Your updated source of information about Dehradun & Uttarakhand.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Savvy NRIs lap up India Inc’s dollar bonds from existing FIIs

MUMBAI: Dollar-denominated bonds of Indian companies are gaining popularity among wealthy non-resident Indians (NRIs) and savvy local investors. These individuals are mopping up such bonds, which are being dumped by foreign investors amid worries that Indian companies could default on their debt repayments in the wake of the slowdown in the domestic economy and squeeze in corporate profits.

Wealth managers said confidence in debt of Indian companies is so low that foreign investors are dumping their bonds at 40% to 60% discount to their original prices. Bank bonds, which bear coupon rates in the range of 4-5%, are trading at 6-6.5% levels in overseas markets. Dollar bonds issued by corporates are currently yielding 7-7.5%.

Indian companies are considered risky overseas because of their lower credit rating, which is driven by the nation's sovereign rating of 'BBB minus'.

"There are worries of debt repayment defaults; also there is a feeling that Indian companies will not do well over the next few quarters. This has resulted in foreign banks and institutions reducing exposure to Indian debt," said Nitin Jain, head - capital markets, Edelweiss Capital Markets.

NRIs and the informed domestic investors are seeing opportunities in such fire sales. They are looking out for papers, especially, foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) that are up for redemption this year. Yields on many such bonds are trading at almost 9% overseas, with those issued by blue-chip companies like Tata SteelReliance Industries and Bharti Airtel at 8.5-9%. Such investments make sense for NRIs because dollar deposits fetch them just 1% to 1.25%.

Much more than returns, dollar bonds eliminate currency risk for NRIs, said Raghvendra Nath, managing director of Ladderup Wealth Management.

"In these times of currency volatility, there's huge risk involved in bringing money to India and investing them in local assets. There's greater comfort for NRIs to invest in dollar bonds and earn higher yields on them," Nath said. These bonds could fetch these NRIs between 5% and 7%, said wealth managers.

For wealthy local investors, such investments are attempts to diversify their portfolio. Most of them are using the Reserve Bank's liberalised remittances scheme route - which allows individuals to invest up to $2,00,000 in foreign assets every year - to invest in these bonds.

"HNIs (high net worth investors) are investing in dollar-denominated bonds to diversify their portfolio. This strategy allows investors to have exposure to a different currency other than the rupee," said Prateek Pant, head of wealth solutions at RBS. "Several FCCBs are currently trading at a significant discount to their issue price. NRIs are cherry picking the well-known names as value buys," Pant said.

Edelweiss's Jain said rich investors invest in dollar bonds to pocket the additional 'carry' value on rupee. "They are hedging the rupee ( futures) before investing in these bonds. They earn an additional 5-6% carry value on rupee along with 6-7% yields on bonds," Jain said.

US-based Sikhs file lawsuits against Jay Leno, NBC

JALANDHAR: Two separate complaints against Leno have been lodged in the US - one with the Federal Communications Commission and the other with the superior court of California.

The US-based Sikh rights group " Sikhs for Justice" (SFJ) has lodged a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the US government - which regulates the broadcast of television programs, analyzes the complaints and conducts investigations - against the "objectionable depiction of Golden Temple" byNBC Talk Show Host Jay Leno on January 19, 2012.

Meanwhile California based Dr Randeep Dhillon has filed a suit for damages for Libel in the superior court of California against Jay Leno and NBC.

The SFJ complaint filed with Joel Gurin, bureau chief, consumer & governmental affairs bureau at FCC states that "Jay Leno's depiction of the Golden Temple as the home of the rich is racist, derogatory, defamatory, contrary to the reality, inimical to the principles of Sikhism, and thus hurtful to the sentiments of the Sikh community." The complaint demands imposition of sanctions against Leno "for spreading racism" and against NBC "for airing contents ridiculing a place of worship."

Attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, said "while we value and honour freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment but the First Amendment is not a tool to ridicule a religion or to spread untrue, biased and racist information." This is not the first time that Jay Leno has shown disrespect and bias towards Sikhs and their faith. Earlier, in 2007 Jay Leno had called Sikhs as 'diaper heads' referring to the turban worn by Sikhs in compliance with their religious edict.

"Jay Leno's wrongful depiction of the Golden Temple is more hurtful to the sentiments of the Sikh community because any disrespectful or derogatory remark about the temple brings back the tormenting memories of June 1984 Operation Blue Star in the minds of the Sikhs in which thousands of Sikh pilgrims were killed," attorney Pannun added. SFJ also announced to hold a protest rally on February 2 in front of the NBC Headquarters in New York City demanding that the NBC sack Jay Leno for his remarks about the Golden Temple.

Dr Randeep Dhillon's libel suit in the superior court of California against Jay Leno and NBC said that the "publication" (comments) was made intentionally and it hurt the sentiments of the all the Sikh people in addition to the plaintiff.

It said, "The publication and broadcast was libelous on its face and clearly exposes plaintiff, other Sikhs and their religion to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh. Holding that the publication and broadcast warranted an award of punitive and exemplary damages the petition has prayed for general damages, special damages, punitive damages and any further relief as deemed just and fair by the court."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ghuman makes it to top 15 golf officials

Chandigarh, January 25
An 18-year-old local girl, Jaipreet Singh Ghuman, brought laurels to the city after making it to the list of top 15 golf rules officials yesterday. The examination was conducted under the aegis of Royal and Ancient, an international body, governing golf worldwide and Indian Golf Union.
The Royal and Ancient body had conducted the examination here for the first time with the aim of filling the void of qualified rules officials currently felt at golf events in the nation.
Jaipreet stood eighth in the list after scoring 84 per cent in the examination. She said, “I had never thought of getting this chance. I feel honoured to be grouped with many knowledgeable and senior officials and I am looking forward to it,” said Jaipreet.

Leno sued over ‘racist’ Golden Temple remark

US talk show host Jay Leno
US talk show host Jay Leno

New York, January 25
US talk show host Jay Leno has been sued by an Indian-American in California for his “racist” comments on the Golden Temple and ridiculing the entire Sikh community by portraying the holy shrine as a vacation home.

