Your updated source of information about Dehradun & Uttarakhand.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dehradun connections with Rajesh Khanna

Dehradun -As the nation mourns the demise of India’s first superstar, city residents remember his Dehradun connection with a feeling of nostalgia. Rajesh Khanna had come to Dehradun in 1976 for the shooting of the film, Karm, which was produced and directed by BR Chopra. He stayed at Hotel Madhuban and the film was largely shot at a bungalow on Rajpur Road.
“Contrary to what is being reported, Rajesh Khanna’s first ever film was not Aakhri Khat but Raaz, in which he and Babita were introduced to the viewers,” says Doon Library and Research Centre research scholar and a film buff, Manoj Panjani. “Though Karm had an unconventional storyline, it happened to be a very weakly executed film of BR Chopra and one of the very rare films from the BR banner to have failed.”
Recalling Khanna’s humble beginnings Panjani said, “He got his big break when he won a talent contest held by Filmfare and a body of producers called the United Producers which included Shakti Samant, GP Sippy and BR Chopra.”
Rajesh Khanna has featured in a lot of quality commercial Hindi films like Aradhana (1969), Do Raaste (1969), Anand (1971), Ittefaq (1969), Safar (1970) and Aap Ki Kasam (1974) among others. The seventies was a decade when commercial Hindi cinema was experimenting with unconventional story ideas and techniques. Rajesh Khanna was a part of this phenomenon. “He became famous as a romantic hero though, several of his films like Aanand, Bawarchi, and Ittefaq didn’t have a romantic lead. Interestingly, films like Safar and Aradhana were centered around the female lead Sharmila Tagore in both cases but through his rendition of songs and his on-screen charm he was able to make his presence felt,” says Panjani.
“In Ramesh Sippy’s Andaaz, Khanna had made a special appearance for duration of only 15 minutes. Such was his persona and screen presence that the film is still remembered for the song zindagi ek safar hai suhana which was picturised on him,” he adds.
When Aradhana was offered to him, he was a little uncomfortable about playing Sharmila Tagore’s love interest in the first half and her son in the second half. Aradhana, however proved to be a blockbuster, highest grosser of that time, turning him into a superstar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

President Pranab takes charge as 13th President of India

At impressive swearing-in, new Prez focuses on tackling poverty, pushing growth
President Pranab Mukherjee waves from his horse-drawn carriage at Rashtrapati Bhawan after his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.
President Pranab Mukherjee waves from his horse-drawn carriage at Rashtrapati Bhawan after his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.  

After bitterly opposing Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature, key UPA ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee attended his oath-taking ceremony. Mamata, who reached Delhi on Tuesday night in a special plane sent by the Centre, went straight to Mukherjee’s residence and the two reportedly chatted till midnight. Actor Mithun Chakraborty, who is said to be Mukherjee’s mascot, was among a host of persons who came to witness the swearing-in of the country’s first Bengali President.
 Before the swearing-in, Pranab was driven to the Rashtrapati Bhawan in a black limousine
 Both Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil were given the national salute by members of the three Services lined along the road leading to Raisina Hill
 The two then left for Parliament House in a cavalcade. After the function, Mukherjee inspected his first guard of honour in a horse-driven buggy
 Later, the new President escorted his predecessor to her new residence at Tughlaq Lane. Patil will stay there for some months before she moves to her residence in Pune

