City schools, hospitals flunk quake test
Old hospital buildings are ill-prepared to meet exigencies that may arise in case of a quake of high intensity. New constructions are better but can’t be termed as quake-proof, only quake-resistant, say sources
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 8
A survey of city hospitals and schools is under way to assess how safe these buildings are in the event of an earthquake. In case of a quake measuring 5 on the Richter Scale, hospitals and schools are the only hope. While hospitals serve to provide medical assistance to victims, schools are the sole places for shelter.

Part of an Indo-Norwegian project, all hospital and school buildings, government and private, will be surveyed under the programme that is aimed at assessing the city’s preparedness to meet exigencies in case of an earthquake above the magnitude of 5. Most hospitals have been covered under the survey. Schools are next in line.

The initiative has been taken up jointly by the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkie, and the State Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre.

There are a total of 76 hospitals in Dehradun, both big and small. Government hospitals like Doon Hospital, Coronation Hospital and Premnagar Hospital and private hospitals like Mahant Indresh Charan Das Hospital, Combined Medical Institute, Himalayan Hospital Trust, Astha Nursing Home and Jankalyan Hospitals have been been so far covered under the survey.

The criteria includes a hospital’s ability to keep its medicines and other apparatus in tact in the event of high magnitude tremors. There have been cases when the central oxygen supply has been interrupted due to the bursting of pipe during a quake, a situation that can be fatal for hospital inmates. Medicines and other stock should be stacked in such a manner that they do not get damaged during a quake.

Other crucial aspect of assessment is structural design of hospitals. Many old buildings are devoid of quake- resistant features while some new constructions have tried to come up with some arrangements.

Interestingly, owners of certain private hospitals opposed the survey and it could be conducted only on intervention of the office of Additional Home Secretary, who used his powers under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Leading the survey, Umesh Kumar, chief engineer, irrigation department, said the team, that included IIT scientists, had spent as many as two days in some hospitals like Mahant Indresh Charan Hospital for a thorough assessment.

“Old hospital buildings are ill-prepared to meet the exigencies that may arise in the city in case of a quake of high intensity. The sole solace is some of the new constructions but these too cannot be termed as quake-proof but only quake-resistant,” Umesh Kumar said.

The recommendations of the survey will be submitted to the state government. Significantly, the hospitals may be provided with financial assistance to update their quake preparedness after the completion of the survey.

“The survey on lifeline buildings assume much importance and is expected to portray the true picture of quake preparedness iby city hospitals and schools,” said Piyush Rautela, director, Uttarakhand Disaster and Mitigation Centre.

He said it was for the first time that a study linked specifically to hospitals and schools was being undertaken in the capital.

Falling in Seismic Zone V, which makes it highly sensitive to earthquakes, Dehradun has seen a deluge of high-rise buildings and shopping malls with little measures to ensure that these buildings are quake-resistant.

One can see plots being sold alongside seasonal rivers, even when the mass of land near the river is risky for any construction and even if construction work is carried on, it should be properly designed with columns and beams. If you have a closer look at houses built within the city, most are without columns and beams.

“It is generally seen that in case of a earthquake of high intensity, hosital and schools are as vulnerable as other buildings,” said Umesh Kumar. All the more important to ensure that there are more stringent laws to ensure quake preparedness in hospitals and schools. “If one can’t predict a quake, one can at least minimise the loss of lives”, he added.

A study conducted by scientists from Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing and International Institute for Geo-information and Earth Observations, the Netherlands, had highlighted the threat posed by quakes to buildings in Dehradun.

With the city falling in the seismic zone and a fault line passing through Rajpur, the region is highly sensitive to quakes.



And now, cow urine cola
Tribune News Service

Om PrakashHaridwar, February 8
Producing cow urine cola, a soft drink on the line of Pepsico and Coca Cola, is the next target of the Cow Protection Department of the RSS.

Om Prakash, head of the Cow Protection Department of the RSS, told mediapersons that the cola brands are carbonated drinks that proved harmful in the long run and claimed that the soft drink with cow urine, as major ingredient, would not only be natural but cost effective too.

“Besides, the conservation of cow and its stature according to the Indian traditions it would be justified,” said Om Prakash.

