias is visible even during the evaluation meetings of the announcements made by the Chief Minister. The secretaries of different departments are asked to compile progress from the period 2007-09 and of the last three months only.
“All the schemes announced by the former Chief Minister have been dropped like hot potatoes at least in the day to day functioning in the portals of power,” said a senior official.

Low priority given to roads, facilities in border areas

Poor utilisation of funds by BJP Govt
Dehradun, December 16
Improving rural connectivity by spreading a network of roads and providing facilities to villages in the border areas continue to be accorded the lowest priority by the BJP Government in Uttarakhand, leading to poor utilisation of funds earmarked for the pradhan mantri gram sadak yojana (PMGSY) and the border area development programme (BADP).
Despite setting a target of building 650 km of roads under the pradhan mantri gramin sadak yojana, the government has just about managed to build a mere 257 km of roads. Against the available funds of Rs 39,744 lakh, only Rs 10,551 lakh were spent, completing a mere 27 per cent of the works earmarked under the PMGSY till November for this financial year. The PMGSY programme is a Central Government-funded scheme.
“The progress under the scheme has been slow due to absence of environment clearances as a majority of the roads fall under the forest area, and environment clearance from the Central Government is required,” said Vijaya Barthwal, Rural Development Minister.
If the non-existent roads in the villages speak volumes about the BJP Government’s “reluctance” to spend money where it is needed most, five years down the line the government has even has made a mockery of Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
Against the available budget of Rs 4037 lakh till November this year, the government managed to spend only Rs 666 lakh. According to the terms of the programme, the amount sanctioned under the programme would lapse with the model code of conduct coming into place shortly. The Central Government-sponsored scheme stipulates a share of the Centre and state in the ratio of 75:25.
The BADP is under way in the districts of Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Champawat, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. The BADP was started during the Seventh Plan with the twin objectives of promoting balanced development in sensitive border areas.
Allocations are made for carrying out programmes under education, health and rural development for the earmarked districts. The Central Government-sponsored scheme has several checks and balances. In 2009-2010, the Central Government had not released funds after the state government failed to utilise the funds properly.