New Delhi, July 25
After five decades in active politics, Pranab Mukherjee today began a new innings when he took oath of office as India’s 13th President at an impressive ceremony in the historic Central Hall of Parliament. As he himself later put it, it is a journey “from the flicker of a lamp in a small Bengal village to the chandeliers of Delhi.”
Attired in a black sherwani and white churidar, 76-year-old Mukherjee was administered the oath by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia in the presence of a huge gathering which included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, all ministers, UPA partners, Opposition leaders, Governors and many Chief Ministers. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were among the Opposition leaders who especially flew down for this occasion.
The ceremony began with the arrival of Pranab Mukherjee along with outgoing President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and the Chief Justice. Soon after being seated on the dais, the veteran Congress leader took oath.
Pranab then exchanged chairs with Pratibha Patil while a thunderous applause echoed through the high dome Central Hall. As soon as he assumed the top Constitutional post, a 21-gun salute was offered to Pranab. It was an announcement that the country had got a new President.
In his acceptance speech, Mukherjee underlined that his high office demands that he must rise “above personal or partisan interests in the service of the national good” and vowed to “to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution.”
Touching upon issues ranging from hunger to global terrorism, Mukherjee unveiled his vision of a modern India, which, he said, is built on fundamentals of secular values, economic equity and gender equality.
The speech bore Mukherjee’s distinctive imprint as he made a passing but telling reference to the touchy issue of tackling poverty and pushing growth. Stating that there is no humiliation more abusive than hunger, the new President underlined, “Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India.”
Mukherjee, who was the Finance Minister till last month, was known for his conservative views which have been at variance with those of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who believes in economic liberalisation. While those with socialist moorings contend that people at the bottom of the pyramid have to be pulled out of their poverty stricken condition by adopting a “bottom-up” approach, others pushing for economic reforms maintain that poverty can be erased by pushing for high growth as its benefits would percolate down to the poorest.
Mukherjee’s remark did not go unnoticed by Congress leaders who believe he will not be a “rubber stamp” President but will carefully scrutinise all the legislations sent to the Rashtrapati Bhawan for approval.
With Team Anna beginning another indefinite fast to press for the passage of the Lokpal Bill and action against tainted ministers, corruption too found a mention in Mukherjee’s speech. “Corruption is an evil that can depress the nation’s mood and sap its progress. We cannot allow our progress to be hijacked by the greed of a few,” he said.
Not forgetting that as President he is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, Mukherjee made a special reference to their role in the battle against terrorism.” I am proud of the valour, conviction and steely determination of our armed forces as they have fought this menace on our border,” he said.

Rajesh Khanna's ashes immersed in Ganga

Estranged wife of Rajesh Khanna Dimple Kapadia and daugher Rinki Khanna at Rishikesh on Wednesday
Estranged wife of Rajesh Khanna Dimple Kapadia &
 daugher Rinki Khanna at Rishikesh on Wednesday.
Dehradun, July 25
The ashes of Superstar Rajesh Khanna were immersed in the Ganga at Rishikesh here today. Dimple Kapadia, wife of Rajesh Khanna, and their daughter Rinki Khanna reached Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, in afternoon, from where they headed to Rishikesh by road.
Dimple and Rinki performed the ashes immersion in a brief ceremony at Rishikesh before rushing back to Mumbai. The media was kept away from the entire ceremony. The ceremony was initially scheduled for Haridwar, but was later changed to Rishikesh to keep the crowds away. Rajesh Khanna died in Mumbai on July 18.

SC decision to ban tourism in tiger reserves hailed by wildlife conservationists

Dehradun, July 25
The Supreme Court’s decision to ban tourism in core areas of all tiger reserves in the country could not have come at a more appropriate moment for Corbett National Park, the highest tiger density park in the country. While tourism had taken a giant leap in and around Corbett, boosting the region’s economy, it's adverse ramifications on tigers have been a matter of concern among the conservationists.
In his first reactions to the apex court’s order, Uttarakhand Principal Chief Conservator of Forests RBS Rawat, while reiterating the Forest Department’s commitment towards tiger conservation, said they will await Union Environment and Forests Ministry’s directions regarding the Supreme Court order and act in it's accordance. He admitted that banning tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves will serve the large purpose of tiger conservation.
Welcoming the Supreme Court’s directive, wildlife conservationist and authority on Corbett Park Hem Singh Gehlot said the Supreme Court’s decision has come very timely. He said today tigers in the country and Corbett in particular have suffered the most in the name of eco-tourism. “Take, for example, Corbett; the resorts stand as main culprits. While on the one hand these resorts have blocked the tiger corridors, on the other they flay all norms to create trouble for the region’s wildlife, including tigers, by promoting rampant tourist activity inside the reserve,” he pointed out.
People for Animals, Uttarakhand, member-secretary Gauri Maulekhi, too, expressed her happiness over the Supreme Court’s order. She said a large tourist inflow into the core areas of Corbett Reserve is proving to be detrimental to the tiger population in the reserve.
Echoing similar sentiments, former Uttarakhand Chief Wildlife Warden AS Negi said the Supreme Court decision will certainly relieve the core zone of Corbett of increasing burden of tourists and will be in the interest of the region’s wildlife.
While conservationists have taken the Supreme court decision as a matter of rejoicing, former chairman of the State Forest and Environment Advisory Committee Anil Baluni has expressed his concern over the decision, asserting that locals, who are solely dependent on tourism in Corbett as a source of livelihood, will be the ultimate losers.
“About 20,000 people earn their livelihoods through tourism in Corbett, and the latest Supreme Court order will come as a huge setback for them,” Baluni pointed out. He said in the backdrop of the Supreme court order, he himself will be taking up the matter legally. Baluni said he would even appeal to the Uttarakhand government to take to legal course over the matter as various large and small entrepreneurs in and around Corbett will be on the verge of losing their jobs after this decision.

