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Friday, March 23, 2012

After 17 years, Navratras to last 10 days

Haridwar, March 23
After a gap of 17 years, the Navratras, which commenced from today, will be of 10 days as compared to nine days of the fast. This happened in 1995 when the Navratras were of 10 days. While today the Chaitra Navratras began they will conclude on April 1 on Ram Navami, the day of birth of Lord Rama.
As 2012 is a Leap Year, in Hindu calendar a day of ‘Shraddh’ gets lessened while an additional day is added in the Navratras.
The fifth Navratra day will be observed for two days i.e on April 27th and 28th which is known as ‘Panchami’. Noted astrologist Pundi Prateek Mishrapuri said the fasts and rituals observed during the Navratras have deep significance and those who feed five young girls on the fifth Navratra got their sins burnt.
Meanwhile, on the first day of the Navratra, the devotees thronged temples from the wee hours of the morning after taking a holy dip in the Ganga. Devotees lined up at the shrines of Mansa Devi, Chandi Devi, Maya Devi, Sureshwari Devi, Mata Vaishno Devi, Siddhpeeth Kalipeethadheeshwar and other temples and ashrams in the city to perform prayers.
Kalash filled with the Ganga water were also kept at temples and homes too.
People also observed fast while many will observe it for 10 days. As the Navratras will conclude on Ram Navami day, at many places in the city, Ram Kathas have also begun, where kathavachaks from Ayodhya, Mathura and from the city itself speak on the life and teachings of Lord Rama.

Rich tributes paid to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev on Balidan Divas

Senior BJP leader Ravinder Jugran addresses a gathering on Balidan Divas in Mussoorie
Senior BJP leader Ravinder Jugran addresses a gathering on Balidan Divas in Mussoorie on Friday.

Mussoorie, March 23
Eminent social activists, historians and environmentalists observed Balidan Divas and paid rich tributes in a seminar held at Mussoorie today to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who attained martyrdom during the struggle for freedom on March 23,1931. The seminar was organised under the aegis of social organisation Sarva Bhavantu Sukhina at the Municipal Council premises at around 11am.
The chief guest on the occasion senior BJP leader Ravinder Jugran, along with eminent historian Gopal Bhardwaj, environmentalist Vipin Gupta and social activist Amit Bhatt, lighting the ceremonial lamp in memory of the martyrs, said that the sacrifice of the martyrs known and unknown cannot easily be forgotten in Indian Freedom Struggle.
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, the three revolutionaries, were pioneers in shaping the country's future through their thoughts that are relevant even today.
Jugran, speaking on the occasion, said that it was Bhagat Singh who had said "mere freedom from the British is no freedom; it is worth only when the farmer earns his pride, the workers earn their dignity and the country remains united." This was the basis of the path of freedom on which the country required to tread after gaining Independence.
Ravinder Jugran was of the view that the life and struggle of such martyrs should be incorporated in the school syllabus of government and public schools alike so that children are inspired by their
thoughts and resolve to build the nation according to dreams envisaged by the martyrs.
The eminent historian, Gopal Bhardwaj, remembering the period under British Raj, said that during that period the Indians did not have the freedom that existed today and one should thank the martyrs
for providing us this life where we can express ourselves freely.
Eminent environmentalist Vipin Gupta, speaking on the occasion, said that the people from metropolitan cities were not aware of the sacrifice made by freedom fighters and the need was to educate them through such programmes as held today. He also said that political class has failed
miserably infulfilling the dreams for which the martyrs had laid their lives during the struggle for Independence due to their individual interests. He appealed to people take inspiration from the lives of martyrs and try to become responsible citizens of the country.
Eminent educationist Anuj Tayal, Roop Chand Sharma and municipal council president OP Uniyal also addressed the gathering on the occasion.
The volunteers from Sarva Bahvantu Sukhina organisation rendered several patriotic songs on the occasion that were much appreciated by the audience.
Lalit Mohan Kala, the coordinator of the programme, said that the youth should learn from the life of the martyrs and dedicate their lives for the service of the nation.
DEHRADUN: Members of the Uttaranchal Punjabi Mahasabha, Dehrdaun, organised a march to pay tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on Shaheed Divas at the Clock Tower here today. Harish Narang, general secretary of the mahasabha, said: "I feel proud to be an Indian and lucky to be a part of this march."
Meanwhile, the Naujawan Uttarakhand Sabha paid tributes to the martyrs by playing patriotic songs on the occasion.