According to court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Randeep Dhillon claims that Leno “hurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to those of the plaintiff” with his joke that the Golden Temple could be a possible summer home of Mitt Romney, a leading Republican presidential hopeful.
The celebrity website TMZ said Dhillon has filed a libel suit and is seeking unspecified damages.
The suit adds that Leno’s joke “clearly exposes plaintiff, other Sikhs and their religion to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh.” It said this is not the first time that Leno has ridiculed the Sikh community.
“Previously, in 2007 he called Sikhs ‘diaper heads.’ Clearly, Jay Leno’s racist comments need to be stopped right here,” the suit added.
In more trouble for the TV host, a Sikh rights group here has lodged a complaint with a federal agency demanding action be taken against Leno and NBC channel for airing the “racist and derogatory” depiction of the Golden Temple.
Sikhs for Justice has filed its complaint with regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Leno and NBC.
The FCC is tasked with regulating the broadcast of television programmes, analysing complaints and conducting investigations. 
SAD (Delhi) seeks action against Leno
New Delhi: The Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal has shot off a protest letter to US President Barack Obama, about a controversial television show which degraded the Golden Temple. “We are quite displeased and hurt with the remarks on the Golden Temple by a television show hosted by Jay Leno,” SAD’s Delhi unit President Manjit Singh GK said.

India, Norway reach agreement; kids to be handed over to uncle

New Delhi, January 25
The prolonged agony of an Indian couple in Norway whose kids were taken away by the Norwegian Childcare Services on grounds of "emotional disconnect", may end soon when the children are handed over to their uncle following the finalisation of an agreement between India and the Scandinavian country today.
According to official sources, Arunabhash, the uncle, has agreed to the parents’ wish and will be the children's primary caretaker. He will spend sometime with the two kids in Norway before bringing them to India and submit a list of doctors in India whom the Norwegian authorities could contact to know about the welfare of the children. An Indian agency will also monitor whether the children were being properly looked after.
The accord between India through its mission in Norway, Municipality of Norway, Norwegian Childcare Services, the parents (Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya) and their lawyer named Anurup's brother as the primary caretaker of the two children.
Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) has approved and agreed to give children to the uncle.
Arunabhash, who lives in Kolkata, will soon leave for Norway and all the expenses of his travel will be borne by the government, the sources said. However, under the agreement, the parents still have parental and visitation rights.
The children Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) were taken under protective care by Barnevarne, which claimed emotional disconnect with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care according to the local Norwegian court's directive.
Following the plea by the family, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna spoke to the Norwegian authorities and requested them to find an "amicable and urgent" settlement.
India expressed its concerns to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the children were being deprived of the undoubted benefits of being brought up in their own ethnic, religious cultural and linguistic milieu.
In Kolkata, the grandparents of the two kids expressed happiness that they would be handed over to their uncle. ''This is undoubtedly a matter of great relief that Abhigyan and Aishwarya will now be returned to their parents and we are eager to see them back here'', they said.

Ajit Singh woos farmers at Mangalore

Haridwar, January 25
National chief of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Union Minister for Civil Aviation Chaudhary Ajit Singh today claimed that it was only the RLD that was committed to the welfare of farmers and look after their interests.
He also claimed that now with the RLD being part of the United Progressive Alliance, he would make sure that pro-farmers policies and issues affecting them like the FDI in retail or minimum support prices for their crops were taken into consideration.
Chaudhary Ajit Singh who recently sworn in as Union Minister was here today to address his first election rally at Mangalore here to urge people to cast their vote in favour of RLD candidates, so that the problems of peasants, labourers and suppressed section of society could reach the Assembly.
“Be it Uttarakhand or Uttar Pradesh, farmers are being used by political parties as votebank. But when it comes to solve their problems, these parties are no where to be seen. It’s only the RLD which is pro-farmer,” said Chaudhary Ajit Singh, a seven-time Lok Sabha member.
When asked while at the Centre the RLD is supporting the Congress but in Uttarakhand his party candidates are contesting against it, he said every state had a different political situation.
On a bail out package to the Air India, Chaudhary Ajit Singh said a committee had been set up to look into the problems being faced by it, which would soon submit its recommendations.
Ajit Singh also referred to his association with former UP Chief Minister and Pauri Garhwal parliamentarian Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, particularly in 1989 when they merged their respective Lok Dal’s to form the Janta Dal.
Party candidate from Mangalore Atul Chaudhary also addressed the gathering and gave an assurance to the voters that the interests of all sections of society would be looked into and the problems of farmers would be resolved.

Battle between those for, against hydroelectric projects

Pithoragarh, January 25
Affected by frequent landslides and glacial erosion in the world famous Pindari Glacier, the remote Assembly segment of Kapkot in Bageshwar district seems to be witnessing a battle between the supporters of hydroelectric projects and its opponents in the area.
Most of the locals are not in favour of these projects under construction in the area. They fear that these projects would not only destroy the ecosystem of the three main world famous glaciers of Pindari, Sundar Dhunga and Kafni but would also deprive the locals of their right on the rivers and glaciers.
Independent candidate from Kapkot Himmat Singh Aithani, said: “I am fighting the elections to save the Pindari Glacier. My slogan is ‘Ab ki bari Him pindari’.”
“If only gharats (water mills) of the area could be saved, we can give employment to 20,000 youths of the area,” claims Aithani.
Kapkot has a total of 82,783 voters. The number of male voters is 41,153 and of female is 41,630. The number of voters in the region has increased after the Kanda seat too merged into this after the recent delimitation.
The BJP has fielded Balwant Singh Bhauriyal. He claimed that he had worked hard to develop the region in the past five years from the infrastructural point of view and also promoted local industries to give employment to the local youths.
“Today, for the first time in the history of Kapkot, local schools have teachers, ” says Bhauriyal.
Congress candidate from the seat Lalit Farswan is also a Zila Panchayat member from the Kausani area. He said his first priority would be to stop migration from the area.
“We can stop the migration of the youth from the area by developing tourist infrastructure at the glaciers of Pindari, Sundar Dhunga and Kafni,” says Farswan.
The Congress candidate claimed that the development agenda of the party was needed in the area as road connectivity to the region was very poor. “Due to the apathetic attitude of the BJP-led state government towards development, travel on 30-km road from Bageshwar to Kapkot takes two hours today as the road is full of the debris at many places,” said Farswan.
UKD (P) candidate Harish Pathak is contesting on the local issue of the rehabilitation of all villages hit by landslides. “Forty two villages of the region have been declared as landslide-prone areas by geologists, who had been sent by the state government to survey the area. But nothing has been done so far,” said Pathak.
On the other hand, locals say that they are facing a crisis that threatens their continued existence due to hydroelectric projects coming up in the area.
They said even Sumgarh village where 18 schoolchildren were buried alive under the debris 16 months ago owing to a landslide has not been shifted from the area.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Change the govt in Uttarakhand, Rahul tells youth

