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Saturday, June 9, 2012

678 Gentleman Cadets pass out of IMA

Gentlemen cadets of the Indian Military Academy rejoice after the passing-out parade in Dehradun on Saturday
Gentlemen cadets of the Indian Military Academy
 rejoice after the passing-out parade in Dehradun on Saturday.
Dehradun, June 9
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma has exhorted Gentleman Cadets (GCs) not to rest on their laurels and asserted that perseverance is an essential prerequisite to success.
Admiral Verma was addressing the GCs at the Indian Military Academy’s spring term 2012 passing-out parade in Dehradun today in the capacity of reviewing officer.
As many as 657 GCs and 21 foreign GCs from friendly countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Tajikistan and Tonga - passed out from the IMA here. The parade was witnessed by military and civil dignitaries, relatives and friends of the newly commissioned officers??.
Earlier, the Gentlemen Cadets marched at the drill square in the backdrop of the majestic Chetwode Building. They marched to the tunes of ‘Col Bogey’ and ‘Sare Jahan Se Achcha’ and put up an excellent show before the gathering.
Admiral Nirmal Verma said life was too long to rest on past laurels. “Today is not the end. It is the beginning of your training and education as officers of the Indian Army.
“After you take the ‘final step’ and pass through the Chetwode Hall today, life as you know it, will change forever - bringing new responsibilities, new challenges, new hardships and new horizons,” he said.

Six groups of poachers active in Corbett National Park: Activists

Dehradun/Nainital - Wildlife activists have raised fears about the presence of six distinct groups of poachers at work in the Corbett national park and its neighbouring forest divisions.
Responding to a letter written by the People For Animals, Uttarakhand member secretary Gauri Maulekhi, the member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) Rajesh Gopal has said that the authority will soon send its team to Uttarakhand to check the situation.
In the letter Maulekhi had stated that groups of poachers are active in Savaldeh area of Bijrani range, Corbett; Fato range of Terai West Division and the adjoining Amangarh area in UP; Sitabani and Kotabagh area; Khatima area and Kotdwar range.
The three poachers recently nabbed by the department are wanted in various cases but were not involved in the Bijrani incident reported on May 24.
The authorities seem to be diverting attention from the main culprits and focusing on nabbing individuals who may not have anything to do with the cases at hand. “Corbett warden UC Tiwari, who is responsible for the Bijrani, Dhikala and Sarpduli ranges, is responsible for the incident but has been able to cleverly exercise his influence over higher authorities to escape punishment.
He has not been posted out of this area for more than nine years now and was allegedly involved in running an illegal canteen in the Dhikala range which was busted by PFA in April last year.
He was himself appointed as an investigating officer in the case against himself and his range officer and the matter was closed without him being posted out or suspended,” said Maulekhi.
She further averred that yet again Tiwari escaped repercussions of his failure while junior staff has been attached to the director’s office after the Bijrani incident. Maulekhi has urged the NTCA to insist on cracking down on the real culprits who are carrying on with their business while the authorities are indulging in an eyewash investigation.

Corpus fund of Rs 5.50 cr created

Dehradun - A corpus fund of Rs 5.50 crore has been created for the conservation and protection of wildlife of Terai landscape including the Nainital forest division of the Kumaon region.
The corpus fund is a part of the royalty that the State Forest Development Corporation received from the exploitation of natural resources of the region, in the form of collection of riverbed materials by different private agencies and other related works.
As per the directions of the Government of India, the corpus fund had been setup much earlier. But the forest development corporation has now deposited Rs 5.50 crore in this fund.
We have received an amount of Rs 5.50 crore from the forest development corporation, confirmed PK Patro, the divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Terai-east forest division, while talking to The Pioneer. This amount would be utilised for the protection and conservation of the wildlife of Terai region comprising of all the five forest divisions of including Terai-East forest division, Terai-Central forest division, Terai-West forest division, the Ramnagar forest division and the Haldwani forest division. Even the Nainital forest division has been included in this plan, added the DFO.
When asked about what kind of protection measures, the Forest Department is going to take; Patro stated that our first priority is to increase the manpower so that maximum vigil could be done during emergency time.
Preferably, retired Army men would be appointed as watcher, to strengthen the patrolling and anti-poaching drive which will be launched time-to-time. Besides, as per the need, necessary equipments would also be purchased to put in place a strong wildlife protection mechanism for the wildlife of the Terai landscape.
In view of it is rich wildlife and natural resources, the Terai landscape has always been the prime target of the poachers. Its proximity with long and open international border with Nepal has only made this area more vulnerable.
As the wildlife experts have stated time and again that this long and porous international border has only become a safe heaven for the wildlife poachers, to run their poaching network internationally.
So the wildlife experts here believe that with the help of this corpus fund, necessary steps can be taken as and when required for the conservation and protection of the wild animals, particularly the endangered species from the poachers.

9 PCS officers transferred

Dehradun - The State Government has transferred nine PCS officers. Manager, GMVN, Vinay Shankar Pandey has been transferred as an Additional Secretary in Uttarakahnd Administration. He has been replaced by Pratap Singh Shah, SDM, Dehradun. Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Haridwar, Suryamohan Nautiyal has been appointed Chief Development Officer, Chamoli, whereas ADM, Nainital, Lalit Mohan Ryal has been appointed Chief Development Officer, Uttarkashi.
ADM, Pithoragarh, Alok Kumar Pandey, has been transferred to Haridwar as ADM (Finance & Revenue); Manager, Sugar Mill Nadehi, Vinod Giri Goswami has been made ADM (Administration) Nainital; SDM, Pithoragarh, Bansi Lal Rana has been promoted to ADM Pithoragarh while SDM, Champawat, Bharat Singh Phirmal has been promoted as ADM Chamoli. SDM, Tehri, Pravesh Chandra Dandriyal has been promoted as ADM Tehri.
Additional Secretary (Personnel) Arvind Singh Hayanki said that six Tehsildars have been given promotion and made SDMs.