“There have been several round of meetings with the corporates in this regard to lay the bottling plant for the soft drink made of cow urine,” informed Om Prakash.

With a recent study of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reveals the usage of trans-fatty acids in higher proportion in the branded vegetable oils in the country and use of chemicals in the day to day consumer goods, the need of ayurvedic and natural products has increased.

Now, cow urine and cow dung are being touted as a healthy alternative for various usages in our daily life.

Cow urine is now being propagated by Om Prakash, a member of the Gau-Raksha (cow-protection) and Gau-Sarankshan Vibhag (cow conservation department) of the RSS. He has been working for the past 40 years in this field and has played a pivotal role in having at Kanpur and Lucknow factories manufacturing various products made up of cow urine and cow dung.

Om Prakash names the products ranging from tooth paste, shampoo, soap, face powder, shaving lotion, balm, biscuits, incense sticks, phenyl, mosquito coils to tiles and distemper, too, being made up of cow urine and cow dung. Specially the tiles made up of the cow dung have been tested by various laboratories and are certified for usage for bunkers due to their fire and water resistance and anti radiation qualities. Also mattresses, furniture, statues and portable low cost homes are made with using of cow dung powder.

What is most striking is that all these products cost half of the prices of major brands and thus apart from natural and eco-friendly it will be pocket-friendly, too, in this age of high inflation, Om Parkash claimed.

The cow urine has proved useful in the cure of cancer and several other diseases. Besides, the farmers would also benefit, as they would get money for selling cow urine and dung.

The Gau Raksha Department is also in consultation with the state government and has made a presentation regarding having a manufacturing unit in the state too. The state government has given positive signs for this project. According to Gau Raksha members, financial support and retail chain is all that they need to make these products the first choice of the consumers.



You can bank on him
Vishal Thakur
Tribune News Service

Subal Chandra Sarkar is much appreciated by fellow colleagues and customers
Subal Chandra Sarkar is much appreciated by fellow colleagues and customers. His colleagues say he is most punctual

Dehradun, February 8
He is popular among customers and colleagues alike. A peon with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) branch in Ashley Hall here, despite being blind, Subal Chandra Sarkar has been carrying out his duties meticulously.

Visit the bank any time of the day and you will see him tapping his stick on the floor moving counter to counter, leaving drafts, cheques and invoices.

Subal was impaired at the age of 14 after he suffered typhoid fever and conjunctivitis.

All efforts by his parents to save his eyesight failed. This unfortunate turn of events did not deter Subal from carrying on with his life. He joined the National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH) on Rajpur road for an 18-month vocational course.

He learnt blanket weaving and candle-making that could be a means for him to earn a living. “I had to struggle a lot, first adjusting to the disability and then overcoming it through hard work,” he said.

He finally got through the bank recruitment exam and was appointed a Class IV employee at Ashley Hall, Punjab National Bank.

Subal’s work has received much appreciation from fellow colleagues and customers. His colleagues say he is most punctual in office. “All these years, I have not seen him arriving late to office. He reaches the office at 10 in the morning and ensures that he is there till 5 pm,” said DK Kothiyal, a bank official.

“His presence keeps the office atmosphere charged up as he enjoys a witty conversation with his co-workers, despite a busy schedule at the bank,” said DN Uniyal, another bank colleague.

“In the beginning, I did face some difficulty in carrying out daily office chores as I often bumped into things. Now I am well-adjusted to the office settings at the office” said Subal.

Subal wanted to be a village doctor like his father. Subal loves listening to Ravindra sangeet. Reading stories in braille is his other passion. Subal has two sons, the elder one in college and the younger has just cleared his Class XII board exams.



‘Kundi’ bounty leaves power body impoverished
Industrialists, farmers, professionals or slum dwellers, all steal power the ‘kundi’ way
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Roorkee, February 8
When it comes to stealing electricity and burning a hole in the pocket of the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), there is no class divide between the residents of the city and the periphery.

Be it industrialists, farmers, professionals or ‘jhuggi’ dwellers, it seems that no one wants to stay behind in stealing power through ‘kundi’ connections.

