Beauty and the Chemical Beast

Ancient temples at Mandi are fast losing their architectural beauty as they are being ‘renovated’ with chemical colours and tiles, reports Kuldeep Chauhan

The lavish use of chemical colours, paint and tiles in the name of ‘mindless modernisation’ is spelling doom for the historic temples and heritage buildings across the state.

As a result, Himachal Pradesh is losing not only its temple architecture silently, but also its vast potential source of attraction for the droves of tourists from across the globe.

Except for pilgrims, foreign tourists and art lovers no longer care to visit the so-called ‘modernised temples or buildings’. These temples or historic buildings no longer attract them as they have been painted with chemical colours or done up with tiles.

The use of chemical colours and paints in temples and historic buildings has become so widespread in the state that the art lovers and scholars have expressed their concern over it. “If the use of chemicals is not stopped, the temple arts and court paintings will doom to death in the state,” they fear.

Chemical war

The onslaught of chemical colours and paint on the ancient pahari arts and architecture is nowhere more pronounced in the state as it has been noticed in Mandi town, hailed as the ‘Choti Kashi’ of Himalayas. This mindless commercialisation has taken roots under the nose of the state Department of Art, Language and Culture, which has been living in its cocoon ever since its creation, say art lovers.

Except for the temples and monuments maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the historic buildings and ancient temples face the onslaught of the chemical colours and paints. These temples and buildings are maintained by the government-run trusts or local temple committees or by the private trusts.  

In fact, these temple committees have turned the ancient temples into commercial ventures, painting the shrines lavishly or paints and have done them up with tiles to make them more attractive to devotees.

“The trend is nothing but vulgar display of wealth, besides these materials have ruined their beauty and architectural essence. With the passage of time, the chemicals wear away the arts and materials,” comment experts.

Temple town

The ‘Choti Kashi’ has over 85 small and big temples.  The Panchvakhtar and Triloknath temples along the Beas river still exude its ancient charm as these are preserved by the ASI. But they face threat from the encroachers, the migrants, who have pitched up their tents nearby. They defecate around the premise that makes visit to the temples unpleasant experience sometimes for the tourists.   

The plight of the Bhootnath temple in Mandi is no better. Built up by then Mandi king Ajber Sen, Bhootnath temple is a venue for the international festival of Shivratri. But the temple has been done up with paint and tiles in the recent past, hiding its ancient look.

Another ruler, Suraj Sen, had built the Damdama Palace that housed the temple of the Madho Rai. The palace has been commercialised by its owner while the Madho Rai temple has been painted with chemical colours. The Shivratri procession starts from the temple every year. “Earlier, a lot of feigners used to visit the event, but it no longer attracts tourists as it is losing its ethnic sheen every year,” say old-timers in the town.

The ancient Mahamartunjya and Tarna Devi temple have been turned into a commercial venture by the pujaris. The pujaris have erected an offensive tin roof around the temple to make a passage for the ‘parikrama’ route, which was not part of the original temple complex. The ‘tin roof ploy’ is to lure visitors to temple every day, which in turn, has ruined its architectural beauty, lament art lovers.

The same holds true for Tarna Devi, only pilgrimage-cum-picnic green spot in the town, as original temple art has been buried under the layers chemical paints and colours applied in its exteriors and interiors over the years.   

Similarly, the legendary shrines of Naina Devi in Bilaspur district, Brijeshwari Devi, Jwalaji, Chamunda Devi, all in Kangra district and Chintpurni in Una district have been done up with paint and chemical colours by the temple trusts, hiding their traditional beauty, the writers reveal.

An eyesore

Though the lakhs of pilgrims visit these temples every year, but the art lovers and foreigner tourists stay away as their architectural beauty has been lost under the garb of chemical paints and commercialisation.

Dr B.L. Kapoor, who has authored half a dozen books on arts and architecture and the hill gods, says: “The chemical colours and paint are being used in temples, paintings and other ancient buildings in the state. The government must put a stop to this practice as it has ruined the architectural beauty of the pahari temple and paintings.”