IMA proposes to increase capacity to 2,400 cadets from next year

Dehradun - The Indian Military Academy has the capacity to train 1,650 gentlemen cadets but is presently training about 1,800 cadets. This number is proposed to be increased to 2,400 cadets next year to meet the shortage of officers in the Indian Army though the proposal is awaiting sanction from higher authorities.
The IMA commandant Lt Gen Manvender Singh said this while addressing the media on the eve of the passing out parade of the spring term-2012. The chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma will be the reviewing officer of the PoP on Saturday. Of the 678 gentlemen cadets passing out on Saturday, 21 are foreign gentlemen cadets.
The commandant said that the academy has been in the business of getting officers commissioned in the Indian Army for 80 years with 51,661 officers being commissioned in the Army through the IMA so far.
The number of officers commissioned through the academy will increase to 52,318 with the passing out parade on Saturday. About 2,000 JCOs, Jawans and civilian staff also play a crucial role behind the scenes in the training of the GCs, said the commandant. “We have stabilised the training system in the academy which has made it an institution of vital importance for the nation and also elicited regard from across the world due to which citizens of various countries still come here to learn and develop into officer quality material. Officers from IMA have contributed immensely to the nation with 823 of them attaining martyrdom so far in the service of the nation.”
Referring to the shortage of officers in the Army, he said that since the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission and opening of the Officers Training Academy in Gaya the shortage of officers has been somewhat lessened. “From next year the academy also proposes to increase its capacity to 2,400 cadets though this proposal is awaiting approval.
In the IMA, physical fitness, academic-technological aspects and qualities which make an officer are the main focus of the training. There has been some change in the content of subjects taught in the academy during the past six months.
We have replaced study of foreign battles like the Israeli war with battles fought in our sub-continent which are historically and geographically more important than foreign wars. The training is also more technology oriented now,” he added.
Replying to a question on foreign gentlemen cadets the commandant said, “There are presently 147 FGCs in the academy with many of them from Islamic nations. The academy takes all necessary measures to ensure that their religious beliefs are not violated during training. However, we have restricted internet access for all GCs because after 18 hours of daily training, we don’t want them to waste time on the internet though we also keep them updated of latest developments. The GCs are banned from using social networking sites and I hope that none of them is violating this prohibition,” he added.
Stressing that the academy makes no compromise in the training, the commandant said that three GCs had been relegated this year for various reasons.

Govt to include Nanda Raj Jat Yatra in tourism calendar

Dehradun - During the debate on Information department budget, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna informed the House that in view of Nanda Raj Jat Yatra the Government has constituted a committee led by the Chief Minister with Leader of Opposition and MLAs from constituencies on the yatra route as its members. Even the Centre has assured it would include Nanda Raj Jat Yatra in the 2013 tourism calendar.
  • As House reassembled at 3.00 pm after lunch session, Speaker sought legislators’ support to present the proposed budget 2012-13 and announced majority of members want to have a debate on it. The Leader of Opposition Bhatt elicited the attention of the Speaker to the fact that only seven MLAs including a Minister Indira Hridayesh were present among the Treasury Benches so one can’t claim that majority of members supported the proposed bill. Even Hridayesh supported the point raised by Bhatt. Meanwhile, Treasury Bench MLAs rush to the House at 1501 hours.
  •  Radrapur MLA Rajkumar Thukral informed the House that recently Cabinet has decided to provide land ownership right to the people, who are farming on their land for the last 30 years, so he elicited the attention of the House on the demand that Nazul land holders should be given ownership right on the basis of November 9, 2000 circle rate. In reply Hridayesh said that there is a provision that those who have 50 square metres land will have to pay 15 per cent of circle rate; 20 per cent of circle rate on 51-100 square metres; 40 per cent on 101-200 square metres land; 50 per cent on 201-500 sq metres and 80 per cent for more than 501 square metres or more. BPL families with an annual income of Rs 22,000 per annum, having 50 square metre land, will get it free of cost.       

Remembrance ceremony at IMA's war memorial

Two gentlemen cadets display kalaripayattu, Kerala’s martial art, on the eve of the passing-out parade at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun on Friday
Dehradun - A remembrance ceremony was held at War Memorial of Indian Military Academy to pay homage to the alumni of the academy who have sacrificed their lives for the nation. The IMA commandant Lt Gen Manvender Singh along with the deputy commandant and chief instructor Maj Gen TS Gill and next of kin of martyrs laid wreaths at the memorial on the eve of the passing out parade.
Apart from this ceremony, a multi-activity display by the GCs was also viewed by the reviewing officer of the PoP Admiral Nirmal Verma, Chief of Naval Staff, the IMA commandant and other military and civil dignitaries.
Those present during the remembrance ceremony included the family of Lt Col Abhishek Khattri, who attained martyrdom recently on the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border. Lt Col Khattri and his team were working in the area with inhospitable terrain, limited resources and adverse weather working against them. On September 13, 2011, due to landslide the jeep fell down into 310-metre gorge killing Khattri and the driver.
His widow Puja Mukherjee Khattri accepted a memento in the ceremony on Friday.
Another event held on Friday was a multi-activity display which included show jumping, aero-modelling display, Kalaripayattu (Kerala’s martial art), trick riding and tent pegging. A show of para motors by the Dare Devils groups also entertained the dignitaries and families of the passing out GCs. An equestrian and PT display show by GCs along with dog show and skydiving demonstration by the alumni of the academy also enthralled the gathering.
The multi-activity display was appreciated by the reviewing officer of Saturday’s PoP, the IMA commandant and family members of GCs of passing out course.
Multi-activity display at IMA on eve of passing-out parade 

Dehradun, June 8
On the eve of the passing-out parade, 'Spring term-2012', multi-activity display was organised at the Polo Ground of the Indian Military Academy with utmost grandeur and style here today.
The reviewing officer of the passing-out parade, Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, CNS, graced the occasion. Lt Gen Manvender Singh, AVSM, VSM, Commandant, IMA, Maj Gen TS Gill, SM, VSM, Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor, IMA, also witnessed the same along with various military/civil dignitaries and parents of the gentlemen cadets of the passing-out course.
The programme started with the flag hoisting and mounted salute.
This was followed by exciting show jumping, aero modelling display, kalaripayattu (Kerala martial art), trick riding and tent pegging.
A splendid show of para motors, also known as dare devils, was also presented. The gentlemen cadets also displayed equestrian and PT display show along with dog show and skydiving demonstration by the alumni of this academy.
The multi-activity display was highly appreciated by the reviewing officer of tomorrow's parade.

Haritima, first organic restaurant of India, opens at Tera Gaon

Mussoorie, June 8
The efforts of Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board (UOCB) to make organic food popular among the connoisseurs of taste have finally yielded results in the state with the opening of Haritima, the first organic certified restaurant in the country, at Tera Gaon, Shastra Dhara, near Dehradun.
Haritima, the brand identity for the organic food, conceptualised by UOCB after the research of more than a decade, ably supported by Dev Rishi Educational Society, Tera Gaon, Renaissance Hotel Management Institute, and Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, was inaugurated by Agriculture Minister Mantri Prasad Naithani on World Environment Day.
The Agriculture Minister, speaking on the occasion, said that it was indeed a historic day for the state and commended the efforts of all the organisations involved in it. The minister further said that the government was also planning to open such green restaurants in other towns of the state where the traditional cuisine would be served using organic produce. More than 45,000 organic farmers would benefit from this project, added Agriculture Minister Mantra Prasad Naithani.
The UOCB programme manager Binita Shah, speaking to The Tribune, said that presently the restaurant would be serving local items, namely roasted pumpkin and corn soup, three bean salad and Navrangi salad.
In snacks the local dishes such as badeel, tofu kebab, pahari chilla and mandua kathi roll will be served. In the main course bugyali kofta curry, hariyali tofu, bhang methi, gahat ka paratha, buckwheat chilla, and tofu paratha accompanied with walnut chutney, apricot chutney, pyaaz ki chutney and til ki chutney are being served. In bakery items breads, fruitcakes, finger millet and Amaranth cookies, finger millet, fruit cakes and buckwheat breads are available at the restaurant. She further said that for beverages buraansh (rhododendron) margarita, mango shake with hemp milk, apple mojito and kafal (berry) kamikaze will be served. Binita Shah said that with the increase in the popularity, more items prepared from the organic produce will be included in the culinary, for which they have entered into arrangements with the farmers directly so that there is no shortage of raw material at any cost.
The food lovers would thoroughly enjoy the taste of desserts prepared from jhangora barn yard, millet ki kheer, himkhand and bread in finger millet sauce, added Shah.
Elaborating further, she said that the whole objective of opening such restaurant was to introduce highly nutritional varieties of organic food in a way that is more palatable and promoting the traditional food items of the state. Binita Shah further said that the business community involved in hospitality industry should come forward in incorporating this business model, aptly named Haritima, so that more than 45,000 farmers involved in organic farming are kept motivated, thus re-kindling the interest towards traditional farming in them and also assisting in curbing the migration from the hills, added Binita Shah. The technical manager, Amit Srivasatava, said that they were also planning to open one such restaurant in Mussoorie so that the tourists from around the world can savour the taste of the traditional food items prepared using organic methods.

Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly passes 3 Bills amid pandemonium

Dehradun, June 8
Amidst sloganeering and pandemonium, the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly on Friday passed the Uttarakhand Appropriation Bill ( 2012) , the Uttarakhand Value Added Tax (Amendment)Bill, 2012, and the Land Reform Act Amendment Bill (2012) just before it adjourned sine die.
As soon as the House convened after the lunch session, the unrest over the Cabinet decision to give approval to four universities today spilled into the Uttarakhand Assembly as the House witnessed acrimonious scenes with the Leader of the Opposition, Ajay Bhatt, demanding discussion on the issue under rule 310 (adjournment motion), even as the financial matters were being discussed.
The Leader of the Opposition even appealed to the treasury benches to join the BJP in taking up the issue as it affected the future of a large number of students.
"We want the government to inform the House and discuss the issue of approving private status of four universities threadbare. The private universities should not be allowed to mushroom in the state. Few members from the treasury benches had expressed their apprehensions and I know they are with us on this issue. Who knows, the government may even bring an ordinance in the coming days, while keeping the House in the dark," said Ajay Bhatt, while urging the Speaker to suspend the financial matter and instead allow the adjournment.
But Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal did not relent; instead he pointed out the provisions laid down in the rule book (for conduct of House) that disallowed Cabinet decisions to be discussed on the the floor of the House.
"The Cabinet making is too secretive and cannot be taken up in the House, even as the House is already engaged in discussing financial matters," said Kunjwal.
Soon the Opposition benches stormed the well of the House and started raising slogans. At this juncture, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hriyadesh then got up to retable the Uttarakhand Appropriation Bill. Thereafter, all the three Bills were passed without any discussion on the last day of the budget session.

The Bills
  • Uttarakhand Appropriation Bill ( 2012)
  • Uttarakhand Value Added Tax (Amendment)Bill, 2012
  • Land Reform Act Amendment Bill (2012)

All in one day: Weather shows many moods in Haridwar

Two girls cover their faces to save themselves from dusty winds that hit Haridwar city.
Two girls cover their faces to save themselves from dusty winds that hit Haridwar city. Tribune photo: Rameshwar Gaur

Haridwar, June 8
The city witnessed various moods of the weather - scorching sun, dusty winds, light drizzle and cloudy sky yesterday.
Early in the morning, a cool breeze greeted the residents but by noon, the temperature went up to 44°C, making it difficult for residents to venture out.
Then, late in the afternoon, dusty winds lashed the city uprooting many trees. Roads could be seen littered with branches, twigs and leaves.
The hoardings and tents - uprooted by the wind - hindered the flow of traffic at many places.
In the evening, a light drizzle in some parts of the city brought respite to the residents.
As soon as the weather became pleasant, local residents, pilgrims and tourists came out in a large number on the Ganga ghats and the Ganga canal walking stretch to enjoy the weather conditions.
Shikha Rawat, a student, said that she was surprised that the dusty wind, at the start of her banking coaching classes at Ranipur, had been replaced by a light drizzle by the time her classes ended.

Centre raises kerosene quota for state

Dehradun, June 8
The Centre has increased the quota of kerosene for the state. According to sources, an increase of 1,500 kl per quarter has been done for the state.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had recently met Union Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy and informed him about the kerosene need of the state.
The Chief Minister has expressed gratitude to the minister.
Bahuguna said he was hopeful that the Centre would continue to cooperate with Uttarakhand in other matters as well.

Bahuguna assures revision of minimum wages for workers

Dehradun, June 8
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today assured the House that a committee would be constituted for carrying out revision of minimum wages for workers working in industrial areas and these wages would be higher than all the states.
Intervening during question hour, Labour Minister Harish Chander Durgapal failed to satisfy the BJP MLA, Surinder Jeena, who wanted to know if the minimum wages being offered in Uttarakhand were set for revision.
The member was also told that the payment to daily wagers working in Transit Hostel , Secretariat and Assembly would be paid through cheques.
The Minister for Urban Development, Pritam Singh Panwar, today accepted the suggestion made by former Speaker and BJP MLA Harbans Kapoor that a process should be initiated whereby the cow dung is collected from dairies on the pattern of door-to-door collection of household garbage under way in the state. The member said such a provision would prevent the choking of drains as almost all the cow dung is thrown in the drains.
The minister said the Urban Development Department is working at a plan to shift some of the dairies to less congested places. "The plan that was chalked out in 2010 under maha yojana could not be implemented as the selection of land in Chakrata and Jogiwala proved problematic. Most of the dairies that are functioning in the city are being asked to keep these neat and clean. As there is no objection from the people, as long as these dairies were kept clean, there was no immediate plan to move them,” informed the minister. 

Documentary on Mussoorie released by singer

Mussoorie, June 8
A bilingual documentary titled 'I Am Mussoorie' dedicated to tourists was released by eminent singer from the state, Meena Rana, at a simple function in Mussoorie today.
The documentary directed and produced by Pradeep Bhandari is in both Hindi and English and has been conceptualised in order to promote the lesser-known tourist destinations around Mussoorie that are still far away from the reach of the tourists.
The documentary begins with the history of the town and highlights the important tourist destinations such as Jharipani, Mossy and Bhatta Falls with prominence.
The chief guest on the occasion, Meena Rana, addressing the gathering said that the documentary film on Mussoorie was need of the hour for the tourists as now they will have no difficulty in locating the tourist places around Mussoorie. She further said that the documentary will prove to be a milestone in promoting tourism here.
The director-producer of the film, Pradeep Bhandari, informed the gathering that the tourists visiting Mussoorie are not provided with sufficient information about the main spots around the town; so it was decided to make this documentary CD, which will not only act as a guide book for them but also help in promoting tourism.
“Through this documentary the tourists will receive not only information about the important places but also the glorious history of the town," added Bhandari.
Sanjay Kumola and Meena Rana have provided the voice in the film, while Ajay Solanki and Pooja Nirankari have lent their artistic assistance to the film.