Dist Magistrate reviews development works

Mussoorie, March 23
District Magistrate (DM), Dehradun, Dilip Javalkar, directed the officials from various departments to complete all pending works before the Chief Secretary's meeting scheduled for April 9 at the development works review meeting held in Mussoorie today.
He also attended the hospital management committee meeting at St Mary's Hospital at Kulri Bazaar earlier in the day, where he directed the health officials to ensure the availability of the medicines on a regular basis.
DM Dilip Javalkar arrived in the town around 11am and inspected the condition of St Marys Hospital in Kulri Bazaar. He also discussed the annual budget with the health officials and assured them that funds would be arranged for the upgradation of the hospital through various sources.
Chief Superintendent Sandeep Tandon apprised the DM about the shortage of specialist doctors in the hospital at St.Mary's and the Civil Hospital.
The DM directed CMO, Dehradun, KC Pant, to arrange specialist doctors such as cardiologist, orthopedic and ENT specialists from Dehradun, who would be rendering their services once every month. He also directed the officials to fill the vacant posts in the hospital.
Municipal council president OP Uniyal, who is also the member of the hospital management committee, suggested that the additional chambers be constructed at the roof of the hospital so that the doctors have enough area for attending the patients in St.Mary's Hospital. The DM also enquired about the pace of construction for the proposed Combined Medical Hospital in Landour Bazaar and directed them to complete the job at the scheduled time.
Later, Dilip Javalkar, in the review meeting held at SDM's office, reviewed the pace of development works and the condition of hygiene and cleanliness in the tourist town of Mussoorie.
Taking stock of the development works being carried out by the PWD, Municipal Council, Electricity, Jal Sansthan and Tourism Departments and other departments such as Jal Nigam. The DM directed all officials sternly to work round the clock and complete all the pending works before April 9.
He also reviewed the status of parking space in the town and directed the tourism officials to begin the process of constructing a parking space for the vehicles at the land available near Library Bazaar that is owned by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. He directed the Electricity Department to complete the work of shifting the electricity poles from the roads that have been widened by the PWD.
The DM reviewed the ongoing sewage project being executed by Pey Jal Nigam under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and beautification projects being carried out by the Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA).
He directed the tourism officials to upgrade and beautify the trekking route from Jharipani to Shenshai Ashram within 15 days.
Javalkar directed the municipal council officials to ensure that all the dustbins were covered as the open containers attract stray animals who scattered the garbage around.
Later, speaking to the media, Dilp Jawalkar said that the Jal Santhan had also been directed to ensure continuous supply of drinking water in the town during the tourist season. He sought a complete report from all departments before April 9 so that it can be presented in the Chief Secretary’s meeting scheduled for April 9.
Municipal Council president OP Uniyal, speaking to the media, said that he was extremely satisfied with the discussion held at a meeting here as all issues were discussed in detail. He thanked the DM for approving several development projects on priority basis.
He thanked Tourism Secretary BS Sandhu for considering proposals of developing and upgrading of tourist areas such as Bhatta Fall and Jharipani Fall worth Rs 1.5 crore.
The officials from various departments were present on the occasion.

160 events scheduled for technical festival

Dehradun , March 23
Cognizance 2012, the annual technical festival, started at IIT, Roorkee, today. The second largest festival of Indian technical institutes spread its wings for three days starting from March 23. More than 160 technical events are scheduled in three days, which include discussions, presentations and workshops by various colleges from all over the country.
Inaugurating the festival, the Director, IIT, Roorkee, Professor Banerjee, said that every country needs a developed society and a well developed technical infrastructure. He further said that England today stands as super power in the industrial revolution, and on the other side Germany has skilled itself in technology. America is a developed economic power because of its expertise in computer technology and nano technology. “Technology is the only key for developing a country and it's society," said the Director, IIT.
The students today at IIT campus attended various events under which the main attraction remained were the Robo sapiens, which included autonomous and manual robots. The students went glued on seeing the award winning model of a steam engine designed by Iqbal, professional model designer of Nagpur. A class IX dropout, Iqbal displayed his model weighing 1.72 gram, fly wheel measuring just 6.8 mm (0.267 inch) and is called “thumbnail” steam engine. Today he holds the world record for constructing this smallest working stationary steam engine, which had its entry into the Guinness Book of World Record in 2001.

Graphic Era win by 2 wickets

Dehradun, March 23
Graphic Era won by 2 wickets against the Halex (A) team in a match in the 60th Dehradun District Cricket League here today. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, the Halex (A) team acored 203 runs. Shoib was the highest scorer with 64 runs. Manmohan of Graphic Era took 3 wickets in his 6 over spell.
Graphic Era easily got to the target score, thereby ensuring 2-wicket win for itself.
Debanshu scored the highest runs (42) for Graphic Era. Arun of Halex (A) took 4 wickets.

Conference on trends in energy engg

Dehradun, March 23
A two-day All India National Conference on ‘The emerging trends in energy engineering’ began at the Dehradun Institute of Technology (DIT) here today. The conference aims at providing a common platform to researchers, academicians and industrial experts to share their knowledge and expertise in the field of energy engineering and formulate recommendations for the implementation by stakeholders.
The conference is being jointly organised by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and the Uttarakhand State Council for Science and Technology (UCOST). The event would witness participation of experts, researchers, scientists, professors and students from all across the country.
Dr Krishna Kumar, Executive-Director, DIT, said, “Modern world is unimaginable without energy. It is of paramount importance that adequate efforts should be made to increase the generation of energy to cope up with the rapid expansion of the industrial sector. Research in the field of generation and management of energy is the need of the hour. Therefore, we are organising this conference to provide a platform to experts and researchers in the multidisciplinary fields to meet and discuss the related issues and challenges,” he added.
Dr JS Raini, an expert in thermal energy and a faculty at DIT, asserted that the conference would draw excellent response from researchers from all over the country. “35 research papers out of 100 have been selected to be presented at the conference. These research papers are related to engineering areas, including energy resources, energy efficiency and management, heat transfer and fluid flow, energy storage and many others. The convention would serve as a useful forum for the exchange of ideas and views of technical experts and students,” he emphasised.

Cultural event marks Fraternity Week celebrations

Dehradun, March 23
The weeklong celebrations of Fraternity Week culminated at the Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Technology and Science here today. A large number of students participated in the cultural fiesta.
The programme began with the lighting of a ceremonial lamp by chief guest Raj Kumar, MLA Rajpur. It was followed by Saraswati Vandana and Ganesh Vandana.
Bhangra by Mandeep and Group and the Garhwali folk dance by Ragini and Group left the audience spellbound. The highlight of the day was a western dance.
The director of the institute, Prof SP Thapliyal, appreciated the enthusiasm and skills of students. He congratulated all his students and staff for their efforts and making the cultural week a succesful event.

Silk sari expo a big draw

Dehradun, March 23
The exquisite range of silk saris from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Assam and other parts of the country are attracting a huge crowd at the ongoing National Handloom Expo-2012 these days.
The exhibition organised by the Ministry of Textiles, Development Commissioner (Handlooms and Handicrafts) and the Uttarakhand Handloom and Handicraft Development Council (UHHDC) is on a display at Parade Ground.
The artisans from all across the country have gathered to showcase the traditional handicrafts of the country. The stall of silk saris has some unique collection in pure Malbari silk, Kalanjali, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Kantha, Patola, Mekhla and many more to attract women visitors.
“Our saris are in demand as we use quality products and take ample time in giving final touches to each piece. From Dehradun to other cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Kolkata, we have customers who know us for our hard work,” added Ramesh, an artisan.
Starting from Rs 2,000 in basic silk, there’s wedding collection up to one lakh with some intricate designs on brocade and Malbari saris.
According to SC Nautiyal, an officer from the UHHDC, “Our stall of silk saris is one of the centres of attraction in the expo. The myriad varieties, fabulous colour combinations and designs, depicting the age-old handwork of India’s tradition are attracting visitors in large number.” The expo will continue till April 8.