The District Language Officer, Mr Bhim Singh, says the department has filed a case against the temple pujari of Mahamritunjya for erecting the tin-roof, but no action has been taken to restore the old monumental beauty of temple.

Expert talk

Noticing the onslaught, the Professor of Japanese Painting from Kyoto University of Art and Design, Dr Kokyo Hatanaka, who had visited 200 art museums in the country and was in Mandi recently in connection with his research work, says;  “The trend of use of chemical colours and paints is universal as the natural and forest colours had disappeared along with the native art traditions in India. This trend must be reversed to save its ethic arts and temples from ruins as the chemical colours will ultimately destroy the arts and architecture.”

Taking notice of the issue, the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, has recently directed the district administration and the Department of Art, Language and Culture to remove the chemical paint and tiles from the ancient temple of Bhootnath in Mandi town. He also directed the IPH Department to make arrangement for the disposal of water offered to the temple deity. The water presently ends up in the dirty drains leading into the nearby Beas river.



Snow plays spoilsport
Rakesh Lohumi

The skating season this winter has taken off on a gloomy note, with weather playing the spoilsport. Everything seemed fine as the mercury plunged below the freezing point following an early spell of snow in the higher reaches and widespread rain in lower hills.

At the skating rink the grounds men led by Bhagwan Singh, who has over the years perfected the art of freezing water under natural conditions, got down to work. A thin white layer gradually started appearing on the surface of the rink. However, just before the beginning of the season the weather played spoilsport. Dark clouds appeared on the sky putting the effort of the grounds men to naught.

The thin layer of ice melted away in no time. As a result the season could not commence from December 1. Under favourable weather conditions as many as 30 skating sessions are held by the end of the second week of December. But this season only nine sessions could be held so far.

Interestingly, snow and ice-skating do not go together. A clear sky is essential for water to freeze naturally. There is no ice-skating activity during cloudy days. However, snow also plays an important role as it helps in maintaining a low ambient temperature, explains Bhuvanesh Banga, secretary of the Shimla Ice skating club, which manages Asia’s oldest natural rink.

Timely snowfall two or three times can ensure a good skating season as low ambient temperature enables two sessions in a day for almost for two months. Once the mercury shoots up as has been happening for the past couple of years only the morning session is possible. The situation turns worst when the sky remains overcast for days together but there is no snow.

Unfortunately, the “queen of hills” has not been having much snow in recent times and it experienced a snow-less winter last year. An early spell of snow raised hopes of a good season but the weather has changed completely since and mercury has been rising steadily.

The skating sessions are being held regularly for the past one-week but if the day temperature continues to rise two sessions may not be possible for long. Meanwhile, the club is all set for the national ice-skating training camp to be held for the first time. A coach from Austria will be here later this month to hone the skills of the ice skaters. About 400 members have been enrolled for the season and the club has adequate number of skates for the casual skaters, mostly tourists.

The main attractions, however, will be the winter carnival during which various competitions like figure skating, basket jumps and ice hockey matches will be held. If the weather remains good even now 60 to 80 sessions could be possible during the season. Three decades ago even 120 to 150 sessions were possible as the season extended to almost four months.

A proposal to convert the natural rink into an all weather rink by installing suitable refrigeration machinery is under consideration for the past three years. A project worth Rs 50 lakh has also been submitted to the Sports Authority of India for the same. Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister, has promised to provide the necessary funds to implement the project. The facility will make ice-skating possible during cloudy weather and also help extend the season from the existing two months to at least five months.



The wrong snow
by Shriniwas Joshi

Seeing shivering children, returning from schools in Shimla, my friend asked me if the early December snow this year was not the wrong snow. I was off my guard to hear the adjective ‘wrong’ for snow. I told him that it was the ‘right’ snow because an Uttrakhandi pahari adage is ‘poh pari hyun, kaan dharun gyun’, which meant if it snowed in the month of Poh (early December), a bumper crop of wheat was expected and that was what wheat-importing India required today.