The UPCL loses a whopping amount of Rs 75 crore every month, thanks to these illegal connections.

The deputy general manager of UPCL, Roorkee, MS Chandola, said that around 15 million units were being stolen by wrongdoers every month. "We are losing around Rs 75 crore per month due to the menace," said Chandola.

During a raid recently, sleuths of the vigilance team of the UPCL were stunned to find a full-fledged small-time illegal ‘powerhouse’, which had been installed by the owner of a stone crusher at Bhogpur forest area in Laksar.

A 250-kva transformer was set up illegally through ‘kundi’ using five electricity poles and a 300m long wire.

During its visit to many villages and industrial towns including Narsan, Aurangabad, Jhabrera, Dhanouri, Manglore and Bhagwanpur, the Tribune team found hundreds of such connections on which many small-scale industrial units, farming houses, tubewells, households and other businesses were being run with impunity.

Chandola stated that prevention of the theft of electricity has become a major challenge for the department.

Insulated wires could provide a solution but financial crunch does not allow us to use this option, said Chandola, while adding that the Roorkee unit of the department has been receiving 80 to 90 million units per month from the main power grid of the state out of which 10 to 15 million units are being stolen.

Besides that, the department has also been suffering losses as these illegal connections cause overloading the transformers resulting in their damage time and again.

The department receives 80 to 90 million units per month of which 10 to 15 million units are being stolen due to illegal connections
— MS Chandola
Deputy general manager, UPCL, Roorkee



Cancellation of meet angers residents
Anmol Jain
Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, February 8
Last-minute cancellation of a meeting scheduled for hearing public grievances against the hike in house tax by Cantonment Board authorities has angered locals as well as elected members of the board.

The vice-president of the board CB Baloni has accused the authorities of corruption and red-tapism, while members have described it as a deliberate move to harass the local citizenry.

Baloni accused the executive officer of unnecessarily harassing house-owners. “Some of the owners had come from as far as New Delhi but upon reaching Mussoorie they were informed that the CEO has gone out of station and the meeting has been cancelled,” Baloni said.

Meanwhile, house-owners have questioned the justification behind the revision in house tax in the Mussoorie Cantonment Board. “According to bylaws, house tax can be increased by a maximum of 25% per annum, but this year it has been increased by up to 100%,” rued one of the house-owners who did not wish to be named.

Board members also said the condition of houses and facilities being provided by the board should be kept in mind while fixing the tax.

Baloni said there were several reports of corruption in the cantonment board office. “Officials are not being able to face the public due to prevailing corruption in the board office,” alleged Baloni accused.

He also accused the officials of not organising the board meetings on time. “On January 30, I along with six elected members had written a letter to the President and apprised him about this,” said Baloni.

He said in the letter the board members have also threatened to resign if adequate steps to improve functioning of the board are not taken with immediate effect. Board members Narendra Padiyar, Jasvinder Garg and Rakesh Kannojia were also present on the occasion.

Some house-owners had come from as far as New Delhi, but on reaching Mussoorie they were informed that the meeting of the Cantonment Board had been cancelled
— CB Baloni
Cant Board VP



Dance like an Egyptian
In Egypt, dance is considered the most direct way of expressing joy
Neha Walia

Within the manifolds of its dark, mysterious and fascinating history, Egypt is not less than an enchanted experience. The land of mummies and pharaohs, Egypt has mummified its traditions too. Whether it's the pyramids, the tombs that still spell out stories from the past or the most vibrant part of its culture, dancing, Egyptians have preserved their traditional tonality. For them dancing perhaps is the most straightforward way of expressing joy. Under the umbrella term of belly dancing, the world was introduced to the serpentine moves of their dancing and bringing the more traditional and authentic folk dance forms is this dance troupe from Ismailia, here to perform at Tagore Theatre under the cultural exchange programme of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Performing for the first time in India, Ismailia brings some best folk dances from Egypt. "Traditional dances form the base for us. We perform folk dances from south of Egypt, Cairo, and badouin folk dances," says Maher Kamal, the manager of the troupe. This group of 12 members, seven dancers and four musicians, is a heady mix of culture and modernity. "Though we perform folk dances, we try bringing in new ideas and designs, using lot of props and fusion of our music with modern beats," Kamal says. They have performed at international dance festivals and toured countries like Greece, Bosnia, Spain, Malaysia and Italy. But India, he says, feels like home. "We share the same civilization and culture. Just like you have sitar, we have ouds, use tabla in our music and if you play santoor with sticks, we play it by hand. We too use a lot of costumes in our dances," he summarises the similarities for us.