‘Weather watch group to benefit farm sector’

Dehradun, March 23
Setting up of mandatory crop weather watch group will greatly benefit Uttarakhand in increasing its agriculture yield in the state. This was stated by Director, Dehradun Meteorological Centre, Dr Anand Sharma, while interacting with the The Tribune on World Meteorological Organisation Day today.
He said several states of the country had the mandatory crop weather watch group that was proving useful for the agriculture sector.
The group that comprises stakeholders linked to agriculture like irrigation, power, seed resources, weather and others, holds regular meetings in order to have a look at all factors that affect the agriculture and take necessary measures. “The state needs to have such groups for strengthening its agriculture sector,” said Dr Sharma.
Referring to the role of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in the country, he said the IMD was providing services in almost every sector of the economy such as food security, transport, health, tourism, management of water energy and other resources in environment monitoring and protection, disaster management and in the sustainable development. “We have to make judicious use of the climate information and services to maximise benefits and minimise risks”, he said, adding that timely forecast in the state had helped prevent hazards from turning into disasters.
Dr Sharma also held that the centre had been receiving appreciation for its services from all quarters. “Very recently we received a letter of appreciation from Uttarakhand Chief Electoral Officer Radha Raturi for the weather forecast details provided to the commission in the recently concluded Assembly elections in the state,” he stated. He said even the External Affairs Ministry and Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force had lauded their services linked to weather forecast during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year.
Meanwhile, the meteorological centre was open today for students and general public as a part of the day. Students who visited the centre in big numbers were informed about various issues related to atmospheric sciences. They also had a look on the meteorological instruments.

New ministers take charge

Cabinet Minister Mantri Prasad Naithani (wearing a cap) performs a yajna in his office in Dehradun on Friday
Dehradun, March 23
Being the first day of the auspicious Navratras, newly appointed Cabinet Minister Amrita Rawat today took charge of her Vidhan Sabha office and performed a hawan.
Amrita Rawat, who was greeted by the Vidhan Sabha staff on her new assignment, reiterated her pledge to work for the betterment of society. She laid emphasis on the formulation of schemes that helped in empowerment of girl child. Amrita called upon the employees to develop a new work culture.
Other Cabinet Minister Surendra Singh Negi and Mantri Prasad Naithani too reached their respective Vidhan Sabha offices and performed special worship. Surendra Singh Negi said he was taking the Cabinet Ministership as part of his commitment to work for welfare of people of Uttarakhand. Mantri Prasad Naithani said he would work to ensure all round development of Uttarakhand.

Koteshwar hydro project synchronised with Northern Grid

Dehradun, March 23
The fourth unit (100 MW) of Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project (HEP) has been successfully synchronised with the Northern Grid. Koteshwar HEP will now add 400 MW of power to the Northern Grid. This 400 MW of power has come as a big relief for Northern India, which is already facing power shortage ahead of the summer season. The commissioning of all units of KHEP was scheduled in March 2012, and the same is achieved well in time with the synchronisation of this unit. Before this the third unit was also commissioned in January 2012 in line with the commissioning of Unit I and II in March 2011 as per schedule.
Energy of 581 Million Units (MU) is already generated from three units of KHEP against the target of 564 MU up to March 2012. It is expected that 600 MU of energy will be generated by the end of this month. With the successful commissioning of all four units of KHEP, the total installed capacity of Their Hydro Development Corporation India Limited (THDCIL) has now increased to 1400 MW.
With this (1000 MW), Tehri Hydro Power Project and (400 MW) Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project are fully operational and the work on (1000 MW) Tehri Power Station Project (PSP) is in progress. It is a run-of-the-river scheme which will generate 1234 MU of energy annually. The reservoir created by Koteshwar Dam having live storage capacity of 35 MCM will also function as lower (balancing)reservoir for Tehri PSP. This project will also regulate water releases from Tehri reservoir for irrigation purpose.

Devotees not allowed to visit temple in Rajaji park

The police stops people from entering Maa Chamunda Devi temple situated in the Rajaji National Park in Haridwar on Friday
The police stops people from entering Maa Chamunda Devi temple situated in the Rajaji National Park in Haridwar on Friday. Tribune photo: Rameshwar Gaur

Haridwar, March 23
Despite resistance by devotees to reach the shrine of Mata Chamunda Devi, which is situated in the protected area of Rajaji National Park, the park authorities, personnel of the Forest Department and the district police did not allow them to enter the park area today.
Notably, on the pious occasion of Navratras during the past few years local residents had been trying to take out a Kalash yatra up to the Mata Chamunda Devi shrine in the park area, but the park and forest authorities did not allow them to enter the park, citing forest laws.
Local people under the guidance of saints have formed a forum, Mata Chamunda Devi Sangarsh Samiti, to ensure that they are allowed to visit the shrine in the park.
This morning the samiti members, led by Laxman Das Moni Baba, started moving towards the park to pay obesiance at the shrine. The police was present in strength there.
Tibdi Forest Range Officer Mahendra Singh Negi, accompanied by SHO PC Mathpal and other forest officials, was monitoring the situation.
He tried to convice the devotees citing forest laws that they could not be allowed to enter the park.
Negi and other officals tried to tell the samiti members that a large number of rare animals and plants were found in the park zone and the movement of people harm these species. Unless they had legal permission they could not be allowed to enter the park to pay obeisance at the shrine.
While enraged devotees tried to forcefully enter the park, a saint gave anxious moments to the forest and police personnel as he was adamant on paying obesiance at the shrine.
The devotees said there were temples in the forest areas elsewhere, it was here that they were barred from performing prayers at the Mata Chamunda Devi shrine.
Forest officials said even the Archaeological Department in its report had not mentioned that the park area had an ancient temple.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Central Govt to promote tourism in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, March 22
The Union Tourism Ministry will prepare the road map for the development of the tourism in the state.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who met Union Tourism Minister Subhodh Kant Sahay at his residence in New Delhi, urged the Union Minister to formulate a big project around the Tehri lake and the surrounding sites to promote tourism and employment generation in the region. This project would also not spoil the environment, he stressed. While advocating for the promotion of tourism in Tehri, he said the lake could emerge as a mega tourism destination in the world.
In a congregation held with Tourism Ministers of various states of North India at Narender Nagar in Rishikesh in April last year, Sahay had proposed to give Rs 250 crore for the development of infrastructure in and around the Tehri lake.
Bahuguna said the state had a vast potential for the development of spiritual, adventure and eco-tourism in the state for which the state government would make big investment in this sector. 