Victory for Doon Star, Garhwal Sporting

Players in action at the 3rd ONGC BS Negi Memorial Football Tournament in Dehradun on Wednesday
Players in action at the 3rd ONGC BS Negi Memorial Football Tournament in Dehradun on Wednesday

Dehradun, July 25
Doon Star and Garhwal Sporting today won their respective matches in the 3rd ONGC BS Negi Memorial Football Tournament being played at Ambedkar Stadium, Dehradun.
In the first match, Doon Star beat Doon Challengers 2-1. Balvinder scored both the goals for Doon Star, whereas Mukesh Thapa scored for Doon Challengers.
In the second match, Garhwal Sporting beat Eleven Star Football Club 5-0 in a one-sided match.
Shivam added two consecutive goals to Garhwal Sporting.
Tomorrow Uttarakhand Police will take on Garhwal Boys.

Director, Tata Sons, delivers lecture at Welham Boys' School

Dehradun, July 25
The second lecture of the Platinum Jubilee Lecture Series - Schooling Today for Tomorrow - was delivered by R. Gopalakrishnan, Director, Tata Sons Ltd, today at Welham Boys' School.
Gopalakrishnan, in his lecture, traced the historical evolution of "our left brain-oriented education system, which has reduced the ambit of teaching only to what can be taught. A shift in the approach by encouraging right-brain activities would open the possibilities to learn what cannot be taught." Beautifully woven with anecdotal and historical illustrations,
Gopalakrishnan's address held the audience enthralled as well as provoked some rather serious introspection, both internal and public.
The talk was attended by students and staff of Welham Girls' School, Rashtriya Indian Military College, as well as of Welham Boys' School.
Gopalakrishnan studied physics at Calcutta University, engineering at IIT, Kharagpur, and also attended the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.
He had served as Chairman of Unilever Arabia, as Managing Director of Brooke Bond Lipton India and finally as Vice Chairman of Hindustan Lever Limited.
The talk was followed by an intense and thought-provoking question/ answer session.

Tree plantation drive in Mussoorie, nearby areas

Mussoorie, July 25
Taking advantage of the monsoons, a tree plantation drive was carried out in Mussoorie and surrounding areas today.
The plantation drive began early morning when school students from Sanatan Dharam Inter-College gathered on their school premises and planted around 15 saplings of Oak and Deodaar.
In another event around 9000 saplings of trees such as Grewia Optiva (Bhimaal), Blackjack Oak, Golden Shower Tree (Amaltaash), Aegle marmelos ( Bael), Kharik and Pachnaar were planted around Kempty Falls area jointly by the 127 battalion of Eco Task Force and students of Government Inter College, Kempty.
Colonel HS Rana, Commanding Officer of the task force, led the team which planted the saplings in widelspread areas around Kempty and adjacent villages here.
According to Subedar Dilip Kumar, the Eco Task Force has set a target of planting around four lakh trees in a year and assist in greening the Aglar-Yamuna valley.
The 127 Battalion of Eco-Task Force (ETF), Dehradun, was set up on December 1, 1982, with the aim to control the process of ecological degradation of Shivalik Hills and area around Mussoorie, where continuous mining over the years had wreaked havoc on the flora and fauna.
Rama Devi Inter College students planted saplings near their school to mark the occasion of Sri Dev Suman Shaheed Diwas. They also planted around 50 saplings and contributed in greening the environment. 
Students of Sanatan Dharam Inter-College planted around 15 saplings of Oak and Deodaar
Around 9000 saplings of Grewia Optiva (Bhimaal), Blackjack Oak, Golden Shower Tree (Amaltaash), Aegle marmelos ( Bael), Kharik and Pachnaar were planted around the Kempty Falls area.