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi addresses an election meeting at Pithoragarh on Tuesday
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi addresses
 an election meeting at Pithoragarh on Tuesday

Pithoragarh, January 24
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today appealed to the youth to come forward to participate in politics and change the present political system of the state according to the needs of the country.
“The present political parties are in no mood to change the system as they get benefit out of this outdated system. Therefore, the youth is the only hope,” said Rahul Gandhi, addressing an election rally here today.
Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the BJP Government of the state by blaming it for corrupt practices in the last five years, including misuse of funds released from the Centre for the development of the state.
“During the last five years, BJP did not feel the need of Khanduri, as the government and its leaders were involved in corruption, but the party now needs Khundari as it has to hide corruption before being ousted from the government this time,” said Rahul.
The Congress general secretary said that the Congress was a party of the poor of the country; it belonged to the poor, the backward classes, Dalits and minorities. It was also against corruption as the ministers
involved in corrupt practices have been jailed in Congress rule. “On the other side, the BJP gave shelter to its corrupt ministers in Karnataka, Punjab and in Uttarakhand and has now given shelter to corrupt ministers of Mayawati,” said the Congress general secretary.
“if I share meals with Dalits at their homes, the BJP people object. But if they create the slogan of ‘India shining’ from AC rooms, they think it in positive tone for the country,” said Rahul.
Rahul Gandhi said that it was the Congress which laid the foundation stone of development in Uttarakhand state as the people believed in it just after the state was carved out. “The party not only established industries in the state to give employment to lakhs of youths from the state but has now approved its linking with railway lines. “On the other hand, the BJP is always busy indulging in corrupt practices,” alleged Rahul.
The Congress general secretary elaborated the achievements of the Congress at the Centre and said that it is the party totally devoted to empower the common people by providing security in their basic needs.
“After waiving Rs 60,000 crore loan of poor farmers of the country and empowering them, the party has brought MNREGA, right to education, and would now bring food security Bill to make the poor of the country free from the basic problems of life,” said the Congress general secretary. 

BJP govt failed to use Central funds: Pranab Mukherjee

Dehradun, January 24
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today squarely blamed the BJP government in Uttarakhand for failing to use Central funds for the development of the state. He also held the BJP government responsible for instability in the region due to which there had been five Chief Ministers during its seven-year rule in the state.
Pranab told mediapersons in Dehradun that despite huge Central aid, the Uttarakhand government had not been able to spend the funds for the welfare of the people. “A staggering Rs 2,971 crore has been given to the state in the last seven years. Besides, Rs 2,185 crore for human resource development, Rs 1,402 crore for health and family welfare and Rs 1,517 crore for road transport and highways have been provided to the state in the same period,” Mukherjee said, adding that the state government failed to use the funds for the development of the state.
He said the BJP government was not even clear whether it should favour hydroelectric projects or not. “The Uttarakhand Government on the one hand calls for increasing power generation and on the hand it supports those who are protesting against the construction of hydropower projects in the state,” Pranab said, referring to the Pala Maneri project that was scrapped by the Centre after several groups opposed it.
Pranab also asked the BJP to explain what compelled it to change Chief Ministers so many times. “By changing five chief ministers in seven years the BJP has given instability to Uttarakhand,” he said.
The Union minister said the industrial package given to the state could not be extended further as it would lead to regional disparity. “It has been noticed that some industries from the neighbouring regions are shifting to Uttarakhand to avail concessions,” he said. He, however, added that the Centre was committed to industrialisation in Uttarakhand.
On Anna Hazare’s agitation for Jan Lokpal, Pranab said the Congress was committed to ending corruption. He held the Opposition responsible for the non-passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament. “We don’t have the majority in the Rajya Sabha and thus cannot be held responsible for the non-passage of the Lokpal Bill. It was the Opposition that changed its stand on the issue,” he added.
Associate in-charge of the Uttarakhand Congress Anees Ahmed and vice-president of the state Congress Suryakant Dhasmana were also present on the occasion.

Uttarakhand awaiting Cong return to power: Girja Vyas

Dehradun, January 24
Former chairperson of the National Commission of Women and senior Congress leader Girja Vyas today said the people of Uttarakhand wanted a change and were anxiously awaiting the return of Congress government in the state.
Addressing a press conference in Dehradun today, Girja Vyas said the sole achievement of the BJP Government in Uttarakhand had been change of chief ministers. She said rampant corruption had taken place in BJP rule in Uttarakhand and revealed that a total of 419 cases of corruption had taken place in the state.
Vyas also took the opportunity to refer to the achievements of the UPA Government at the Centre. She said UPA had worked to weed out corruption in the country and work for the empowerment of women. She reminded Congress was committed to reservation for women and firmly believed that 33 per cent reservation for women in state Assemblies and the Lok Sabha was the best way to ensure women’s empowerment.
She also asserted that Congress will fulfil each and every promise made in its manifesto if it was voted to power in the state. Uttarakhand head of intellectual cell DS Mann and state Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana were present at the news conference.

