|Friday, February 11, 2000,
panel takes note of HP move
House panel takes note of HP
SHIMLA, Feb 10 The standing committee of Parliament on Science and Technology, which oversees functions of the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests, has taken notice of the Himachal government's move to allow green felling and sought a detailed report.
The matter was brought to the notice of the Union Ministry by the Chairman of the Parliamentary committee on the basis of newspaper reports. The ministry has in turn sought details from the state government and specifically asked whether or not the state could go for silvicultural fellings in the light of various orders passed by the Supreme Court over the past four years.
Meanwhile, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, Himachal Governor, has also sought a report from the state government on the decision which had attracted flak from environmentalists.
The Centre and the state have different points of view over the applicability of the orders of the apex court. The state government is of the view that the general order passed on January 15, 1998, vide which the court directed all states to prepare forest working plans within two years and get these duly approved by the Centre is applicable to Himachal Pradesh too. It laid down that silvicultural fellings would be allowed only under prescription of the working plan and felling would remain suspended until working plans were prepared and got approved. The state feels that since it had filed an affidavit before the court as early as 1997 that it plans to carry out silvicultural fellings in accordance with the working plans it could now go ahead with fellings in the light of the general order.
However, the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment, points out that the order passed by the court on December 12, 1996 was specific to Himachal Pradesh and it is presumed that it had not been modified so far. The court had by this order disallowed all fellings in government forests, except salvage markings to remove damaged, fallen and dry trees and providing timber to rightholders.
The government has now sought opinion of the Law Department whether 1998 general order covers Himachal Pradesh regarding which specific order was passed in 1996 along with general orders for other states.
Incidentally, Mr Vishnu
Kant Shastri, Governor, who has been concerned about the
preservation of forests, had also raised the issue in
Parliament as a Rajya Sabha member when the
Governor-in-council lifted the moratorium on green
fellings during the President's rule in July 1993.
Gayatri Mahayajna begins
HAMIRPUR, Feb 10 A two-day state-level Gayatri Mahayajna organised by the Shanti Kunj, Hardwar, started here today. Thousands of men, women and children in yellow dresses took part in a massive procession taken out through the main bazaar.
The participants chanted the Gayatri Mantra as the women carried kalash (earthen pots) on their heads and prayed for World Peace.
The Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, was the chief guest in the evening session and took part in the sarv dharm prarathna organised on this occasion. He stressed the need for such functions for promoting world peace and infusing a sense of brotherhood among people.
He called upon the people to adopt the theory of One Master and Vasudevama Katumbkam. He lauded the role of the Gayatri Parivar in imbibing a sense of religion among the people. The time had come when all should unite under one banner to oust evil forces from society and to create brotherhood among all.
Leaders of the Gayatri Parivar also spoke.
Meanwhile, the annual month-long fair at Deotsidh, the seat of Baba Balak Nath, will start from March 14.
This was announced by Deputy Commissioner Anuradha Thakur here today.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the mela organising committee here earlier in the day in which other members of the committee took part. The committee decided to detail 160 jawans of the Himachal Pradesh police and Home Guards during the mela to maintain law and order here.
Kangra may have an airport
DHARAMSALA, Feb 10 The Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, has said that the government was exploring the possibility of setting up an international airport near Dehra, to give a boost to tourism in the Kangra valley.
The Chief Minister was addressing a religious gathering at the newly built Radha Krishna Temple Community Centre Trust Complex, at Dehra today. The complex has been built at a cost of Rs 45 lakh. The Chief Minister said that the Kangra valley was the abode of a number of deities like Jawalamukhi, Chamunda Devi, Brijeshwari, Baglamukhi and lakhs of pilgrims visit these places every year.
Mr Dhumal said Dehra town had a religious and historical significance and the government would make all efforts to develop the town. He said boating and water sports would be introduced to attract tourists from the adjoining area. He said the Sood community had carved out their distinct identity not only in the country but even abroad.