7 Rawat loyalists to take oath soon

Congress has refused to bow to MLAs’ demand for Cabinet berth
Pithoragarh, March 22
Seven Congress MLAs from Almora Parliamentary constituency, who have not taken the oath as legislators, are likely to do so in a day or two as the Congress high command has refused to bow to their demand of Cabinet berths for senior party MLAs from the region, according to Congress party sources.

“We have been given signals to reach Dehradun to take the oath before March 26 as Harish Rawat does not want to create any harassment for the party government in the state,” said a senior MLA from New Delhi.
The newly elected Congress members belonging to the Harish Rawat camp are absent from their Assembly constituencies after being elected and have been lodged at different places in New Delhi.
Out of eight Congress MLAs won from the constituency, MLA Madan Singh Bisht from the Dwarahat seat has taken the oath in the Assembly. Seven belonging to the Harish Rawat camp are still camping in New Delhi to strike a deal before the start of the state Assembly session on March 26.
“All MLAs have been kept in different hotels in New Delhi till a deal to please the Rawat loyalists gets finalised as Harish Rawat has been facing pressure from these MLAs to get them top posts in the government if not Cabinet berth,” said the source.
According to the source, except four MLAs, Mayukh Singh Mahar from Pithoragarh, Narayan Ram from Gangolihat, Manoj Tiwari from Almora and Hemesh Kharkwal from Champawat, other MLAs are following the instructions of Rawat and Almora MP Pradeep Tamta in this connection.
“Out of these senior MLAs, Mayukh Singh Mahar has been offered the deputy chairmanship of the State Planning Commission and Narayan Ram was offered the post of parliamentary secretary attached with the Chief Minister which they have reportedly rejected,” said the source.
“We are not in mood to bring more harassment for the party high command and likely to take the oath before 26,“ said one of the legislators.
According to the sources close to Congress rebel Harish Rawat, the camp is a disappointed as only a few demands have been accepted by the high command.
“The deal is still being negotiated with the senior leaders of the Congress to make the Bahuguna government stable and last for five years," said the sources.
One of the Congress MLAs from Almora Parliamentary constituency has resented that only Almora has been kept out of the Cabinet despite having senior and able Congress members winning from the area.
“It is a sort of inflicting pain on the members, supporting Harish Rawat in his just cause as he has been deceived by the Congress high command second time after 2002, when ND Tiwari was made the Chief Minister despite the election was fought under the leadership of Harish Rawat," said the Congress MLA.
We have been given signals to reach Dehradun to take the oath before March 26 as Harish Rawat does not want to create any harassment for the party government in the state. — A senior MLA from New Delhi
All MLAs have been kept in different hotels in New Delhi till a deal to please the Rawat loyalists gets finalised. Harish Rawat has been facing pressure from these MLAs to get them top posts in the government, if not Cabinet berth. — Sources

150 years of Archaeological Survey of India

x-archaeologists honoured for their contribution  
Dehradun, March 22
On the 150th anniversary of the Archaeological Survey of India, Governor Margaret Alva today honoured former archaeologists Dr Rakashpal Singh, DP Puri, RR Jaiswal, RK Gangahar, RS Panwar and LP Thapliyal for their valuable contribution made in the field of archaeology.

Dr Rakashpal Singh, who joined the ASI in 1965, was instrumental in preserving the temples in Angkor Wat and group of temples in Cambodia. It was due to his efforts that UNESCO finally listed Angkor Wat the world heritage site.
DD Puri was also honoured for his contributions in the field of archaeology, RR Jaiswal, chemical analyst who retired in 1989, also made invaluable contribution in the preservation of paintings at the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra.
RS Panwar, who retired from the ASI in 1990, was also honoured for his contribution in restoration work carried out in Afghanistan. 

World Water Day: What’s your water footprint?