Separate vending zone planned in Haridwar

Haridwar, June 8
After facing problems in managing regular festive baths, fairs, Kanwar mela and Maha Kumbh-Ardh along with problems of congested roads and encroachments by vendors-hawkers, finally the administration has started the process for a separate vending zone in Haridwar.
A high-level team comprising district administration and Municipal Corporation have been formed under City Magistrate JS Nagiyal in this regard, which will submit it's final report in the coming days to the District Magistrate.
A survey is being done in the city to earmark the place for vending zones as well as marking places as 'no-vending zone.' Under directions from District Magistrate Sachin Kurwe, an administrative team is doing a field survey of various markets and empty places for this purpose.
Initially, for vending zone the Municipal Corporation has marked 14 such places while eight zones have been understood to be made no-vending zones.
Aiding this team are Circle Officer, Traffic, JR Joshi, Assistant Town Officer PS Rawat, Tax Inspector Mahendra Yadav, who are surveying the core mela zone area.
Till date they have surveyed railway station, bus station, Shiv Moorti Chowk, Laltaura Pull, Chandighat Chowk, Bhoomanand Chowk, Upper Bazaar, Moti Bazaar, Har-ki-Pauri and Bhimgoda areas.
The team is taking inputs from street vendors with Uttarakhand chief of small scale street vendors-hawkers Sanjay Chopra, apprising the survey team of their suggestions and problems.
As per CO, Traffic, JR Joshi, the city needs to have specific vending zones as otherwise a majority of the streets in the core mela zone area leading towards Har-ki-Pauri are full of vendors, of which a majority are unauthorised, which poses problems for commuting and traffic jams.

CII delegation visits industries in Pantnagar

Dehradun, June 8
The Uttarakhand State Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) took an 18-member delegation to TATA Motors Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Minda Corporation Ltd and Delphi-TVS Diesel Systems Ltd at the Pantnagar industrial complex today. The key objective of the visit was to learn the best manufacturing practices these companies were adopting that had made them leaders in their respective areas of work.
Nitin B Tilak, DGM, (Plant and Utility), shared the vision of the TATA group highlighting its values and ethics and briefed the visiting delegation on the high safety standards being adopted by the company to protect environment and people in and around the manufacturing facilities.
Tilak also talked about the good manufacturing practices adopted for excellence in manufacturing. He apprised the delegation about the Taikisha Paint Shop, which was the single largest paint shop in Asia. Ashutosh Varman, AGM, Administration and Corporate Social Responsibility, briefed the delegates on the TATA Motors Vendor Park at Pantnagar and how it was mutually beneficial for the vendors and the company. He said the vendor park on 337 acres and 66 vendors was the largest in the Indian auto industry.
At Mahindra and Mahindra, SK Dubey, plant head, talked about the values and vision of the Mahindra group. He spoke about the measures adopted by the plant to improve the overall productivity. Ashok Singh, DGM, Manufacturing, spoke about the lean organisation structure of the plant with all activities of production under one roof. He said the company strived to build and promote innovation culture at the plant by active employee engagement at all levels.
Sumit Doseja, plant head at Minda Corporation, gave an overview of the best manufacturing practices. He also apprised the delegates of how the company created value for all stakeholders through the Total Employee, Supplier and Customer Involvement programme.
Sudesh Sud, plant head at Delphi-TVS, spoke about the manufacturing processes of the company and how they had moved towards adopting the TPM approach that was helping them enhance production quality.
During the visit of delegation to each of these companies, ideas and thoughts were exchanged on all aspects of better management practices and systems.
A total of 17 delegates from Titan Industries, Dehradun; Ashok Leyland Nissan, Chennai; International SOS Services, New Delhi; Mitsu Chem, Mumbai; Electro Equipments, Roorkee; Sunex Air Tools, New Delhi; Edurables, Dehradun; Jindal Polymers, Kashipur; Crane-Bel International, Ghaziabad; and Ganges International, Pondicherry, were part of the delegation. 

‘Management systems required for rivers’

Dehradun, June 8
Himmotthan Society, Dehradun, in assistance with International Rivers, USA, and the WWF-India, organised a workshop on ‘Environmental Flows’ in Dehradun today.
Welcoming the participants, Dr Malavika Chauhan, Executive Director, Himmotthan Society, said the workshop had been organised to understand the science and politics of environmental flows, because it is being currently used in environmental decision making on rivers in the country.
Dr Ravi Chopra of the People’s Science Institute, Dehradun, began by examining the history of river conservation through Kashyap’s principles. Dr Latha Anantha, River Research Centre, Kerala, spoke about the necessity of environmental flows. She exhorted the participants to consider the cumulative aspect of the many interventions planned across the rivers of India. Parineeta Dandekar from South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), spoke of the various environmental flow assessment methods in vogue today. She suggested that free-flowing rivers and controlled rivers require separate management systems.
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India (WWF) conducted an environmental flows assessment of the upper stretch of the Ganga. This experience was shared by Nitin Kaushal and Suresh Babu of the WWF. They explained the method used, the recommendations, and the lessons learnt from that process.
The post-lunch session included discussions on the impacts of dams in the Himalayas. Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP explained that the cumulative impact of a stretch of dams is more that the sum of the impact of each dam taken singly. When impact assessments are done for individual dams, citizens lose sight of the fact that taken together, all the dams imply the death of the basins they are located in. However, the cumulative impact assessments as done today do not solve the problem, Thakkar pointed out.
Dr Bharat Jhunjhunwala discussed the cumulative impact assessment of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity in Alakananda and Bhagirathi basins conducted by Wild Life Institute of India. The difference between a true cumulative impact assessment that looks at the basin as a whole, and a joint report of a series of individual project reports was also highlighted.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recruit 90 Tiger Guards: Chief Secy

Dehradun, June 5
Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Jain, during a review meeting of the Forest Department, has directed department officials to recruit 90 “Tiger Guards” out of which 27 should be from the Gujjar community to prevent poaching. He also directed for regular raids, vigilance and patrolling to prevent poaching.

Jain instructed them to identify places where there was necessary to depute the Special Task Force (STF). He said all requisite weapons and equipment would be provided. He also asked them to impart quality training to members of the Wildlife wing.
The Chief Secretary stressed on spreading awareness towards forest fires and directed the department to take effective measures to prevent forest fires. He said even schoolchildren ought to be told about the forest fires and its prevention. He asked the officials to ensure the involvement of local communities and take help from Van Panchayats and Gram
Panchayats. He also instructed them to set up fodder banks.

Principal Chief Forest Conservator Dr RBS Rawat said 38 Master Control Rooms and 1,131 Crew Stations had been established. He said cases had been filed against 22 persons guilty of forest fire and 7 had been sent to jail so far.
Principal Wildlife Warden GD Sharma said 9 infrared cameras had been installed in the 1,288 sq km area of Corbett Park. He claimed that not a single case of poaching had been reported this year. As far as death of three tigers were concerned, he said one had died natural death, another died in a conflict and third one was a suspected to be a poaching case. This case was being investigated, he said.
The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary Forest M Ramaswamy, Additional Secretary Forest Sushant Patnaik and other senior officers.