The words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ qualifying snow, however, continued pestering me till I found that when the rail services in Britain in 1991 were disrupted the then Director of Operations, Mr Terry Worrall, had said it was due to the wrong snow. What he meant was that the snow was so dry and powdery that it penetrated all the protection that they had on their traction motors and affected their locomotives too. Britons could not digest it and for them ‘wrong snow’ became a part of British folklore as the bureaucratic limp excuse. May this expression enrich the vocabulary of officers sitting in Himachal Secretariat and they make good use of it!

Heritage re-visited

If one starts walking on the Mall of Shimla, from the Telegraph Office to the Clarke’s Hotel and beyond, one finds a longish retaining wall on one’s left. It falls within the declared heritage zone of the town and is ‘our heritage’. Some wonder at the very idea of a retaining wall being heritage and Shimla Municipal Corporation joins them in their wonderment. That is why it has no hesitation in plastering it with cement or re-doing it with dressed stones whenever and wherever repair works are undertaken. Thus ignoring the instructions that any modification, in the structures falling within the heritage zone, should have the clearance of the committee formed by the government for the purpose. The British had raised the wall with stones and dry masonry and it stood the test of time bearing heavy snow and torrential rains.

The beauty of this wall is when the flowerbeds in wintry Shimla are barren it is laden with small white flowers. A few experts name these flowers as ‘erigeron’, others differ in opinion to wit they disagree like Shimla clocks on the Mall.

Recently a tourist couple from Australia was standing just a few yards away from the scandal point appreciating the naturally grown white flowers protruding from the gaps between the stones in this wall. The Aussie gentleman felt that the wall had flowers because it was live and breathing there while the other segments of the wall choked with cement and mortar were non-living. Pointing to a part of the wall with flowers, he smiled and said, “It is a living human and that there is a robot.”

Let the Municipal Corporation draw lessons from it that the tourists who come to Shimla want to see something different, hilly and original, not the type of structures they see in the plains. But it is not that the Corporation always puts the saddle on the wrong horse, credit goes to it for re-building the rain shelter on the Ridge that retains the architectural features going with the ambience of heritage Shimla. It is a piece of heritage re-visited- pleasing to the eye and an improved replica of the age-worn shelter that was removed from here.


A gentleman in long military coat was frolicking in the shivering cold last week. His formula for beating the cold was to make use of BIBO. Now BIBO appeared a cousin of GIGO – garbage in, garbage out – the acronym that the computer world has made us familiar with. But that was no solution and the proverbial million-dollar question was to decode BIBO that could open the gate for tackling the expected ‘hard, dull bitterness of cold’ in the coming months. Many heads joined for a solution and failed. The wretched decoding was possible when the gentleman himself took a quarter out of the pocket of his brandy coat, had a sip and patting his heavy outfit exclaimed, ‘brandy in, brandy out’. That may be true for the gentleman in question but what about LIITH-liquor is injurious to health.



Shimla Diary
Winter sojourn for politicians
Pratibha Chauhan

The corridors of power in the state secretariat here are already beginning to wear a deserted look with the winter session of the state Assembly beginning at Dharamsala on December 26.

The inauguration of the Vidhan Sabha Bhavan at Dharamsala would certainly be a great moment for the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, who has scored over his political opponents not just in the BJP but also within his own party for granting the second capital status to Dharamsala. After all, it was he who had announced last year that the next winter session would be held in the new Vidhan Sabha complex at Dharamsala.

The ministers, MLA’s, bureaucrats along with their entire paraphernalia have already started moving to the warmer climes of the state. Even though the winter session at Dharamsala would be a brief one but it is not the duration but the symbolic importance of the event, which is important politically.

With the BJP accusing Mr Virbhadra Singh of giving step-motherly treatment to Kangra and other merged areas from Punjab into the hill state after the 1966 reorganisation, the holding of winter session at Dharamsala has silenced such criticism even if it is for the time being. After the session the Chief Minister will spend over a month touring the remote parts of Kangra, Hamirpur, Chamba and Una.