Did you know it takes about 1,500 litres of water to produce one kilogram of wheat, and 10 times that amount — 15,000 litres — to produce the same amount of beef?
The United Nations is drawing attention to numbers like these as it marks World Water Day Thursday.
As the world’s population grows, so too does the global demand for food and water. This year’s theme, water and food security, highlights the global need to produce food with less water.
Consider this:
If you take a whole-wheat bun from Saskatchewan, add an all-beef patty from Alberta, and top it off with some slices of Ontario cheese, you’ll end up with a hamburger that required 2,400 litres of water, according to Canada Water Week.
Even though a person needs to drink about 3 litres of water each day, the amount that goes into producing daily food intake worldwide is between 2,000 litres and 5,000 litres. In fact, about 90 per cent of the water a person consumes comes from the food they eat or the water used to make it.
And, the average water footprint for a Canadian is 6,392 litres a day — that’s the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services we consume.
Here’s the down low on H2O:
70 per cent of the world’s water is used for agriculture
1,755 litres of water required to make one sausage.
160 litres of water is used to produce one large banana
230 litres of water are used to make one 200-ml glass of apple juice.
1,040 litres of water are used for 1 kg of potato chips
50 litres of water is used to produce one tomato; about 530 litres to produce 1 kg of tomato ketchup
500 litres of water goes into producing 100 grams of cheese
1,260 litres of water goes into one margherita pizza
120 litres of water is used to make a 125-ml glass of wine
74 litres of water is used to make a 250-ml glass of beer
30 litres of water is required to grow enough tea leaves to make a single cup of tea
30 percent of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted every year.
50 per cent reduction of food losses and waste at the global level would save 1,350 cubic kms of water a year. (By comparison, the volume of Lake Ontario is 1,640 cubic kms.)
Sources: United Nations, Canada Water Week, Water Footprint Network and One Drop.
Reduce waste, recycle food, reuse water and review menu planning.
Those are some words of advice from Montreal chef François Martin, director of food services at Cirque du Soleil.
“Don’t waste food,” implores the chef, noting that tossing out food items is akin to wasting countless litres of water.
He suggests crumbling up old muffins and re-using them to bake a cake or a fresh batch; recycling leftover Shepherd’s Pie into a soup; and saving the water used to cook pasta and reusing it in soups, bouillons and sauces.
Carefully planning upcoming meals before going grocery shopping should help cut food waste, he says. That is, provided that you don’t end up eating out for dinner.
Martin became aware of his water footprint after getting involved with ONE DROP, a non-governmental organization started by Cirque founder Guy Laliberté that is committed to fighting poverty by supporting access to water.
Martin says he’s become much more conscientious about his water use and food consumption, opting to use more grains and cereals in his recipes because their production requires less water.
To help mark World Water Day, Martin developed low-water recipes for ONE DROP as part of an initiative called, ‘There’s Water on Our Plates.’ The awareness campaign is aimed at making people aware about their food choices and promoting eco-friendly food behaviours.

Green Chandigarh Action Plan

UT Admn to plant 2,50,000 saplings in 2012-13

Striving to augment the green cover of the City Beautiful, the UT Administration would plant nearly 2,50,000 saplings in the city during this year under the Greening Chandigarh Action Plan 2012-13.

A timeline for plantation and active contribution of Green Task Force would also be followed like the current fiscal year 2011-12. The City Beautiful with the total area of 114 sq km has a green cover of nearly 26.78 sq km (excluding Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary) that makes the Le Corbusier Ville Verte (green city) Chandigarh, one of the greenest and beauteous cities in the country.
“Persisting in their endeavour to increase and maintain the green cover of Chandigarh, the administration targets to plant 2,50,000 saplings in Chandigarh under the Greening Chandigarh Action Plan 2012-13. During the current fiscal 2011-12, the UT Administration had planted 2,30,000 saplings across the city,” said Santosh Kumar, Chandigarh conservator of Forests-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden while talking to The Pioneer.
“Under the plan, extensive tree plantation drives throughout the year would be carried out by the UT Forest Department in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation, UT Engineering Department, Horticulture Department schools, colleges and various NGOs,” he said.
The Greening Chandigarh Action Plan 2012-13 was released by KK Sharma, Adviser to UT Administrator on Wednesday.
On the occasion, The Sector 26 Butterfly Park was also inaugurated on the occasion and opened to the public. Spread over 7 acres, the park have more than 50 species of host plants and nectar plants to attract butterflies. One of the main attractions is the butterfly conservatory which ensures that visitors will be able to sight nearly all the varieties of butterflies. 

Authorities gear up for two-day Army Mela

The Army authorities are busy preparing for the two-day Army Mela at Dehradun, which is slated to start from Saturday.
Tanks and artillery have already been placed on the Mahinder Ground in Garhi Cantt in preparation for the event, which will be inaugurated by Governor Margaret Alva, include sky diving, a fly past by Army helicopters, a horse show, military dog show and several other displays.
The various artillery arms, tanks and other weapons have already been placed on the venue and have started attracted curious visitors who are presently not being allowed to view the exhibits from close quarters. The latest T-90 Russian tanks, the famous Bofors artillery gun and latest ground to air missiles are among the exhibits which have already been placed at the Mahinder ground.
Officials said that the aim of organising Know Your Army Mela is to give fair idea to young blood of the State to join the Indian Defence Forces. To capitalise on the long standing tradition of Uttarakhand of sending its sons to serve the motherland, the mela will aim to attract the attention of the youth of the State.
Various senior officers of the Indian Defence Forces would also participate in the mela to reply to queries of the young visitors to the fair. Representatives from important Army institutions like Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre, Lansdowne (Pauri) and Kumaon Regimental Centre, Ranikhet (Nainital), Bengal Engineers Group and Centre Roorkee will also take part in the event. The Army division from Clement Town will also participate by showcasing its latest military equipment.

Special plan to ensure smooth flow of traffic during Char Dham Yatra

In order to curtail road accident cases on Char Dham Yatra route in the State, a special plan is being prepared by the district administration with State Police to facilitate smooth flow of traffic.
After identifying accident prone areas along the route, the police department claimed that strict action would be taken against those drivers who violate traffic rules during the yatra season, which is slated to start next month.
In view of the Char Dham Yatra, State Police department has also pulled up its socks for ensuring smooth flow of traffic along the yatra route. After identifying 135 sensitive accident prone areas along the yatra route, the State Police department has decided to deploy more number of police personnel during the yatra season.
The latest figures compiled by the department clearly highlight that 35 accident prone areas are identified in Chamoli followed by Pauri and Dehradun with 10 and 16 accident prone areas each respectively. Department officials claimed that
glowing sign boards will be installed near accident prone areas and special focus would be laid to maintain accurate speed of four wheelers during the yatra season. While informing about the preparations taken by the police department, Deputy Inspector General (Garhwal) Sanjay Gunjiyal said security arrangements would be stepped up ahead of yatra season.
“It is a matter of concern that 190 road accidents were reported in the last year and 107 pilgrims lost their lives besides 217 received serious injuries during the yatra season,” he said, adding that special disaster team has already constituted comprising district administration officials to extend immediate relief to the victims. DIG Gunjiyal told that police barricades would be installed near accident prone areas in the entire Garhwal region and pilgrims would be apprised about the areas. Portals of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are likely to open in the next month. Officials claimed that department has laid special focus on construction of parking facilities at important junctions on the yatra route.