Ex-servicemen’s body to support Congress

Dehradun, January 24
The Uttarakhand Purv Sainik Avam Ardh Sainik Sangathan has expressed anguish against the BJP government and announced of supporting Congress candidates on most of the seats, barring Harbans Kapoor, BJP candidate for the Cantt seat, Surender Jain of the BJP from Roorkie and Prakash Pant from Pithoragarh.
President of the organisation, Lt-Col Ganga Singh Rawat (retd) extended his support to Lt-General TPS Rawat (retd), president of Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha (URM) Kedar Singh Fonia, rebel BJP leader and now candidate from the URM for Badrinath seat Pushpesh Tripathi, MLA from the Uttarkhand Kranti Dal (P) and Pritam Singh of the UKD (P) for Yamunotri.
He said except these seats, his party would back the Congress on other Assembly constituencies. He, however, said they would oppose Congress candidates in Rajpur and Raipur as well.
The organisation would remain neutral in Rudrprayag and left it on the discretion of ex-servicemen to choose between Independents Luxmi Aggawal and Rakesh Negi from Sahaspur asserting that both candidates were always in touch with people of the area.
Rawat was miffed with the BJP over change of guard, Chief Ministers, in the state government. He also accused the party of indulging in number of scams and plundering the people’s money from exchequer.
He said despite evidence of funds siphoning off in the land grabbing case meant for poor section and village society to the state government, the latter kept mum. He said the state government was equal accomplice in looting the state with the mafia, the bureaucracy and public representatives.
He blamed the government for rendering the Soldier Welfare Ministry and UPNAL spineless.
No action in case of encroachment of land in the name of mother of Rifleman Jaswant Singh, winner of Mahavir Chakra, relentless employment to civilians meant for ex-servicemen and cut down in the health facilities were some of the reasons. 

Regional and caste politics in Dhanaulti

Mussoorie, January 24
For the first time, regionalism and caste politics at the micro level is being played out in Dhanaulti while the real development issues are being ignored. The nominees in the fray are relying more on exploiting regional and caste aspiration to garner support than raising the issue of
It seems that the rebels from the Congress and the BJP, contesting as Independent candidates, have taken the lead this time in raising the caste and regional sentiments to ensure their victory from Dhanaulti.
BJP rebel Rajesh Nautiyal from the Chaijula region (patti), who is contesting as an Independent, is trying to raise the regional sentiments and portray himself as the mass leader fighting for the respect and integrity of the Chaijula and Dus Jula regions in the Jaunpur block.
His supporters are also portraying Nautiyal as a leader of a great stature from the Brahman community.
Another rebel candidate from the Congress, Jot Singh Bisht, contesting as an Independent described the denial of ticket to him as disrespect to the people of the Thauldhar block.
During his campaign, Bisht has been successful in raising the anti-national party sentiments by spreading the message that the Congress and the BJP have failed to give ticket to any leader from the Thauldhar region, therefore this was the best opportunity for them to seek revenge by casting their vote in his favour.
Bisht, being a seasoned politician, does talk about development issues during his campaign and is promising development. He has promised to promote organic farming along with micro financing, however, the focus still remains on the region that has never seen any MLA from the constituency.
For the first time, both national parties have fielded their candidates from the same region, Palli Gard. Mahaveer Rangad from the BJP belongs to Lalotna village and Manmohan Singh Mall is from a neighbouring village, Bangaar.
The other candidates, Mohan Lal Nirala from the BSP, Gulab Singh Rawat, Usha Panwar, Devendar Chamoli and Yashvir Arya, who do not have much clout in the region, are also trying to galvanise the support of voters from the areas they represent using similar means.
Praveen Uniyal from Kempty village said national parties have failed to provide any relief to them and this time he was pinning his hopes on Rajesh Nautiyal to solve the problems of the constituency.
Ramesh Rawat from the Thauldhar region believes that the treatment meted out by the Congress to the leader from their region, Jot Singh Bisht, has raised awareness among them and this time they were supporting him. The officials of major political parties have termed such tactics as dangerous for the democracy. Youth Congress leader from the region Bittoo Kavi was of the view that such issues do not last long and the educated voter of the region would realise that by raising caste and regional sentiments, the Independent candidates could fool voters for short time but in the long run, the issues would outplay any other aspiration.

Gadkari shielding corrupt Uniyal, alleges Cong nominee Gunsola

Mussoorie, January 24
Congressmen from Mussoorie, livid at the statements made by BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, alleging corruption in the Congress-led UPA Government, counter-attacked by pointing out sharing of the same dais by Gadkari with tainted BJP municipal council president OP Uniyal during his election visit to Mussoorie yesterday.
The Congress members from Mussoorie, reacting to Gadkari’s remark on corruption, said that he was trying to shield the rampant corruption committed by his government in the state and was levying baseless allegations to hide his frustration as maximum members of the BJP Cabinet in the state themselves were under the scanner over several charges of corruption.
Nitin Gadkari had stated that Congress was mother of corruption in the country and 2G and Adarsh housing scams were living examples of it where many Congress leaders had been arrested and sent to jail.
Following the remarks made by Gadkari, the Congress members from Mussoorie stepped up the counter-attack on the issue of corruption against BJP. Congress party took Gadkari to task by pointing out his sharing of dais with BJP municpal council president OP Uniyal.
The Mussoorie Congress general seceratary, Javed Khan, raised question over Nitin Gadkari sharing the same dais with the corrupt BJP municipal council president while campaigning for Ganesh Joshi yesterday.
The Congress nominee from Mussoorie Assembly segment, Jot Singh Gunsola, also said that Gadkari by sharing the dais with corrupt Uniyal, who is facing a CBI enquiry on the charges of rampant corruption, showed the two-faced character of BJP, which was raising the issue only on surface.
Gunsola further said that Gadkari, by giving a clean chit to Nishank on the charges of Kumbh Mela and Citurgia scams, proved that BJP intentions on the issue of corruption were only cosmetic.
When contacted, the local unit BJP president Roop Singh Kathait clarified that MC president OP Uniyal had not been indicted as yet on any charges of corruption. The CBI enquiry was also being conducted on the whole issue and, moreover, Uniyal was a party worker and had every right to attend the meeting of the party, added Kathait. He also said that no person could be treated as a criminal before his guilt was proven and the Congress, just to save its face, was raising the issue unnecessarily to gain points in the elections.
It is worth mentioning that a section of BJP workers had also questioned the presence of tainted MC president during the election campaign earlier to the extent of leaving the party. The CBI enquiry was ordered by the High Court on the charges of corruption and nepotism against Uniyal a few months back. 