With the entire government practically being away for the winter sojourn, the state capital here is devoid of much activity. With all educational institutions too being closed for the winter vacations, it is a very sleepy town, which comes alive briefly with the Christmas and New Year revellers thronging the town for celebrations.

Lifetime achievement award

The former Director-cum-Principal of the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Dr H.L. Kapoor, has been honoured with the lifetime achievement award for his outstanding contribution to the field of Radiation Oncology and setting up the highest level of standards in medical research.

Dr Kapoor was felicitated during the annual cancer conference of the Association of Radiation Oncology of India, held at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi, recently. Dr Kapoor is the founder head of the Radiation, Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre, Shimla.

Dr Kapoor is credited with starting and developing cancer facilities and upgrading the hospital at IGMC to a regional cancer centre and was instrumental in getting a pilot cancer project for the state from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Besides this he was involved in incorporating the teaching and training curriculum of Radiation Oncology to under graduates in the Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines.

He is also credited with starting the MD course and helped the National Board of Examination in staring DNB courses in various disciplines of Oncology. Dr Kapoor is also a member of the Cancer Advisory Committee of the Government of India.

Currently Dr Kapoor is involved in cancer consultations and counselling services and is the coordinator of the National Oncology Group, which guides cancer patients for standard care with cost reductions.

Race against drugs

Based on the theme ‘A Drug Free State’, over 4,000 persons participated in the ‘Airtel mini marathon’ held here last Sunday. Locals as well as tourists visiting the ‘Queen of Hills’ showed great enthusiasm in participating in the event.

The marathon, organised by the Miora Academy in association with Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) and City Channel, had three categories for men and two for women while there were separate prizes for children and also for people above 75.

The marathon was flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tarun Kapoor, from the Ridge. The 4 km route for the marathon was from the Ridge to Peterhoff via Scandal Point, Vidhan Sabha and Cecil hotel.

Aman Saini won the first prize in the below 30 years category, Mr Naresh in the 30 to 65 category and Mr B.S. Pathania in the senior citizens category for those above 65 years. In the women’s category, Ms Nivedita won the below 30 years category. Special prizes were given to Ashish in the below 15 years category and to Mr R.P. Vohra in the Old Age category for those above 75 years of age.



Fighting foeticide with form-F
Ambika Sharma

With sex ratio dipping to 872 in Himachal, the Health Department has a challenging task ahead when it comes to female foeticide. While availability of ultra sound facilities in the clinics, especially in the urban areas, has encouraged this trend, lack of action by the advisory committees in this direction has emboldened them to work with impunity.

The government had made registration of such clinics mandatory with a district-level advisory committee headed by Chief Medical Officer of respective districts. But not a single case of misusing this facility to carry out Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) by these clinics has ever been reported. This speaks volumes about the ineffectiveness of the district advisory committees.

The government has also enforced the PC-PNDT Act to keep a check on the functioning of such clinics. As per the Act, these clinics are supposed to submit form-F detailing information about the number of ultra sounds performed in a month. But there is little adherence to this norm. An NGO, ‘Sutra’ working for this cause, has pointed out that even if these forms are accessed by the district-level advisory committees there can be some vigilance over these clinics.

Figures reveal that border districts like Una, Hamirpur, Shimla, Kangra, Sirmaur and Solan have the lowest sex ratio. The easy availability of such clinics in the adjoining border districts of other states is accounted for as a reason for this skewed ratio. The number of ultra-sound clinics is also found to be highest in these districts as compared to the interior areas.

It is alarming to note that the Chhohara block of interior Shimla district has the lowest sex ratio of 655 per thousand as per the 2005 census. This figure stood at 1037 in 2001. In Nadaun block of Hamirpur district this ratio was 726 in 2005, which dipped from 798 in 2001.