Aarti at Har-ki-Pauri conducted amid outages, din of generators

The daily Ganga Aarti at the world famous Har-ki-Pauri here was conducted amid the annoying din of generators on Tuesday night.
As an action against Haridwar Municipal Corporation allegedly delaying payment of electricity bills to the tune of `72 lakh, the Power Department had on Tuesday evening disconnected electricity supply in the holy place, which bustles with activity in the evening.
The issue soon gained momentum with Shri Ganga Sabha authorities raising the matter before higher ups in the Power Department and State politics. Later, based on an assurance by the State Power department in Dehradun that the pending bills will be paid soon, the electricity supply to Har-Ki-Pauri was resumed on Wednesday evening.
Incidentally, this was the first time when power supply to Har-Ki-Pauri was cut by officials of the Power Department. Though trustees of Shri Ganga Sabha had arranged for generators as an alternative source of power, they did not work properly and kept causing disturbance in the evening prayers.
Executive engineer in the Haridwar Electricity Distribution department, Rakesh Kumar said that there are three electricity connections in the name of Haridwar Municipal Corporation in Har-Ki-Pauri area. “The corporation has been served several notices and reminders in connection to the pending electricity bills, but authorities have failed to pay the dues pending on them. The electricity connection to Har-Ki-Pauri was disconnected on Tuesday evening with a hope to recover pending dues from the corporation soon,” Kumar added.
The action taken by the Power Department has now become a matter of debate for people, who think that the department has hurt religious sentiments of many. President of Shri Ganga Sabha, Ashok Tripathi criticised the ‘extreme’ step taken by the Power department. “Har-Ki-Pauri is a public place and remains open to people 24X7. Lakhs of people congregate here daily and Ganga Aarti is a must see ritual done daily. The administration should intervene in the matter and resolve the issue permanently. Though alternative arrangements for power supply can be made, they cause inconvenience to people because of space constrain at Har-Ki-Pauri,” Tripathi said.
Meanwhile Kumar added that they have been assured that the corporation will be made to pay the pending electricity bills as soon as possible. The department has also been assured of intervention by the Government in the matter, if required.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

10-member Cabinet team takes oath

Dehradun, March 20
Governor Margaret Alva today administered the oath of office to a 10-member ministerial team of Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, two of whom are from parties extending support to the Congress and two are Independents.
The swearing-in ceremony of the Council of Minister took place after more than an hour's delay. It is learnt that an Independent and Congress rebel Dinesh Dhanai had created a ruckus at the Bijapur Guest House for keeping him out of the Cabinet. Dinesh Dhanai, MLA from Tehri, had earlier courted controversy first declaring his intent to vacate his Tehri Assembly seat for Bahuguna and later backtracking from the statement. He had also failed to turn up for the filing of nomination of the Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat yesterday. Among the four Independents that have extended the support to the Bahuguna government, only Harish Durgpal and Mantri Prasad Naithani have found a place in the 10-member Cabinet.
The first to be administered the oath of office was Dr Indira Hridyesh, who was the number two minister in the ND Tiwari Cabinet. She was followed by Yashpal Arya who is also Uttarakhand Congress chief, Surinder Singh Negi, Pritam Singh, Amrita Rawat, Dinesh Agarwal, Mantri Prasad Naithani,(Independent) Pritam Panwar (UKD), Harish Chandra Durgapal (Independent), Surinder Rakesh (BSP).
“In the coming days, we will fill all remaining posts and the Congress government is committed to giving good governance to the state,” said Bahuguna. At one level, the usual formula of balancing the ministry by giving equal representation to all districts of the state seems to be missing. Bahuguna was made to walk the tight rope due to the compulsion of the mandate. While the heavyweights Indira Hriydesh, Dinesh Agarwal, Pritam Singh and Yashpal Arya managed to find a place in the Cabinet, senior Congress leader Navprabhat and Rajender Bhandari and Govind Singh Kunjwal were not so lucky.
“Our hands are tied due to the compulsion of the coalition and keeping everybody happy will be a challenging task. We have come to power after five years. The expectation among the elected Congress MLAs is understandable,” said Yashpal Arya, a Cabinet Minister.
Interestingly, along with Independent MLA Dinesh Dhanai, Rajender Bhandari of the Congress too seemed miffed for being left out of the Cabinet. He was the Cabinet Minister in the BJP government, but prior to the 2012 elections he had joined the Congress. Significantly, the Cabinet comprises two women members, one member each from the SC (Yashpal Arya) and ST communities (Pritam Singh). However, member from the Muslim community could not find a place. Among the Congress leaders holding fort with senior leader Harish Rawat, Pradeep Tamta MP, Govind Singh Kunjwal and senior Congress Harak Singh Rawat were present on the occasion.

Hockey action in India

United Arab Emirates – Thailand 4 – 3 (1-2, 1-0, 2-1)
DEHRADUN – The 2012 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia took off with the opening game featuring the United Arab Emirates (UAE) winning 4-3 against Thailand. 

The game was very balanced between the two nations. UAE responded twice against Thailand after the latter scored in the first and second periods. The Emirati then pulled away thanks to a goal from Mubarak Almazrouei with just under five minutes left in the game, giving UAE the three points in their opening game.  

On the Thailand side the game was mostly held together by the outstanding performance of Thamwongsin Arthit, Neimwan Likit and Chartsuwan. Chartsuwan was named India’s best player for the game.

Thailand will face Chinese Taipei in their next match, with UAE taking on Kuwait.