World Environment Day in Uttarakhand

Save trees, save environment, says Governor  

Dehradun, June 5
Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi said here today that it was alarming that environment, once the protector of mankind, was itself endangered and required protection.

Speaking at a function organised at the Raj Bhavan here to mark the World Environment Day today, the Governor said that the Chipko movement of Uttarakhand had created awareness about environment protection all over the world.
He said that every person must resolve to save trees that were being felled or were burning in forest fires.
He said that the issue of nature and environment conservation was the most important issue that needed to be deliberated upon globally.
Addressing the children present on the occasion, the Governor said that protecting the environment was ones' moral responsibility.
The programme was organised by the G.B.Pant High Altitude Zoo, Nainital.
Students of 17 schools of Nainital participated in the painting competition organised on the occasion.
The Governor gave away prizes to 18 winners of the contest.The competition had three categories -one from classes 3 to 5, the second from classes 6 to 8 and the third from classes 9 to 12. In the first category,Chandraprakash of Bharatiya Shaheed Sainik School, in the second Vijaykant of Mohan Lal Shah Bal Vidya Mandir and in the third Khushbu Rawat of Mohan Lal Shah Balika Vidya Mandir won the first prize.
The judges of the competition, A.N.Singh and B.M.Joshi, were also honoured by the Governor.
The Governor also inaugurated, on the occasion, the fernery created by the Forest Department in the Raj Bhavan campus.
210 children take part in skating rally

Dehradun, June 5
As part of World Environment Day, a skating rally was organised in the campus of Forest Research Institute, Dehradun. Director, FRI, Dr PP Bhojvaid, and Uttarakhand Principal Chief Conservator of Forests RBS Rawat flagged off the rally. A total of 210 skaters in the age group of 5-16 participated in the 2.5 km-long rally.

Skaters also displayed posters and slogans on the subject of environment.
Later, a quiz on environment was conducted for the participants of the skating rally. 
Take precautions to check forest fires, says samiti

Haridwar, June 5
In view of the large number of incidents of forest fires in the entire Uttarakhand, a demand has been made to prohibit matchsticks, lighters and other inflammable materials in the forest range.

To highlight this aspect, on World Environment Day, activists of Uttarakhand Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti, an organisation that played a positive role in the statehood movement, climbed on trees to propagate this message.
Founder of the samiti JP Pandey said that hundreds of hectares of forest and flora and fauna had been destroyed by forest fires this summer season alone, and this was the situation in every fire season.
"Preventive steps need to be taken, particularly prohibiting taking of matchsticks or lighters in the forests' green cover area. Forest officials, too, have pointed that tourists or even local people who come to hills leave behind burned matchsticks or buts of cigarettes, and even adventure tourists, trekkers leave dry burned wood sticks in the forests after using these for cooking purposes. These are the major source of forest fires," said Pandey, while climbing a tree on NH-58 adjacent to Ganga canal.
Dheerendra Pratap, Uttarakhand Congress spokesperson, gave the slogan of 'Saving Forests of Uttarakhand,' distributing awareness paper copies to passersby.
Urging Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna to take stringent steps in this regard, social activist Meera Raturi demanded stringent environmental laws in the state, particularly in forest areas and national parks.
Raturi cited temperatures in the hilly towns of Pauri, Srinagar, Garhwal and Tehri touching 40 degree C, which was alarming owing to degrading forest cover, forest fires and imbalance in local ecology.
Shivangi Gaud, an activist, urged people to plant as many trees as possible on the occasion and expressed concern over thousands of trees being cut for expansion of four lane NH-58.
Tibetans run to spread eco awareness  Mussoorie, June 5
Members of the Regional Tibetan Women’s Association (RTWA) along with the Tibetan community in exile organised a green marathon race here to educate people about conserving environment on the occasion World Environment Day today.

More than 50 participants from the Tibetan community, young and old, gathered at Library Bazaar early morning wearing homemade aprons bearing a message “care for your environment”.
President of the Mussoorie Municipal Council OP Uniyal, who was the chief guest on the occasion, flagged off the race. He commended the efforts of the Tibetan community, especially the RTWA, in sensitising the people towards preserving environment. He gave away citations and awards to the winners of the race.
The RTWA members presented a traditional scarf to Uniyal as a mark of respect. The president of the RTWA, Tsering Yangzom, said, “Environment has become an important issue and if we do not care for it now, the environment problems will worsen and the future generations will have to pay for them dearly.”
Yangzom used the opportunity to highlight the Tibetan issue and said it was also important to draw the attention of the international community towards the impact of climate change upon Tibet’s unique ecosystem and rampant exploitation of its natural resources by the Chinese government. Yangzom criticised the Chinese regime saying it was indiscriminately felling trees in the Tibetan plateau and dumping nuclear waste there. This was dangerous not only for Tibet but also for neighbouring countries as Tibet was a source to many rivers that passed through a large area of the Asian continent, she added.
The RTWA president requested the international community to pressure oppressive China to stop the continuous exploitation of environment in Tibet, which is considered as the Roof of the World.
CM favours ban on polybags

Dehradun, June 5
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has advocated banning polybags and setting up of an environment directorate in the state.

Speaking as the chief guest of a programme organised by the Forest Department and the Pollution Control Board to commemorate World Environment Day here today, Bahuguna expressed concern over forest fires and said at present there was 2, 500 km long fire line in the state. "We will try to increase it up to 9,000 km," he said. Stringent action would be taken against the persons found involved in forest fires.
Laying emphasis on general awareness towards environment conservation, the Chief Minister said special subject on environment ought to be included in the syllabus to connect the maximum youth with environment conservation.
He pointed out that economy and human lives of Uttarakhand was largely depended on environment. Asserting on the balance between environment and development, Bahuguna maintained that along with the preservation of environment, it would be ensured that basic facilities of local people were not adversely affected due to Acts related to environment. "We all have to put unified effort for green economy," he exhorted.
Bahuguna disclosed that financial assistance of Rs 80,000 had been sanctioned for environmentalist Rambabu "Junglee" who is admitted to CMI Hospital.
Also present on the occasion were MLA Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion, Mayor Vinod Chamoli, Principal Chief Forest Conservator Dr RBS Rawat, President of the CII Uttarakhand Chapter R Aggarwal, president of the Indian Medical Association Dr Rajesh Kalra and Member Secretary of the Environment Conservation & Control Board Jayraj.
Chief Minister Bahuguna also planted a sapling at his residence.
Environment Day observed as black day
Dehradun, June 5
Uttarakhand Janmanch members today observed World Environment Day as black day. Janmanch members staged protests in Dehradun, Srinagar and Chamba regions of the state. Janmanch in Dehradun held a protest at Uttarakhand Forest Department headquarters. Raising slogans against state Forest Department, the protesters alleged that Forest Conservation Act was proving a stumbling block in the development of the region.