Apart from the vibrancy, another thing common to both countries is the struggle for survival when it comes to their folk art. "We start training dancers as young as 10-12 years of age in our school in Ismailia. Then they further graduate to higher forms till they are 16. It's only then that they join the national dance groups," says Kamal. With all the attention and appreciation that they have earned touring across countries, all their focus lies in preserving the folk dance forms of Egypt. And the next stop? "We will perform at the Surajkund Festival and then off to Jaipur," he signs off.



Instruments of success
S.D. Sharma

A Globetrotting Indian prince of classical music and compatible heir to a 500 years old musical legacy of illustrious Bhatt family of Jaipur, Salil Bhatt, is undeniably the ideal icon for promoting the classical genre in India. Credited with over dozen albums of instrumental music on Mohan Veena and further improvised Satvik Veena, Salil is the only young artist honored to be invited for music recital before the Parliament of Germany in 2005, Adelaide International Guitar festival, King of Oman, Government of Taiwan and the Ice Land as a member delegate with the President of India, Honourble APJ Abdul Kalam. He is in city for promotional concert for his latest Jugalbandi album Mumbai to Munich along with his counter part Germangenius Matthias Muller, a Guitar wizard of International acclaim. Both shared their views on music during an interaction organized by Guru Shobha Koser at the Pracheen Kala Kendra.

Chhote miyan subhan Allah! Isn’t it the befitting compliment for your being nominated in the Pre- Grammy award-2008 after your father –Guru Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt made it to the coveted honour?

It is indeed the Guru’s blessings and the rich grandeur of Hindustani music that my album Flight to Freedom won acclaim which established the popularity and supremacy of our music.

As you say religion, magic and music of India have been the areas which have fascinated the world since times immemorial. And now are you charming them with cultivated combination of classical and fusion music on the innovated Satvik Veena.

To me the Music, in its wider context, itself is a religion and its ibadat through practicing by devout artists creates magic.

What is special about your latest offering Mumbai to Munich?

All its compositions are a unique blend of tradition which their soul and modernity, which is the treatment of music format given to it. The great German guitarist Matthias Muller, who has teamed up with me for the musical delight, has created a mystic web of musical notes. Sharing their grief we have dedicated this soulful creation to the victims of Mumbai blasts and titled it Mumbai to Munich as Matthias Muller hails from Munich.

It is too late to ask about your academic background having been a gold medallist in B Sc and MBA besides qualifying for the Indian Military Academy but finally opting for classical music?

As the myth goes the musicians are not made but born. May be the realisation came to me later but I am determined to follow the footprints of my guru Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and see that the Indian classical music reigns supreme in invincible glory.



Munich to Mumbai
S.D. Sharma

Knowing much more about the Indian classical music, cultural heritage and the contemporary art scene in India than the most accomplished artist, the Munich born German national, Matthias Muller is a guitar virtuoso composer arranger of International eminence. He has partnered with Satvik Veena maestro Salil Bhatt in a captivating Jugalbandi album Mumbai to Munich released for this region by Kathak guru Shobha Koser here today.

Having done an extensive study of jazz and fusion with the likes of Jeff Richman and Joe Daversa, Mutthias has a profound fascination for the Indian classical and folk music.

With 25 years of excellence in music Mutthias has extensively performed in Germany, India, Switzerland, Italy and Poland recently. At the Pracheen Kala Kendra he explained the emotional significance and cultural relevance of the compositions of their album Mumbai to Munich.

Watch the ace guitarist in live performance along with Satvik Veena maestro in Pracheen Kala Kendra’s prestigious Fusion Music Concert to be held at Diwan Atma Ram Auditorium Law bhavan Sector 37, Chandigarh on February 9 at 6.30 PM onwards.



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