India – Macau 3 – 5 (1-0, 2-2, 0-3)

DEHRADUN – India’s debut at the 2012 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia was spoiled by Macau, which scored three unanswered goals in the third period to take their first game at the expense of the hosts 5-3.

Prior to the game, the host Indians were welcomed with a raucous atmosphere at the rink in Dehradun. When the home team entered the ice, the local spectators burst into a standing ovation, celebrating their country’s first ever international game on home ice.

The game against Macau was close through two periods. Despite showing up to the game seven players and a goalkeeper short in comparison to India, Macau was able to stay with the Indians and managed to turn up their game in the final frame. Chon Kong Leong, Macau’s captain, scored a hat trick, including the equalizer to erase India’s early 2-0 lead. He added two more in the third period to put the game away and earn Best Player honours.

Macau has their next game against Malaysia, while India has a day off before taking on the Malaysians as well. 

Ministry of Sainik Welfare sought for Negi

Dehradun, March 21
The Uttarakhand Purv Sainik Avam Ardh Sainik Sangthan held a meeting of its central executive body where its members demanded the portfolio of Ministry of Sainik Welfare for Surender Singh Negi, MLA from Kotdwar.
Central president Ganga Singh Rawat castigated the remarks of president of the State Women Commission Sushila Baluni in a TV interview in which she cursed the people of Kotdwar for voting against former Chief Minister BC Khanduri.
He said, “Baluni must apologise from the people of Kotdwar for her objectionable remarks. We congratulate the voters for choosing Surender Singh Negi over Khanduri. Negi, a people-friendly person, must be given the Ministry of Sainik Welfare besides other portfolios.”
He said their organisation would hold a camp for the welfare of ex-servicemen at Raiwala on March 31.
He honoured the members of new executive committee of the Raiwala branch of the organisation.


Dehradun, March 20
Shopkeepers of Chakrata Road are not ready to give registry of the demolished parts of their shops in favour of the PWD as directed by the Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA) to them. The shopkeepers are insisting on getting the registry of the demolished portion in their names only.

MDDA officials have created unrest once again by issuing the fresh order.
A group of shopkeepers, especially freeholders, have once again united to protest against it.
President of the Freehold Traders Association of Chakrata Road Virender Rawat said, “The entire Chakrata policy has been faulty from day one. So we can’t surrender our interests by giving the registry of the demolished shops in name of the PWD. We will lose everything with that. The new shops have been given to us in lieu of the demolition but who knows the Congress government may start the allotment once again. Until everything becomes transparent, we cannot take the risk of handing over the registry documents of our shops to any wing of state government.”
This new order can lead to many more complications. Anil Bisht, another shopkeeper, said almost all shopkeepers had been given new shops of small size in lieu of their shops which were demolished on Chakrata Road.
He said they would demand registry of equal area for the newly allotted shops. It was up to MDDA officials to decide how to compensate the shopkeepers for the difference in the area, he added.

Anna, Ramdev share dais to fight against graft

Acharya Balkrishan, yoga guru Ramdev and
 Anna Hazare share the dais in Haridwar on Tuesday. 

Announce to launch a joint fight against graft
Haridwar, March 20

In a bid to boost anti-graft and black money campaign, Gandhian Anna Hazare and Swami Ramdev have now openly announced their alliance in the "fight against corruption".

Both Anna and Ramdev came together on a platform at the Patanjali Yogpeeth here in Haridwar where in the presence of 5,000 women activists, both announced their fight against corruption that was deep-rooted in the system.
Yog guru Ramdev warned the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government of a nationwide movement before the monsoon session of Parliament. He said a protest would be held for the Jan Lok Pal Bill and black money issues.
Baba Ramdev added that this agitation would be much stronger, as Team Anna and Bharat Swabhiman Trust activists would carry out agitation in the country jointly.
Anna Hazare, addressing a huge public gathering for the first time after recuperating from illness, stressed on the need of having a stronger movement for the Jan Lok Pal Bill, bringing back black money, having the right to reject option and making Parliament a place for only honest public representatives.
Hazare also mooted for 50 per cent reservation in Parliament for women only as, he said, in comparison to men they were less corrupt, be it politics or social life.
Further in memory of martyr IPS officer Narendra Kumar who was killed by the quarrying mafia in Madhya Pradesh, the duo of Hazare-Ramdev will sit on a one-day fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on March 25.
Acharya Balkrishan, convener of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust, termed the day a historic one in India as now they would take respite only after making sure the Jan Lok Pal Bill was passed and black money stacked in foreign accounts was brought back.
On question of differences between the two mass leaders, Ramdev refuted any such claims. "We were together earlier too, be it at Jantar Mantra, Ramleela Maidan, the August 15 agitation or during the Jan Lok Pal fast observed by Hazare. It's just now we have openly joined hands to fight against the menace of corruption and those who try to shield it,” said Ramdev.


Pithoragarh, March 20
The construction work on the 150-km strategic Tanakpur-Jauljibi road, along the border with Nepal in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts, may start in near future as a private construction company has been given the work to compile a detailed project report of the road, PWD officials said here today.

The Union Home Ministry had proposed the construction of the road to ensure proper guarding of the Nepal border, said the sources.
“The company concerned has been asked to prepare a detailed project report and do paperwork to obtain forest clearance for the 138-km stretch of the road from the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment. The clearance is still to be obtained,” said Gokarn Singh Pangti, Superintendent, PWD, Pithoragarh division.
The PWD officials said as environment clearance for a 12-km stretch of the road from Tanakpur to Thuligar had been obtained from the ministry concerned, the work to make it double lane was in progress.
“We have warned the company of a penalty if it fails to prepare the DPR of the road in the stipulated time. The construction of the road has already been delayed by 18 years as it was proposed by the Uttar Pradesh government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1994,” said Pangti. He was addressing engineers at a meeting held in this connection in the district headquarters today.
A PWD engineer said once complete the road would connect more than 150 border villages in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts to main roads. It would also enable the Seema Suraksha Bal and paramilitary forces guarding the Nepal border to patrol remote areas.
“As the Union Home Ministry had sanctioned the road, its officials call meetings every second month to take stock of the progress on the project. We hope that after a detailed project report is prepared, forest clearance for the 138-km stretch of the road will be obtained by next six months,” said the PWD engineer.
The sources said the Centre had sanctioned Rs 500 crore for the construction of the road.