Similarly, the bordering areas of Kangra comprising Nurpur and Indora block have a ratio of 729 each as against the earlier ratio of 738 and 781 in 2005. In Sirmaur district, Nahan block has recorded a ratio of 875 in 2005, falling considerably from 979. In Poanta block this figure dipped from 930 to 870 in 2005. In Una district the bordering Amb block has the lowest ratio of 763 as against the earlier 794 in 2005.

The various social organisations have expressed concern at the alarming trend. The government needs to look afresh at the issue. The NGOs stressed that officials at the district advisory committees should be made responsible for the declining sex ratio. The PC-PNDT Act should be strictly enforced and a monthly review of the form-F, which enlists the tests conducted by each ultra-sound machine, should be done.

This would not only depict the correct picture about the clinics using it but would enforce some deterrence. A quarterly review of the sex ratio should be done for each district. This would help to check the decline from time to time. The representatives of mahila mandals and NGOs should be included in the district-level advisory committees instead of representatives from political parties, stressed members of Sutra.

While blaming the target-oriented approach for family planning programmes, the NGOs felt it contributed as a major factor for this decline. The rural health workers should be trained to deal with this issue. An incentive-based approach for these health workers can help check this decline. Coordinated efforts between various departments, including Women Welfare Department, Rural Development and Child Welfare Departments, can help improve this ratio. The Director, Health, Dr M.L. Mahajan, however, opined that surprise checks were being conducted at the various clinics using ultra-sound machines. Denying the allegations of irregular filling of form-F, he said the department was receiving them regularly from each district. An active role can be played by the media as well as NGOs to arrest this trend he added.

While agreeing that the skewed ratio was a result of ultra-sound machines being used for sex determination, he said the department was making maximum efforts to check it. The department had now constituted block-level vigilance committees to monitor such activities, he added.

The filling of form-F which was not being done regularly has been strictly made regular since the past one month, confides the Chief Medical Officer of Solan, Dr S.N. Sharma. He said the health workers had now been directed to closely monitor the expectant mothers. Their preliminary registration would be done by these workers and their entire details would be maintained till they delivered. 



History of selling print
Madan Gupta ‘Spatu’

It was in 1814 when Britons conquered Subathu’s Gurkha Fort and captured General Amar Singh Thapa here. Vice Regal Lodge was built up here for the then Viceroy as summer capital long before Shimla was discovered by Captain Kennedy. Subathu was the first cantonment of Simla Hills where civilians also migrated from plains of Punjab and UP.

Its own Harkara or a mail carrier delivered the Tribune, after its establishment in 1881, to the military headquarters. Lala Jwala Parshad also shifted from UP to run a tea and grocery shop in 1890 and stated selling Urdu newspaper too to a few citizens. Later The Tribune also became the part of his newspaper stand.

Lala Narayan Dass Chaurasia followed his father’s footsteps in distributing the periodicals and papers from 1930 to 1960. Maam Raj took up a nephew of Narayana Paan Wala, the newspaper business as popularly he was known by this name. Since his shop was like a news centre, Narayan Dass would gather news from the cantonments of Kasauli, Dagshai and Jutogh and then disseminate the same when people gathered twice a day to listen to his latest bulletin. It was here when Martyr Bhagat Singh too visited Subathu for a secret meeting.

 The prestigious personalities whom Mr Narayan Dass delivered the newspapers were Rahul Sanskritayan, noted Hindi literati when he stayed in Subathu to seek a permit to visit Tibbet. Dada Sahib Phalke awardee, Ms Devika Rani, heroine from the silent film era during her sojourn too demanded newspapers. Mr G D Sondhi, the first Indian Principal of Government College Lahore and the father of Asian Games, was a regular reader of The Tribune. Even Indira Gandhi in early 50’s was a regular visitor to Sondhis who would demand Delhi based papers besides The Tribune.

Now Mr Bhupender Chaurasia and his sons run the newspaper agency. Undoubtedly, his shop like others is also decorated with several other papers, periodicals, vernaculars and tabloids. It is the fifth generation engaged in the newspaper hawking business and the demand of The Tribune is still as hot as it was during 90’s of 19th century.