Polling option for voters

Dehradun, January 24
Voters would be able to record the option of “none of the above candidates” by filing the register kept at the poll booths. Chief Electoral Officer, Uttarakhand, Radha Raturi has said that in view of the Vidhan Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India has communicated relevant provisions regarding electors who decide to opt for the option of rejection of candidates.
She said that Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, provides that the presiding officer can register the entry in Form 17A of the voter by putting his thumb impression or his signature against such remark.
The CEO said that the provision has already been explained during the training of poll personnel. These instructions have also been brought to the notice of all election-related officials, especially the presiding officers and polling officers, during the ensuing elections for strict compliance of the prescribed procedure regarding electors who decide not to cast votes after signing in Form 17A.
She said that the instructions were being issued in view of complaints from several quarters that the polling personnel were not aware of the procedure in this regard, resulting in confusion in the polling station and inconvenience to the electors.
Raturi said that the commission had directed that the number of electors who decided to opt for the option of “none of the above,” invoking the provisions of the said Rule 49 O should be compiled for record purposes. The figures regarding the number of such electors will be indicated in Form 17C (Account of votes recorded).

38 Jammu students visit Raj Bhavan

State Governor Margaret Alva with a group of students from Jammu and Kashmir at Raj Bhawan in
State Governor Margaret Alva with a group of students from
Jammu and Kashmir at Raj Bhawan in Dehradun on Tuesday.
Dehradun, January 24
A group of 38 students from Jammu and Kashmir visited the Raj Bhavan today as part of ‘Sadbhavna Yatra’ organised for them by the Army. The group was led by Maj Ashok Bhandari of Rashtriya Rifles. Governor Margaret Alva welcomed the students and also interacted with them. She shared educative experiences of her life with them and asked them to share their dreams and plans for the future with her.
She also urged the students to rise above the barriers of caste, religion and language and work for the progress of the country.
Alva spoke to them about the democratic traditions of India and the importance of exercising one’s franchise. The students presented patriotic songs and songs related to the beauty of Kashmir. The Governor also told them about the natural splendour and rich culture of Uttarakhand.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plea to keep legal education out of Bill

New Delhi, January 23
The Bar Council of India (BCI) today submitted a memorandum to Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal, urging him to keep the legal education out of the purview of the proposed Higher Education and Research Bill 2011.
Taking legal education away from the BCI, which was regulating it now, and bringing it under a super regulator of the HRD ministry would have an adverse impact on the autonomy of the council and the universities providing such education, the memorandum said.
BCI chairman Ashok Parija told reporters that the council and its state bodies were committed to opposing the controversial clauses of the Bill. Office bearers of the council and the state units had a meeting and resolved to prevent the government from interfering with the autonomy of the legal profession and the Advocates Act, he said.
Lekh Raj Sharma, Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, said there was no way the advocates would allow the government to tinker with the Advocates Act or facilitate the entry of foreign law firms into India. 

Lakhs take dip in Ganga on Somvati Amavasya

Devotees from various states take a holy dip in the Ganga and offer prayers in Haridwar on Monday.
Devotees from various states take a holy dip in the
Ganga and offer prayers in Haridwar on Monday.

Haridwar, January 23
On the pious occasion of Somwati Amawasya, lakhs took a holy dip at Brahamkund, Har-ki-Pauri and adjacent ghats of the holy river Ganga.
Since the wee hours of the morning, devotees started thronging the Ganga ghats despite chilling, foggy conditions prevalent in the region.
But soon the foggy weather paved way for a bright sunshine, making the event more spiritual.
Devotees from various parts of the states took a holy dip and offered prayers to the Ganga and Sun God .
Pilgrims from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and even far-off states such as Rajasthan and Bengal were seen in Haridwar.
In view of the festive bath, elaborate security arrangements were in place with the whole core mela zone of Har-ki-Pauri divided into five zones and 13 sectors.
Haridwar police chief Pushkar Sailal, city Superintendent of Police Dr Yogendra Singh Rawat and traffic chief Dr Kiran Lal Shaw monitored the whole day proceedings.
Nodal security officer Shahjahan Javed Khan said by evening almost a million took holy bathe in the Ganga and people were seen pouring in later.
In view of a heavy rush, the Railways and city roadways depot had put on additional coaches and buses to ferry the pilgrims coming from different party of the country.

Saffron party incapable of ruling: Rahul

Rishikesh, January 23
In his second phase of election campaigning in Garhwal division of the state, today Congress national general secretary Rahul Gandhi came out strongly on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance tenure and also at the current BJP government in the state.
Addressing a huge rally in Rishikesh, Rahul said the saffron party actually didn’t know how to govern and that is why when the elections were nearing, it tried to bank on ‘media advertisements' to put a veil on its corrupt governance.
He also related the failed ‘Indian Shining’ attempt with the current BJP’s promotional election media campaign titled ‘Khanduri Hai zaroori’ and said they were fake attempts to fool the people. On ground reality, no development had been taken place, he said.
He had a dig at Khanduri by saying, ”If Khanduri is so ‘zaroori’ (essential) for us and the BJP, then why the party replaced him 2 years ago? Back then he was sidelined by the BJP and now just before elections they deem him imperative. It is only done to come back to power and fill their coffers once again from public funds,” said the Amethi parliamentarian.
“They (BJP) are saying that Khanduri is essential, but we (the Congress) know that ‘rail’ (130 km long Rishikesh-Karanprayag railway network) is more imperative to people of the state,” added Rahul, who had done his schooling from Uttarakhand.
Blaming the BJP state government for not properly implementing the central funded schemes, Rahul said even the Rs 700 crore for Maha Kumbh were gulped down by the Nishank government.
Terming the ambitious Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act as a face-changing scheme in the rural India, he said if respective state governments ensure its corruption-free implementation, then there would be no one in villages without a job in hand.
Terming the UPA government as a government of ‘Aam Aadmi, Rahul said be it presenting of Lokpal Bill, Food Security Bill, the Right to Information Act or the UID-Aadhaar card, the Central Government was doing every bit to ensure common man’s benefit.
Union Minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat and state party chief Yashpal Arya also addressed the rally.
Dehradun, January 23
During his second leg of electioneering in the hill state of Uttarakhand, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for alleged corruption scandals in looting the state coffers and treachery with the trust of the common man.
Addressing his first election meeting at Srinagar, Garhwal, Rahul said the BJP decided to change guard in Uttarakhand just before the Assembly elections to cover up for the wrongdoings of its state government under the previous Chief Minister.
Commenting on the BJP slogan of “Khanduri Hai Zaroori”, Rahul Gandhi said Khanduri was indeed needed by the BJP to cover up the acts of “thieves.”
“Khanduri is needed because the thieves need a cover-up (Khanduri isliye zaroori hai kyonki chron ko chhupna hai),” he said. He further said the BJP which had been talking about corruption had turned a blind eye to the corruption in the BJP-ruled states of Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttarakhand. He also mentioned about tainted BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha’s entry into the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
He said the corruption had left Uttarakhand behind since the state BJP government has failed to utilise the funds given by the Central Government under various schemes. Rahul called upon the voters to bring in Congress government in the state for its overall development.
In Rishikesh, in a bid to puncture the ruling BJP's pro-Khanduri campaign, he asked why the current Chief Minister was removed in his earlier stint if he was so badly needed now.
"The BJP may need Khanduriji but people of the state don't need him. They need development. I want to ask the BJP if he (Khanduri) is so badly needed then why he was removed (in 2009)," asked Rahul, addressing an election rally here.