Welcoming the Chief Minister, the Chairman of the trust, Mr Kapil Sood, said the new complex would have facilities of a vocational centre and a park. He said the centre would go a long way in promoting the social, cultural and religious activities.
The IPH minister, Mr Ramesh Chaudhary, Mrs Urmila Thakur, Parliamentary Secretary and Mr V. Rattanam, former Chief Justice of Himachal High Court were also present on the occasion.
Plea to popularise hill
PALAMPUR: The International Centre for Research and Training in Beijing has decided to establish an international association of sea buckthorn scientists. This decision was taken at an international workshop on the development, protection of sea buckthorn and its industrial use to save humanity held in Beijing recently.
Dr Virendra Singh, a scientist in the Agro-Forestry and Environment Department of HP Krishi Vishvavidyalaya here, represented India at this workshop. To draft the constitution of the association, a five-member committee was set up which included India. Other members belong to European countries.
Dr Virendra Singhs inclusion in this committee is quite significant as he has to ensure the interest of developing countries. Generally such international fora are dominated by Western countries. He has already been elected member of the coordination committee (South Asia) of this institute.
Dr Virendra Singh has done pioneering work on the development and protection of sea buckthorn in India in the past five years and has prepared a number of papers on this subject in various workshops held in and outside India.
While talking to The Tribune, Dr Virendra Singh says sea buckthorn is a tall bush, which grows in the upper regions of Himachal Pradesh, J&K, UP hills and Sikkim. Fruit and leaves of this plant are rich in Vitamins C and E and other bio-active substances like flavonoids, carotensoids and steroids, which are being used in Europe and China for the production of 200 industrial products like life-saving drugs and herbs to treat cancer, heart ailments, ulcers, hepatitis, burns and brain disorders, besides cosmetics and health products.
Dr Virendra Singh says oil of this plant is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic which regenerates the tissues. Bio-active substances like Vitamins C and E and flavonoids have strong anti-oxidant properties. Therefore this plant has strong application in curing cancer and other heart ailments. In Europe, countries like Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Hungary have been importing sea buckthorn (SBT) oil from China to meet its commercial requirements and exporting high quality products like medicines including life-saving drugs and cosmetics. On the other hand, these countries have raised orchards to meet the future industrial demands for their domestic market.
Nature has given many qualities to this plant. Its residue is high quality animal feed for domestic animals, its leaves are very rich in protein (18 to 22 per cent), fat for (4 to 5 per cent), and even in Vitamin C. In China several fodder banks of sea buckthorn have been developed and its waste is being used as animal feed.
He is of the opinion
that in India, the high altitude region of Himalayas
suffers from extreme climatic conditions, high rates of
soil erosion and landslides, scarcity of vegetation and
shortage of fuel wood, timber and fodder. Several rivers
originate from the Himalayas and due to the high rate of
soil erosion carry silt and cause floods in the plains.
Besides, the problem of silt has posed a serious threat
to the survival of our dams like Pong and Bhakra. The
Union Government should launch a massive afforestation
plan in the Himalayas and plant sea buckthorn on
commercial lines which could check the menace of floods
and be used in for industrial applications.
Students boycott classes
HAMIRPUR, Feb 10 Students belonging to the ABVP of the local Government College boycott classes today in protest against the failure of the college administration to accept their demands.
They also submitted a memorandum to the Principal regarding their demands.
Mr Pankaj Sharma, a spokesman of the parishad, said here that if their demands were not met, the students would be compelled to resort to agitation.
The students have been demanding the holding of the SCA election and the restoration of their democratic rights, filling of all vacant posts of teacher in the college and the withdrawal of certain types of fee hike made by the state government in the colleges.
He said the students also raised slogans inside the college campus and held a dharna.
Police officers son held,
SHIMLA, Feb 10 The local police has impounded a Honda City car having three registration certificates in different names.
Suraj Gupta, son of a senior police officer, who was driving the vehicle was arrested and released on bail. The vehicle was intercepted last evening when the police was carrying out checking in connection with the theft of parts and tyres of Honda City car.
However, during checking the police found three registrations.
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