Your updated source of information about Dehradun & Uttarakhand.

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.