Plant trees, take support in return, says NGO

Dehradun, January 23
Citizens for Green Doon (CGD), an NGO, devoted to the cause of environment, has pledged to support those candidates in the elections who would abide by the five conditions laid down by it.
Dr Nitin Pandey, its president, said the candidate who would swear into planting 1,000 trees, set up one park and ensure its proper maintenance, one toilet, 1,000 solar street lights and remove encroachment in his/her segment each year, the members of CGD would lend their unequivocal support to that candidate and help them in campaigning also.
Pandey rued that none of the political parties made environment an issue in their manifestoes. He said the city was stricken with several environment-related problems, which required to be resolved. He said his organisation had made this endeavour to catch the attention of the candidates.

Adhere to road safety rules, says IGP

Chandigarh, January 23
Emphasising the theme of “Accidents bring tears, safety brings cheers”, the UT traffic police today concluded the 23rd Road Safety Week amidst a colourful programme by schoolchildren at the Tagore Theatre in Sector 18.
A street play by an NGO, “Aavahan”, was the highlight of the closing ceremony, as performers exhibited significance of complying with traffic rules and hazards of drunken driving through an enactment.
Students of DAV School, Sector 15, performed a cultural programme on the occasion. Inspector General of Police (IGP) PK Srivastava, who was the chief guest, said the police had tightened its grip around drunken drivers and over 50 persons are challaned in a day when their special drives are held during weekends. He appealed to the general public to adhere to the road safety rules.
Besides, prizes were given to winners of various activities held during the week, including painting competition, blood donation camp, training workshops for TSR drivers, heavy and light drivers, and rickshaw pullers.
The Road Safety Week is observed in January every year all over the country to inculcate the culture of road safety among the citizens.
During this Road Safety Week, different cultural and other activities were also organised by educational institutions, social organisations, corporate organisation, transport department, traffic police and other socially conscious citizens in order to raise the level of awareness on road safety, which included a seven-day road safety exhibition at the Sector-17 Plaza, a scooter rally by girl students to promote wearing of safety helmet, road safety workshops for auto drivers, rickshaw pullers, school bus drivers, bus and truck drivers, trauma response workshop for PCR and traffic police personnel, conference on road safety and traffic management, regular public announcement on road safety on major light points/intersections and penal discussion on road safety at All-India Radio and BIG FM to raise the level of awareness on road safety.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Red wine researcher charged with falsifying data

A University of Connecticut researcher known for hyping the health benefits of red wine has been accused of at least 145 instances of fabricating and falsifying data with image-editing software, according to a three-year investigation made public by the university Jan. 11.

The researcher, Dr. Dipak K. Das, is director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut and a professor in the department of surgery.

Some of Das' articles, as many as 26 in 11 journals, have reported positive effects from resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine thought to increase longevity in laboratory animals.

The university said in a press release that it has frozen all externally funded research in the Indian American researcher's lab and will return a total of $890,000 in two new federal grants awarded to Das by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The university also said it has initiated proceedings to fire Das, who has tenure.

A special review board set up by the University of Connecticut allegedly found evidence of fraud in published papers dating from 2002 and in three grant applications. The findings of a 60,000-page report have been sent to 11 journals that originally published the articles for possible retractions.

The probe of Das began in January 2009, two weeks after the university received an anonymous allegation about irregularities in his lab. The U.S. Office of Research Integrity also told the university in 2008 about alleged fraud in a 2007 article in Free Radical Biology and Medicine and co-authored by Das.

The ORI is now conducting its own probe of Das' research, the university said. Other members of the CRC research team are also under investigation by the university.

"We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country," Philip Austin, interim vice president of health affairs at the University of Connecticut, said in a statement.

Das had not been reached for comment at his university e-mail by press deadline. Several reports said that he is in India. Das said in a letter to the university after being made aware of the report last May that he believes he is being singled out for blame because he is Indian American.

Das alleged in the letter that the accusations against him are part of an effort to rid the university of the "Indian community," since most of those being investigated are Indian American researchers.

"I became the Devil for the Health Center, and so did all the Indians working for me," he wrote. "The evidence for conspiracy and racial hatred is overwhelming."

Das also indicated serious health problems that he attributed to the investigation.

"If you remember, you handed me a report in an envelope [May 10] at 4:12 p.m. in your office," Das wrote to one university official. "As I was extremely sick and I had to undergo treatments until this week. Only yesterday, I got chance to open it, and found a 60,000 pages of electronic documents that need to be addressed within four days."