Van Gujjars to get smart cards for identity in Uttarakhand, says Chief Secy

Dehradun, July 25
Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Jain, charing a meeting at the Secretariat here today, said several initiatives would be taken to bring Van Gujjars into the mainstream of society.
The Van Gujjars of the Rajaji National Park and the Corbett National Park would be rehabilitated at other places and their smart cards would be made for identity. A proposal to include them in the Scheduled Tribe category would be forwarded and a concrete programme would be chalked out by the Social Welfare Department for their social and economical development.
Chief Secretary Jain said out of the 1,390 Gujjars from the Rajaji National Park, 1,228 had been rehabilitated in Pathri and Gainda Khatta in Haridwar. “Soon the remaining 162 will also be rehabilitated,” he said, adding that 160 acres in Haridwar had been sanctioned for 181 Gujjars of the Corbett National Park.
Jain said the rehabilitation also included the facilities of electricity, water, hospitals, schools and other basic amenities. “Besides this, one-time payment of Rs 10 lakh each will be made to 6,151 Gujjar families to bring them in the mainstream of society,” he said.
Jain directed Secretary Social, Welfare, Subardhan to take effective measures to bring in change in the lifestyle of Van Gujjars through skill development, vocational training, counselling, awareness programmes and education.
The Chief Secretary said a resolution would be passed in the state Assembly and the Centre would be urged to include Gujjars in the ST category. He directed the Forest Department to issue them smart cards to boost their confidence. These cards would consist of their fingerprints and other personal details, so that they could open bank accounts, get issued voter ID and ration cards. He directed the officials concerned to conduct fresh baseline survey.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had constituted a high-level committee chaired by the Chief Secretary to draft a policy for the rehabilitation of Van Gujjars.
Principal Chief Forest Conservator RBS Rawat, Secretary, Finance, Radha Raturi, Principal, Forest Conservator (Wildlife), SC Sharma, Additional Secretary, Forest, Sushant Patnaik and other senior officials attended the meeting.
Other proposals
 To bring Van Gujjars into the mainstream of society Including them in the ST category
 One-time payment of Rs 10 lakh each to 6,151 Gujjar families.

600 tourism professionals to get training in hospitality

Dehradun July 25
About 600 professionals associated with tourism from all over the state will be given training in hospitality by the staff of the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) in Dehradun under a scheme funded by the Centre.
The first batch of 15 professionals from the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) is undergoing training on the IHM premises these days.
Of these, five are working at the canteen of the secretariat, five at the canteen of the Chief Minister’s office and another five at the canteen at the Chief Minister’s residence. Each workshop will run for one week.
General Manager, Tourism, GMVN, HD Pandey said the training would be provided in services such as front office and housekeeping, besides basics in etiquettes.
The trainees would also be guided about the significance of information with regard to historical, geographical or cultural perspective of the place where their hotel or restaurant or outlet was situated to satiate any query of the tourist.
Pandey said the GMVN employees posted at various tourist rest houses lacked training in hospitality and this was affecting business.
According to sources, most of the employees working at the 91 rest houses of the GMVN were those who were hired decades ago on the recommendation of the higher management of the GMVN or politicians. No one bothered to check their educational background, leave alone specialisation in the field of tourism.
This is the reason the employees in most of the rest houses are found wanting in according warm reception, keeping rooms spot clean and providing quick services to guests. They also dither on showing enthusiasm to woo customers to their outlets. The Tourism Department is hoping to remove this deficiency in a big way.
Even those dhabawalas, eating outlets, hotels and restaurants, which are associated with tourism activity directly or indirectly in the vicinity of the rest houses, will also be included in the workshop.
Only those rest houses will be selected for training which have the capacity of 20 beds or more.
This way, more than 40 rest houses, which are situated in far off places and have been declared sick, will automatically get excluded.
To make the workshop comprehensive, demonstrations will also be given. A stipend of Rs 1,200 along with a certificate will be given to the participants after holding an exam at the end of the workshop. The best performers will be duly rewarded. 

Raturi new president of UKD (D)

Dehradun, July 25
BD Raturi is the new president of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (D). At a convention organised to commemorate the foundation day of the UKD (D) today, Diwakar Bhatt said he had stepped down as the president of the party to pave the way for its unification with other factions. The birth anniversary of martyr of the agitation for Uttarakhand state Sridev Suman was also observed on the occasion.
Bhatt said his detractors were not happy to see him leading the party. Twenty-three resolutions were passed in the convention. These included a pledge to make Gairsain the capital of the state, resumption of stalled hydropower projects, cheap electricity to Uttarakhand and land to displaced sections of society.
Raturi said the UKD would fight the Tehri Lok Sabha byelection with renewed vigour. He added efforts would be made to strengthen the party. Bhatt said he would also support the party. He expressed confidence in Raturi’s leadership and said the party would progress under him.
Some activists of the rival UKD (P) were present in the convention though they evaded media attention. Party spokesperson Satish Semwal said most of the party leaders as well as members of both UKD (D) and UKD (P) were keen on unification and only a handful of leaders of the UKD (P), including party president Trivender Singh Panwar, were against the merger of the two parties.
Panwar distributed sweets among UKD members and leaders to celebrate the foundation day. He said there was no possibility of joining hands with Diwakar Bhatt who they had expelled for lifetime.
He said the party base would be expanded by enrolling more members and constitution of district-level committees.
Convener of the UKD (Ekta) NK Gusain held a separate programme to mark the foundation day of the party. He too lambasted Panwar and said the way the latter served a notice on founder and patron of the party Kashi Singh Aeri for attending a protest organised by his party a few days ago was unfortunate and an undignified act. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pranab Mukherjee elected new Indian president

NEW DELHI: Former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was elected Indian president on Sunday after votes from national and state lawmakers were counted in the race for the mainly ceremonial post.