Uttarakhand Janmanch Principal General Secretary Rajen Todaria said he will further intensify the agitation against the department in the days to come.
A rally was also staged in Srinagar and Chamba in support of hydropower projects in Uttarakhand. The protesters also burnt the effigy of Ganga River Basin Authority.
Sapling plantation drive on varsity campus  
Dehradun, June 5
HNB Garhwal University's Environment Science Department organised a tree sapling plantation drive at its Srinagar Garhwal campus. Vice Chancellor of the university SK Singh, who himself planted a sapling, said environment today was a major concern all across the globe. He said that it was the duty of every person to safeguard the environment.

He said it was a matter of extreme happiness that Uttarakhand had 65 per cent of it's geographical areas under forests and called upon the students to further enhance the forest cover in the state.
Environment Science Department head Ramesh Chandra Sharma spoke about World Environment Day. He referred to a Stockholm conference which was behind the beginning of World Environment Day.
Amla and jamun tree saplings were planted in large numbers by the students of the Environment Department on the occasion.
Cycle rally by ABVP
Dehradun, June 5
Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad activists today staged a cycle rally in Dehradun to observe World Environment Day.

Flagging off the rally from Subhash Road, Dehradun Mayor Vinod Chamoli said environment today was a major concern globally and asserted that it was the responsibility of every citizen to work for its conservation.
The rally that started from Subhash Road took Behl Chowk-Rajpur Road route before culminating at Subhash Road itself. A large number of ABVP members participated in the rally.
Madhusudan, Uttarakhand organisational secretary of ABVP, coordinated the event.

Issue of Rudrapur riots

Cases against BJP legislator politically motivated: Bhatt 
Dehradun, June 5
The issue of a CID investigation against BJP MLA for his alleged role in fanning communal violence in Rudrapur (Udham Singh Nagar) on October 2 last year rocked the Uttarakhand Assembly today with the Opposition BJP MLAs demanding a discussion under rule 310 (adjournment motion).

Soon after question hour, the Leader of the Opposition, Ajay Bhatt, said the Speaker should concede to their demand of discussing the issue pertaining to BJP MLA Rajkumar Thukral under rule 310. “Why has the police slapped cases under Sections 302 and 304 against the MLA and recommended CID enquiry seven months after 39 people were sent to jail in the Rudrapur riots case? The move is politically motivated and smacks of political vendetta,” said Bhatt.
But the Speaker of the House, Govind Singh Kunjwal, accepted the demand under rule 58, which incensed the Opposition members, who trooped to the well of the House and accompanied by BJP MLA Rajkumar Thukral staged a sit-in dharna, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House twice.
The BJP MLA alleged the cases against him have been registered seven months after the violence at the behest of rural Congress. “They are keen to tarnish my image; my life is in danger,” said the MLA, who demanded security for himself.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hriyadesh also tabled the fourth Annual Report (2008-2009) along with the action taken report (ATR) of Uttarakhand Information Commission.
Rawat seeks CBI probe into Rudrapur riots 
Dehradun, June 5
Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing and Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat has demanded a CBI probe into Rudrapur riots that took place in the Udham Singh Nagar district of the state last year.

In a letter written to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing and Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat said Uttarakhand government can set an example by ordering a CBI probe into the incident. He asserted Rudrapur riots were part of a planned conspiracy and pointed out that many Muslim organisations have met him and sought a CBI probe into the riots.
Rawat has also sought adequate compensation for those affected in the riots.

‘States should adopt forest certification’

Dehradun, June 5
Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, today organised a workshop on forest certification on World Environment Day.

DG, ICFRE, Dr VK Bahuguna said the forest certification was a mechanism for forest monitoring, tracing and labelling timber, wood and pulp products and non-timber forest products against a series of agreed standards.
He said in order to meet the growing demand for certification in the global market, the forest industry had to look for certified forests and plantations to source their raw materials. So the forest certification was required to be adopted in different states of the country and the ICFRE and its institutes could play a key role in this.
He said in the international market, there was a lot of market for certified wood and the forest certification was increasingly becoming popular in European and Western countries and once it was adopted in India, the economic prospects for the forest industry and agro-forestry would improve.
Berty Van Hensbergen, Chairman, SSC Forestry Group Ltd, who has come from England to support the forest certification in India and to give training to officers and scientists of the ICFRE on the forest certification, participated in the inaugural session of the workshop.
Forest Research Institute Director Dr PP Bhojvaid was also present on the occasion.

Very few making use of RTI in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, June 5
The Uttarakhand Information Commission has pointed out that only a small population among the villagers is using the Right to Information (RTI). In it's annual report (2008-2009) tabled in the House today, the Uttarakhand Information Commission has expressed dismay at the inability of women and rural folk in taking recourse to Right to Information and has asked the state government to take notice of the issue.

"Despite the recommendation by the Information Commission asking the government to launch awareness programmes for these groups, no effort has been made so far by the government," the report states.
However, the government managed to take action on some of the suggestions made by the commission. These include resolving first appeals in all the departments.
The other suggestion that has been accepted by the government is providing training about handling appeals under Right to Information at the state and district level.
While ranking the 76 government departments on the RTI index, the office of the Principal Conservator of Forests (PCF) has emerged on top, followed by the Department of Women Empowerment and Child Development at the second spot, and Sericulture Department at the third spot.
The RTI ranking matrix comprised Uttarakhand Information Commission keeping a track of RTI compliance, including keeping RTI manual, annual report, maintenance of records etc.

Saints support power projects in Uttarakhand

Haridwar, June 5
A section of saints under Samajik Sena outfit have come forward in support of the hydroelectric projects in Uttarakhand. In this regard a symbolic fast was undertaken today by the outfit members under national chief Vinod Maharaj and state chief Swami Satyavratanand.

The main demands of the demand as per Vinod Maharaj is to start small hydroelectric projects in the state as they are imperative for the overall development of the state and to meet the energy requirements of the country too.
Maharaj Vinod added that despite Uttarakhand being touted as Urja Pradesh, the state government had to procure electricity from other states at higher costs, "which is a serious matter as we, despite having immense natural resources, are not able to utilise them to even meet our requirements."
Sitting on fast at Kankhal, Pahadi bazaar, Sadhvi Mata Chandra Kanta ji, said that the government should form a high-level committee, which would look into the power project aspect, having scientists, saints, local people and environmentalists on panel. Their consent would be vital giving the green signal to such projects.
The sadvi said that the sanctity of the holy Ganga should be maintained while constructing such projects, which is possible with scientific-ecologic measures.
National spokesperson Acharya Roopendra questioned the banning of quarrying in Haridwar, terming it imperative for both for natural and commercial reasons.
Acharya pointed that scientists too have given valid reasons for allowing quarrying to a certain degree on rivers.
"Illegal quarrying worth crores is still going on in Haridwar. Neither the state government nor the administration is taking action. Thousands of people are getting affected due to prohibition on quarrying in the region, which is hampering the development work and raising the prices of sand, stone and related material," said Acharya Roopendra.
Among others who sat at the agitation today were Swami Dharam Giri, Swami Antanand, Baba Balak Das, Sandeep Rajpur, Naresh Bohra, Amarnath and Chaudhari Jagpal Singh.