"As you can realize it is humanly impossible, and totally impossible for a man in my condition. As you know, because of the development of tremendous amount of stress in my work environment in recent months, I became a victim of stroke for which I am undergoing treatment. My right side is affected that restricts my mobility, I suffered several hemorrhages within my brain, and I have brain ischemia/scar, epilepsy and many other complications that prevent me working continuously."

"I consulted my physicians and lawyers and according to them just to read the document may need more than a year. Analysis of the document from the computer results in tremendous stress and likely to cause hemorrhage. The major problem is I don't even remember what happened approximately 10 years ago and who did what, as most of our original documents since 1970 [last 40 years] were confiscated/destroyed by the vice president of the Health Center..." reported Jan. 17 that they had reached Das in India, where he said he is hospitalized after suffering another stroke. He reiterated his accusations of racial bias and added that "six more Indians" are on the university's "hit list." The accusations, he added, "are all a bunch of lies and Indians are being framed. I happen to be the chief."

University of Connecticut spokesman Chris De Francisco said the university was aware of the racial accusations, but had no comment while dismissal proceedings against Das are underway. He confirmed that the investigation of other researchers in the lab is ongoing.

The review board in its report cited "a pervasive attitude of disregard within CRC for commonly accepted scientific practices in the publication and reporting of research data...Given the large number of irregularities discovered in this investigation...the (review board) can only conclude that they were the result of intentional acts of data falsification and fabrication, designed to deceive."

The alleged fraud involved images of "blots" obtained through gel electrophoresis featured in article figures, Medscape Medical News said. Most figures showed Western blots, designed to study proteins.

Using Photoshop software as a forensic tool, the review board determined dozens of images showed evidence of inappropriate manipulation by "photo imaging software."

The most egregious examples were pasted-up "artificial blots" that "bear no resemblance to any legitimate experiment" and represent total fabrications, the report said.

The report said there were also background erasures, image duplications and images spliced together. Splicing blot images is allowed, but researchers must detail such manipulations, a practice not followed by Das in his articles, Medscape News said.

The report said that as head of the lab and senior author of all but one of the articles, Das "bears principal responsibility for the fabrication and/or falsification that occurred."

The report quoted Das' response saying that he doesn't know who prepared the figures that appeared in the journal articles. It also said he has provided "no substantive information" that could explain the research irregularities.

Resveratrol Partners, a company marketing a resveratrol-based dietary supplement called Longevinex, said in a press release that Das "is attending a scientific conference in India and has not been able to respond to the allegations," Medscape News reported.

Resveratrol Partners' Web site highlights some of Das's studies on the cardiovascular benefits of resveratrol. The company's managing partner Bill Sardi said Das doesn't have any business dealings with the firm and other researchers have confirmed the value of Longevinex, Medscape News added.

The New York Times said last week that the charges, if verified, are unlikely to affect the field of resveratrol research, because Das' work was peripheral to its central claims, several of which are in contention.

"Today I had to look up who he is," David Sinclair, a leading resveratrol expert at the Harvard Medical School, told the Times. "His papers are mostly in specialty journals."

The development, however, could influence research grants. Das was able to get large awards despite the low visibility and lack of rigorousness of his research.

Renate Myles, a spokeswoman for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, told the Times that scientific misconduct "can go undetected for a length of time even under the most rigorous systems of research oversight and review."

The Times said that Das appears in 588 articles listed in Google Scholar, "though some may be by other researchers with the same name and initials."
Courtesy: Richard Springer

Uttrakhand, India

Uttrakhand also known as Uttaranchal is a beautiful place lying in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. It comprised of two regions, the western half known as Garhwal and the eastern region going by the name of Kumaon, the two having different chieftains in history and different lingual and cultural influences due to proximity and neighbourhood of different cultures. Inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language and traditions, however, have formed strong bondages between the two regions. The place is bless with nature, you can find so many gorgeous landscaping, enchanting rivers, magnificent countryside, exotic hill stations a and honest and hospitable people. 

 - Uttrakhand became the 28th state of the Republic of India on November 9, 2000. Uttrakhand is attached with China in the north and Nepal to the east, and it shares it boundaries with Himachal Pradesh in the west and Uttar Pradesh in the south. In past this state was a part of Uttar Pradesh. The region is traditionally referred to as Uttarakhand in old literature and scriptures which derives from the Sanskrit for North Country.

The provisional capital of Uttrakhand is Dehra Dun which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region. The small hamlet of Gairsen has been mooted as the future capital owing to its geographic centrality but controversies and lack of resources have led Dehra Dun to be the provisional capital. The High Court of the state is in Nainital. Uttrakhand is a region of outstanding natural beauty. Most of the northern parts of the state are part of Greater Himalaya ranges, covered by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers, while the lower foothills were densely forested till denuded by the British log merchants and forest contractors after independence. Recent efforts in forestation, however, have been successful in restoring the situation to some extent. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India's mightiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttrakhand, and are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams in the region.

Tourism industry is the back bone of Uttrakhand's economy. Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve and the nearby hill-stations like Nainital and Bhimtal and several other hill-stations such as Mussoorie, Almora and Ranikhet being among the most frequented destinations of India.

To this region also belong some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for almost 2000 years now, pilgrims have been visiting the temples at Haridwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Jageshwar in the hope of salvation and purification from sin. Rishikesh near Haridwar has the major spiritual and yoga centers of India. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the Ganges and Yamuna also fall in this region and are revered by many. Besides these most popular pilgrim centers, the state has an abundance of temples and shrines, references to most of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends. The architecture of most of these temples is typical of the region and slightly different from other parts of India, the ancient temples at Jageshwar being the most popular for their architectural importance.

Recent developments in the region include initiatives by the state government to capitalise on the burgeoning tourist trade as well as tax incentives to lure high-tech industry to the state. The state also has big-dam projects, controversial and often criticised in India, such as the very large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi-Bhilangana rivers, conceived in 1953 and about to to reach completion.
Major Travel Destinations in Uttrakhand

>>  Almora
>>  Ananda
>>  Auli
>>  Binsar
>>  Corbett
>>  Dehradun
>>  Haridwar
>>  Kausani
>>  Mussoorie
>>  Nainital
>>  Near Nainital
>>  Ranikhet
>>  Rishikesh
>>  Near Rishikesh

Refer Map of Uttrakhand


Dehradun, a city situated in the newly formed state of Uttaranchal. Dehradun is one of the oldest cities in India its reference is even fiven in the written that dates back to 250 BC even the great king Ashoka's inscriptions can be found outside the city. There are 14 edicts carved on a rock and the site where three horses were sacrificed by Raja Shilvarma of the Vrisheri dynasty. Large bricks with writing on them are laid out in the shape of a huge bird with a fire altar in the middle.