Some analysts believe Mukherjee, a veteran from the ruling Congress party, may take a more active approach to the job than his predecessors as India struggles with a parliamentary deadlock and slowing economic growth. Mukherjee, 76, collected 69 percent votes, easily beating his only rival P A Sangma, 64, a former lower house speaker and tribal leader from the remote northeast who was backed by the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"I would like to thank the people of this great country for conferring this distinction by electing me to this high office," Mukherjee told crowds of cheering supporters gathered outside his residence in New Delhi.

India's president, who takes up residence in a 340-room palace built in the capital for the British viceroy during colonial rule, is chosen by legislators from the two houses of parliament and state assemblies.

The next general election, due to be held in 2014, is predicted to be close, which could lead to a period of complex horse-trading between numerous national and regional parties trying to form a stable coalition government.

"It's in this turbulent scenario Mukherjee as a president will be able to steer the ship of the state. He's a troubleshooter," said Sanjay Kumar, an analyst at India's Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Mukherjee may also try to use the presidential position to foster a behind-the-scenes deal between warring parties who have reduced parliament to a stalemate in recent sessions. He has a reputation as a canny negotiator, and was described by leaked US embassy cables in 2009 as "the ultimate Congress Party fixer and operator" with clear ambitions at that time to become prime minister.

Mukherjee commands widespread respect across party lines, but his performance as finance minister was criticised for his failure to push through reforms to further liberalise India's economy.

His exit from the ministry raised investors' hopes that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who took over the finance portfolio, could embark on long-awaited moves. Mukherjee's success on Sunday was a welcome victory for the embattled the Congress party, which has been beset by a string of graft scandals, policy reversals and a raft of disappointing economic data.

Sangma congratulated his opponent but criticised the Congress for running an "exceptionally partisan and political" campaign for the head of state. Mukherjee will be formally sworn in on Wednesday, taking over for a five-year term from Pratibha Patil, India's first woman president. 

Baba Ramdev aide Balkrishna arrested in fake passport case

Haridwar, Jul 20, 2012: CBI has arrested yoga guru Ramdev's aide Balkrishna, after a Dehra Dun court issued a non-bailable warrant against him in a case related to fake documents. The arrest comes ahead of Ramdev's August 9 agitation against corruption and black money in Delhi.
The special CBI court had asked Balkrishna to be present in court on Friday, but he failed to appear. CBI had filed a case against Balkrishna in a case relating to submission of alleged fake and forged documents to obtain an Indian passport. CBI has alleged that Balkrishna had, along with the then principal of Sanskrit Mahavidayala in Khurja in Uttar Pradesh, conspired to issue fake educational certificates which Balkrishna used to secure a passport. CBI has booked both men under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery. Additionally, Balkrishna has been charged with violation of the Passport Act.
"It was alleged in the complaint that the accused had wrongfully obtained an Indian passport. Enquiry established that the accused in connivance with some unknown persons has furnished false information and forged documents to the Passport office at Bareilly (UP) for getting an Indian passport issued," a CBI spokesperson said.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh alleged Ramdev a fraud after his aide Balkrishna's arrest. Singh said Congress would expose Baba Ramdev's misdeeds soon and asked his party men to follow the non-violent path. "The Congress follows the path of non-violence. I do not believe that violence is ever good. I am appealing to my party workers not to start a movement, which may turn violent. We will, with dignity and non-violence, open all cases of this hypocrite baba. We will expose all his black deeds," Singh said in Bhopal.
Balkrishna's arrest an attempt to scare me: Ramdev,  Sits on dharna
Dehradun: Hours after the arrest of his close aide Balkrishna, Yoga guru Ramdev on Friday alleged that the government was taking such steps to scare him and break his resolve in the fight for bringing back black money stashed abroad. 

"The government is scared of the August nine agitation. That is why there was a murderous attempt on me (in Bhopal) and character assassination of Balkrishna. 

"By doing so, the government thinks that it can break my resolve and scare people who are protesting. Let the government do whatever they want, I will not leave the path of truth," Ramdev said in a statement. 

Balkrishna was today arrested by the CBI after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by a special court here in an alleged fake documents case. 

Ramdev also alleged that Balkrishna was being targeted because he was his close aide.