7 administrative officers shifted

Dehradun, June 5
The Uttarakhand government has changed the portfolios of seven administrative officers on Tuesday. Vinita Kumar, Principal Secretary, Centrally funded programmes, higher education, home and the Commissioner, Forest and Rural Development, had been relieved from the post of Principal Secretary, Centrally funded programme and higher education. Rakesh Sharma, Principal Secretary, Industrial Development, Externally Aided Programmes, Technical Education, Civil Aviation, Information Technology and Managing Director, SIDCUL, had been relieved of the responsibility of Principal Secretary, Externally aided programme, and given the responsibility of Principal Secretary, Higher Education.

SS Ramaswami, Principal Secretary, Planning, Forest & Environment and Labour & Employment, has been given the additional post of Principal Secretary, Externally Aided Programmes and Centrally Funded Programmes.
Radha Raturi, Secretary, Election, Finance and Chief Election Officer, has been handed over additional duty of Secretary, Excise. SS Rawat, Secretary, Chief Minister, Sugarcane-Sugar, Gopan, Excise, General Adminsitration, Suraj, Corruption Eradication and Public Service Department and Commissioner, Excise has been relieved as Secretary, Excise and Commissioner, Excise and given the additional charge of Director, Industry.
Dr PS Gusain, Secretary, Science and Technology and Bio-technology and Commissioner and Director, Industry has been relieved from the responsibility of Commissioner and Director, Industry. Dilip Jawalkar, Additional Secretary, Chief Minister, Information and Director, Information has been given additional charge of Commissioner, Excise.
Chief Development Officer, Chamoli, Sabin Bansal has been transferred to Tehri Garhwal in the same capacity.

Per capita income of Tehri Rs 40,000: Finance panel chief

Dehradun, June 5
Chairperson of the State Finance Commission Indu Kumar Pandey, said today that Tehri dam had helped raise the per capita income of hill district of Tehri in Uttarakhand, which is quite high in comparison to other hill districts of the state.

Addressing a consultative workshop on World Environment Day organised by Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Indu Kumar Pandey disclosed that the per capita income of Tehri district had reached Rs 40,000 per person per year, which is quite high compared to other hill districts of the state. He attributed this rise to spillover effect over large investments made at Tehri in the form of Tehri dam.
While advocating a balance between environment and development, he laid equal stress on the rising needs of power for the country and Uttarakhand in particular. “There can be no debate such as environment versus development. We have to find ways where a win-win situation can be approached. India has lowest per capita consumption of power world over today but as we develop, this shall not remain so and more power shall be needed to fuel this demand,” he said, justifying the hydropower projects. Hydroelectric power is the cleanest, cheapest, renewable, non-polluting source; it gets cheaper by the years. It also has the highest energy payback ratio. We have to see the expanse of resources for state to be generated from hydroelectric power, the kind of positive impact it brings for the economy,” he pointed out.
Avdhash Kaushal, Chairperson, RLEK, said: “Environment Day worldwide is celebrated only once a year but we shall celebrate development day every day till 2014, the Lok Sabha election year, only to remind our elected representatives that it is high time they took their responsibility seriously.” Kaushal stressed on the need of creating awareness within society towards importance of hydropower. He said those opposing projects will now face their opposition. "The sadhu and saints have declared that they shall proceed to Delhi on June 18, 2012, but we should go to Delhi on June 15, 2012, along with women from such villages who have never in their lives seen an electric pole, let alone electricity, and expose the misinformation being spread regarding hydropower projects in Uttarakhand," Kaushal added.
Liladhar Jagudi, eminent writer, said that while all religions in the world were for human beings, the development too was for human beings. He said it was extremely unfortunate that few people with vested interests were misleading common masses while the truth is that Ganga is not polluted by hydro power projects made on it in the hills, but, rather, gets polluted after it enters the plains, and there was enough data too prove this fact. “Blind superstitions shall never allow us to progress,” he observed.

Govt to hold Cabinet meeting at Gairsain on Oct 2

Dehradun, June 5
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hriyadesh today evaded giving a commitment in the House on the creation of permanent capital at Gairsain by the Bahuguna government, instead she said bowing to the demands of the people, the government had decided to hold a cabinet meeting in Gairsain on October 2 this year.

While replying to a question posed by BJP MLA Ajay Tamta who wanted to know if the government was seriously deliberating on the capital issue and why the government was unnecessarily playing with the feelings of the people by deciding to hold a Cabinet meeting in Gairsain, the minister said: “The government had constituted the Dikshit Commission to decide on the capital for Uttarakhand. The four volume reports of the commission have already been tabled in the House on July 2009. Beyond this I cannot comment beforehand,” said the minister.
On being repeatedly asked by BJP MLAs whether the government would declare Gairsain as a summer, a temporary or a permanent capital, the minister said if such a decision had to be taken, it would come during and after the Cabinet meeting at Gairsain. We will be allocating separate budget, if construction work has to be started in Gairsain in view of the Cabinet meeting,” she said.

Venus transit 2012 begins as the world looks to the sky

BANGALORE, India : If you do not look at the sky today, then you'll have to wait till 2117. Backlit by the Sun, as the bird flies across, its silhouette has often made for picture-perfect moments.

"Today's transit of Venus across the Sun is no different," confirms Dr E Ebenezer, scientist, Radio Astronomy group at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. "Only Venus and Mercury can transit this way as they appear before the Earth in the solar system," he adds. The next transit of this nature, as recorded by scientists, is slotted to occur 105 years later - in December 2117. For Akshay Kumar MA, student of Jain College who is spearheading the Sheraton Astronomy Club, this phenomenon goes beyond just witnessing it.

"I am at Nikaya Observatory with enthusiastic astronomers. Today's transit is significant given that Venus is coming in between the Sun and the Earth. Several scientific conclusions can be drawn from it.

We can find the exact distance between Sun and Earth and also calculate the Sun's diameter," he says. "For the layperson, there are many ways of watching it. While some will opt for a telescope, people in earlier times used to mix cow dung in water and watch the Sun's reflection in it. Both the methods are safe. Today, it's important to watch the transit through a space filter," explains Dr Sujata Virdhe, former Isro scientist and founder of Sunday Science School. She has also designed Nebula Solar Goggles, which has been put through various tests to sanctify the power of its solar filter.

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations draw to close

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center, accompanied by, from left to right, Prince Charles; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in central London to conclude the four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the queen's accession to the throne.

LONDON, June 5, 2012  — The curtain fell Tuesday on a four-day extravaganza marking Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne, culminating with deafening applause from the hundreds of thousands who gathered outside Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of the monarch on her world-famous balcony.
Britons tend to reserve displays of gushing patriotism for high-profile royal or sporting events, and at times during the jubilee festivities the landscape here almost morphed into a sea of Union Jack flags.