In the ancient Vedic times, the Garhwal Mandal, of which Dehradun is a part, was known as the Kedar Khand. Legend has it that Guru Dronacharaya, a Brahmin teacher of warfare, found Dehradun a place that was fit for meditation & worship and therefore, the valley of Doon was christened Drona Ashram, which means "The Abode of Drona". Perhaps that is why Indian army trains its finest cadets in the Indian Millitary Academy that is situated in this part of the state.

Dehradun has always been famous for various educational institutes that are present in the city. Its close proximity from the bustling city of Delhi and another tourist attraction Mussoorie adds to the attraction of the city. Its mild climate and the list of endless places to visit in the city makes it an important tourist attraction.

By Air - The nearest airport from Dehradun is the Jolly Grant around 25 km away, on the outskirts of the town. There is a daily flight from here to Delhi, which is the nearest international airport.

By Rail - Dehradun is a major railhead on the Northern Railway line with direct trains to almost all the metropolitan cities of India and some important tourist destinations in Uttaranchal. The Shatabdi Express is the best option for the tourists coming from Delhi and the other good option is the Mussorie Express. The Dehradun-Mumbai Express connects the city to Mumbai. There are also trains to Varanasi, Kolkata and Lucknow.

By Road - Dehradun is well connected to other cities of Uttaranchal and Delhi with regular bus services. Distances of some major cities from Dehradun are Agra 381 km, Calcutta 1562 km, Chennai 2365 km, Delhi 235 km, Jaipur 493 km, Lucknow 582 km, and Mumbai 1578 km. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.


Dehradun can be traveled round the year. but its better to plan your tour between April to August, as this is the most ideal time for all visitors.
Rajaji National Park -  is distinct for its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio- diversity. Rajaji National Park in the state of Uttranchal is situated along the hills and foothills of Shivalik ranges in the Himalayan foothills and exhibits the Shivalik ecosystem. Rajaji is one of northern India’s major wildlife reserves - and one of the best places to see the fauna and flora of the terai region. The park named after the great freedom fighter Late Sri C. Rajgopalachari; popularly known as "Rajaji" was created after joining the three sanctuaries in the Western UP, Shivaliks - Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla into a large protected area in the year 1983.Elephant Rides are conducted in morning and eveningIn Rajaji you will see as many as 23 species of mammals and 315 birds species.

Forest Research Institute - On the Kaulagarh Road, northwest of the city center is the Forest Research Institute. Established by the British in 1906, the institute is dedicated to the preservation of India's varied and much-threatened flora and fauna. Located in extensive grounds covered with myriad species of India's forest wealth, it is the biggest forest based product-training institute and the training school for all forest officers in India.

Tapkeshwar Temple - Situated in the Garhi Cantonment area, 5.5 km from the city center is the Tapkeshwar Mahadev temple. It is a cave temple, on the banks of a seasonal river, dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the only significant temple in Dehradun. Beside he river are steps that lead to a cave in which water drips from the ceiling on a shivling. It is after the dripping that the temple has derived its name 'Tapkeshwar'. Legends connect this temple to the time of the Mahabharat when, it is believed, Lord Shiva made milk flow from this cave for Ashwathama, the son of Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of both the Kauravas and Pandavas

Tapovan - Tapovan is a sacred site about five km from the city center on the Dehradun-Rajpur Road. The place is located in the picturesque Doon valley and according to popular belief, Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of warfare to the Kauravas and Pandavas, underwent his penance here.

Malsi Deer Park -  At the foothills of the Shivalik range, about 10 km from Dehradun on the road leading to Mussorie, a new tourist spot named the Malsi Deer park has been developed. The park with its deer, neelgai, and a variety of birds makes it an ideal excursion site. It also serves as a picnic spot where the tourists en route to Mussorie can take a break. A mini-zoo with a children's park and lovely natural surroundings do their bit to attract tourists of all age groups.

Robbers Cave - Also known as Guchu Pani, and situated at a distance of eight km from the city center, Robbers cave is a beautiful picnic spot. On display here is one of natures strange phenomena; a stream of water goes underground here and reappears a few meters away. The cave is surrounded by hills and is a beautiful getaway for those looking for peace and quiet of the hills. Buses are available up to the nearby Anarwala village, from where the caves are only a kilometer away.

Sahastradhara - Around 14 km from Dehradun is the cold Sulphur water spring called Sahastradhara. The spring is believed to have exceptional medicinal value and the dripping caves and a bath in the Baldi River near the spring are said to rejuvenate the body and soul. Many people come to the spring in the hope of being cured from polio and other such ailments.

Asan Barrage -  Popularly known as Dhalipur Lake, Asan Barrage, created in 1967, was developed By Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), as a water sports complex in 1994.

Skiing at Mundali - Located in the Dehradun district of Uttar Pradesh, Mundali is 129 kms from Dehradun via Chakrata Dak Pathar Under the Yamuna Hydel Scheme, Dak Pathar has emerged as a tourist spot which boasts of lush green lawns and blooming gardens. It is 45 Kms. situated on Dehradun - Chakrata road and is connected by regular bus service. A tourist bungalow and few hotels are available

Lakhamandal - About 80 Kms. from Mussoorie on Mussoorie - Yamnotri road Lakhamandal is believed to be the place where Duryodhana of Mahabharat episode conspired to burn alive the Pandavas in the Lakshyagriha a house specially constructed with shellac. There is a temple believed to be constructed in the eighth century with a number of carved figures on stone which are of archaeological significance. Taxis are available at Mussoorie for visiting the place.

There are many good restaurants which serves delicious pure vegetarian food as well.