Women made familiar with family planning methods

Dehradun, March 20
To outreach women in the comfortable space of their communities for family planning counselling, a day-long seminar on promoting injectable contraceptives, Dimpa, was organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) here today.
A large gathering of married women from various walks of life attended the seminar with keen interest. They shared their experiences and concerns on various issues related to family planning methods. The seminar advised women on family planning methods.
Addressing the event, Sanjeev Vyas, programme director, Dimpa, said: “Studies have shown that the use of effective spacing methods by married women is very low in India. The reason behind it is barriers such as embarrassment, peer family pressure and low level of knowledge.”
“We, through such seminars, aim at helping women overcome these barriers and provide them comprehensive information on various family planning methods so that they can choose the method best suited to their needs,” he added.

Drivers, conductors hold protest

Members of the District Dehradun Driver Conductor Union hold a protest in Dehradun 

Dehradun, March 20
In protest against the proposal to made compulsory a refresher course from the Institute of Driving Training and Research for the renewal of driving licence, members of the Driver-Conductor Union of Dehradun staged a demonstration in front of the Transport Office today.
Union president Satish Kumar said to get driving licence, the authorities had already made compulsory getting a certificate from a driving school. There was no need for further refresher course for the renewal of licence. The move only aimed at harrasing drivers, he alleged.
He said they had written to the Transport Commissioner and the Principle Secretary (Transport) in this regard in February as well as March 10, but they had not released any order to withdraw the proposal. He further said if the authorities failed to withdraw the proposal by April 5, they would intensify the agitation.

Tripen Rawat chief of hotel employees’ union

Mussoorie, March 20
The Hotel Guides and Employees Union elected its executive body unanimously at the annual meeting held in the union office today.
Tripen Singh rawat was elected president while Chaitram was elected secretary. Mahavir Prasad Badhani was elected treasurer while Vijay Singh Kathait was elected for the post of vice-president. Anusuya Prasad Uniyal and Balbir Singh Rawat were declared joint secretaries in the elections here.
The newly elected executive body of the union assured the members that it would work in the larger interest of the workers and raise their issues in the appropriate forum effectively.

Mukul Roy sworn in as new railway minister

President Pratibha Patil (L) administers the oath to Mukul Roy as new Railway Minister at the presidential place in New Delhi March 20, 2012. 
New Delhi, 20 March 2012 - Mukul Roy was sworn in as India's new railway minister on Tuesday amid signs the UPA government would bow to the wishes of a petulant coalition partner and initiate a partial fare rollback this week.
Roy, 57, was inducted as a cabinet minister just hours before a debate on the railway budget in the Lok Sabha and replaces his Trinamool Congress colleague Dinesh Trivedi.
Trivedi quit on Sunday after the Trinamool Congress, a key ally in the UPA government, said it was displeased with his decision to raise passenger fares for the first time in eight years.
The unpopular policy step was cheered by investors but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government was seen bending to the wishes of its coalition partner.
"The new Railway Minister … will have the onerous duty of carrying forward the challenging task of modernizing our railway system," Singh told lawmakers in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Roy, junior minister for shipping in Singh's council of ministers, represents West Bengal in the Rajya Sabha, and had served as the junior minister for railways in 2011.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Illegal mining faces curbs

Administration initiates many steps to check the practice near various river beds 

Chandigarh, March 19
Excavating deep into the issue of illegal mining in Panchkula, the district administration has initiated a slew of measures. These include a ban on the plying of vehicles used for quarrying and ferrying material in the vicinity of river beds.
In a reply placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Assistant Commissioner of Panchkula Police Rajbir Singh asserted: “On March 3, an order under Section 144 of the Cr PC was issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police and an earlier order was made more strict and wider.”
Elaborating, Rajbir Singh in his reply placed before Justice Ranjit Singh asserted: “It has been ordered that no tractor-trolley fitted with hydraulic jacks, tractor-trolley having four tyres, and iron cart to be pulled by tractor is allowed within 200 m radius.”Rajbir Singh added: “No JCB machines or any other excavation machinery or transport vehicle like dumpers and no screening or stocking or mining material is allowed within a radius of 1 kilometer of the riverbeds in any matter whatsoever.”
“Any steps taken by the administration to curb illegal mining activity like digging of trenches etc are not to be interfered with any manner.”
In his detailed reply, he added: “To curb illegal mining in the police district of Panchkula, an order under Section 144 Cr PC was issued earlier also by the DCP, Panchkula, on December 19, 2011, as a measure of emergency and it was ordered that no tractor-trolley, JCB machine or any other excavating machinery will be admitted, parked or used between 7 pm to 7 am within 100 meters of the riverbeds in any manner.”
The High Court, on the previous date of hearing, had taken cognisance of illegal mining going on in the State, while hearing a petition filed by a Panchkula resident, Rajesh Kumar. He was seeking anticipatory bail in an alleged illegal mining case.
Declining the anticipatory bail plea, Justice Ranjit Singh had asserted: “It is seen that a tractor-trolley was seized at the scene, whereas the person ran away. This was Rajesh Kumar who was booked on February 4 under the provisions of the Mines Act and also for theft, criminal conspiracy and other offences. The FIR was registered at the Chandimandir police station.”
n Ban on plying of vehicles used for quarrying and ferrying material in the vicinity of riverbedsn No tractor-trolley fitted with hydraulic jacks, tractor-trolley having four tyres, and iron cart to be pulled by tractor to be allowed within 200m radiusn No JCB machines or any other excavation machinery or transport vehicle like dumpers and no screening or stocking or mining material to be allowed within a radius of 1 km of the riverbeds