Millions of people braved rainy conditions (another great British tradition) to take in the largest pageant on the Thames in 350 years, street parties across the country, and a star-studded concert featuring the likes of Paul McCartney and Elton John.
But the mood was notably dampened when Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, was hospitalized Monday for a bladder infection.
The day before, the 90-year-old royal consort stood for four hours on an open-topped boat in blustery conditions, prompting commentators to ask whether the journey was too taxing for the former naval officer, who spent Christmas in the hospital recovering from a heart operation.
The indefatigable queen pressed on with events. With her husband hospitalized, she was accompanied Tuesday by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, in a horse-drawn carriage procession through central London. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, traveled close behind in a second carriage.
In a rare address to the nation, broadcast Tuesday evening, the 86-year-old monarch, who is as popular as she has ever been, said the outpouring of public support had “touched me deeply.”
In one of the most moving tributes to the queen, Charles, the heir to the throne, addressed her as “Your Majesty, Mummy,” before a crowd of about 500,000 revelers at the pop concert Monday night. “This is our opportunity to thank you and my father for always being there for us,” he said, “for inspiring us with your selfless duty and service and for making us proud to be British.”
Referring to his father, Charles told the crowd: “If we shout loud enough, he might just hear us in hospital.” The crowd roared: “Philip! Philip! Philip!”
While the queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee throughout the year, the past four days were billed as the main event. It included the lighting of 4,200 beacons across the globe from Kenya to Canada and on the highest peaks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some have criticized the glitzy celebrations at a time when Britain is in the throes of a recession, but many have welcomed them as a short reprieve from the gloomy headlines.
“It’s magical,” said Lynn Carr, 45, with her head cranked skyward as planes from the Royal Air Force roared over Buckingham Palace on Tuesday streaming red, white and blue trails of smoke.
“I think it’s good for the people,” said Carr, a local government official. “They need this.”
The queen is famously inscrutable, but during the wall-to-wall coverage here, royal watchers could spot her radiant smile on several occasions. She beamed, for instance, during Sunday’s river pageant upon spotting a horse puppet from the hit play “War Horse” rearing in tribute on the roof of the National Theatre.
“I think what we have seen, frankly, is the best of Britain,” Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC on Tuesday. He added that there has been “a great resilience, people wanting to celebrate even though the weather has been pretty bad, and an extraordinary resilience on behalf of Her Majesty, who, in spite of all the problems and difficulties, has kept going with such incredible spirit.”

India celeberates World Environment Day

Environmentalists favour CFLs
Chandigarh, June 5
On the World Environment Day today, environmentalists were vocal on the use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to save energy for the future generation.

Dr Satnam Singh of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology accepted that the government had not made any arrangements for the disposal of CFLs. 

He said this while interacting with mediapersons at the PGI. He said besides promoting the use of CFLs, state governments should make fool-proof arrangements for disposal.
He said the states should come up with a policy so that energy savers could not turn into environmental threats.
He said hundreds of discarded CFLs were lying unattended at garbage dumps, releasing poisonous material into the environment.
CFL bulbs and tubes contained mercury, which was highly toxic and could cause serious health problems like damage to the nervous system, kidneys and liver, he said.
The Panjab University dean, Dr AS Ahluwalia, said the public was not unaware about the health hazards from CFLs.
In the absence of a proper CFL-disposal policy, public dumped those in domestic bins. He said the UT Administration had implemented the e-waste policy, but there were no clear directions on CFL disposal.
He said paver blocks adversely affected the green cover and the seepage of water into the ground, resulting in the lowering of underground water level.
He said it had been scientifically proved that such concrete structures spoilt the eco-system of the soil and the heat around plantation affected it.
Other experts stressed the installation of rainwater harvesting in buildings to improve groundwater level.

Manpneet Kaur is crowned Miss Australia Punjaban 2012

Melbourne - Manpuneet Kaur Grewal a first year Accounting student at Melbourne's Deakin University, was crowned ‘Miss Australia Punjaban 2012’ at a well attended and appreciated event held here.  She has secured a place to compete with other contestants who will be representing other parts of the world and vying for the title of ‘Miss World Punjaban 2012’.

The main event is due to be held at Ludhiana in Punjab in November 2012.

Australian born Manpuneet Kaur, a 9’9” ‘Punjaban Mutiyar’ who resides in Melbourne and is studying commerce at Deccan University, impressed the judges with her beauty, knowledge and talent to bag the prestigious title.

Parminderjit Waraich from Brisbane finished Ist runner-up while Gagandeep Kaur from Melbourne was declared 2nd Runner-up.  

Ten beautiful Punjabans hailing from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney took part in the show organized by Sabhayachark Sath Punjab in association with South Pacific Institute.

The different rounds showcasing talent of the contestants were of immense interest to the audience. The contestants danced to the tune of Punjabi folk songs, displayed special talents and had a question-answer round where they were asked questions related to Punjabi Heritage.

Jagpreet bagged award for Best folk Dance, Ramandeep Kaur bagged award for being declared ‘Gunwanti Panjaban, Baljit Kaur was declared ‘Sughar-Syani Punjaban’ and Rajdip Kaur was conferred with ‘Gidhian di Rani’ sub-title. Amrit Kaur, Navjot and Semris were given special prizes.

Renowned Literary Personality Dr.Satish Verma who had specially flown from India, SBS Radio Anchor Manpreet Kaur and known Bhangra Expert Varinder Saran, were the judges at the event.

Gurvinder Singh Nagra welcomed the guests and audience while Harleen Sohana and Dr. Preetinder Grewal were the anchors for the show.

Teams of ‘Folk Art’, ‘Bhangra Rockers’, ‘Bhangra Federation’ regaled the audience with their performances. Parddeep Kaur, Poonam and their team members also presented Punjabi dance items. Charnamit Singh made the audience laugh with his comedy items.

Punjabi woman Roopak Kaur Sodhi who is the first Punjaban to be recruited in Victoria Police and ‘Singh Sabha Bhangra Group’ – contestants of ‘Australia has got Talent’ were specially honoured for their contribution towards the community.  They were awarded by Harbhajan Singh Khaira and Kanwalpreet Singh Sandhu.
Ajit Singh Rahi’s book ‘Teeja Ghallughara’ was released during the show.

Chairman-Director Jasmer Singh Dhatt told ‘Yes Punjab’ that those who contributed their best to make the show a success include Amardeep Singh, Manjot Kaur Dhaliwal, Amanpreet Singh, Upkar Singh, Gurpal Singh, Jaskunwar Singh.  

Others present include Prem Singh Khaira and Ruban Sohana from Sydney, Jasmel Singh Khaira, Gurpreet Singh Sangha, Sukhdeep Deol, Imtiyaz Khan and Ravi.
The event, fourth of its kind in Australia, hosted under the direction and supervision of Chairman-Director Jasmer Singh Dhatt at Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall with a capacity of 1100 was well received and well attended.

Jasmer Dhatt said that ‘Miss World Punjaban 2012’ beauty pageant has taken  a start with Australia event and now the  pageant is scheduled to  travel to Europe, America, Canada, New Zealand and Pakistan where such events shall select more Punjabi beauties to take part in the finals to be held at Ludhiana.