Hospital project hangs fire
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

The project to set up a model ESI hospital at Baddi has failed to progress due to the delay in allotment of land. Mr Jagdish Bhardwaj, state president of AITUC, has accused that the project could slip from state hand in case the land was not allotted for hospital soon.

Mr Bhardwaj has claimed that state government has failed to give the land despite the ESIC has sanctioned the setting up a state of art hospital, involving a cost of Rs 40 crore. Even ESIC authorities based in New Delhi has expressed the inability to carry the project for want of land, said Mr Bhardwaj.

The funds meant for hospital could be diverted to other state in case the land was not allotted by government in three months, asserted Mr Bhardwaj who was himself a member to the state ESI Board. The hospital was to be constructed by ESIC itself and would be managed by the ESIC directly. Presently there was an ESIC hospital at Parwanoo.

This hospital was under the control of state government. Mr Bhardwaj has also highlighted the issue with Mr Oscar Fernandes, the Union Labour Minister who have directed the DG, ESIC to ask the Himachal Government to expedite the land allotment process.

Interestingly Mr P.K.N. Namboodiri, Regional Director, ESIC at Parwanoo, has clarified that there was no delay in getting the land for project. Referring to his last week visit to Baddi, he said a piece of 10,000 square mt land at Katha village, near Baddi, has been proposed for project. The land has found ideal for setting up the hospital, he said. “We have written to ESIC authorities to form committee that would take final decision on land,” said Mr Namboodiri. As per the Department of Industries at Baddi, the allotment letter over land has already been issued. Now only the ESIC has to take possession of land, the officials at Baddi informed.

Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, when contacted, by this correspondent said the government had offered the land but its possession was still pending. “As soon as we get land, the work on project would be started,” he pointed. Ms Harinder Hira, Secretary Health, said the land was not an issue in setting up the hospital in Baddi. The ESIC has offered to set up the 50-bed hospital whereas we are asking for 100-bed hospital.

In case the ESIC could not accept the 100-bed demand, the project will be funded by state government itself, maintained Ms Hira.



Temporary ban on buying Baddi land
Jagmeet Y Ghuman

Industrial fraternity and buyers of land in Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh areas, can take solace in fact that the chief minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, has indicated towards the lifting of a ban on the sale and purchase of land in the area.

Talking to the media at Nalagarh recently the CM has said that the ban was temporary. The Baddi, Barotiwala, and Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA) would lift it after the completion of a master plan of area, the CM asserted. The ban was a must to enable the BBNDA to mark the zoning area of land, he maintained.

The CM was in Nalagarh to express grief over the sad demise of Manmohankant Dhandora a senior congress leader who passed away recently at Nalagarh. The CM warned the violators of section 118 of HP Land and Reforms Act. He said that those who have violated the law would not be spared. They would be dealt with strict action, he said adding enquiries process in this matter was already under way.

Disclosing his government development plans for the area he said that a 50-bed ESI hospital would be set up at Baddi.  He also stressed upon the need to set up residential colonies for workers.

“For a concrete solution to residential problems the more private players along with HIMUDA would be given licensees to set up the housing apartments”. He said police stations have increased from two to three in Baddi industrial belt. To strengthen the police force the more personnel would be deputed in area soon, he said. 



Full support to industry
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

Mr V.S. Kokje, the Governor, has assured the HP industrialists for full support. While stressing upon the need for planned development in the industrial areas, the Governor has said the problems faced by the industry would be dealt on top priority.

He was speaking in the meeting of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry held at Baddi recently. He emphasised on the need to follow the mechanism of integrated development in industrial areas on the pattern of other developed areas. This was must to provide the basic industrial requirements like residential, educational and medical facilities at one place, he maintained.

He further stressed on the need to impart training to youth so that they could compete with others to get employment in industries. Mr Kokje said people’s participation should be encouraged for development of residential houses.

The industrialists led by Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh Industry Association and HP council of the CII has informed the Governor about various problems faced by them. The governor said he would represent all problems to state government.

Mr Amandeep Garg, the CEO of newly formed Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh Development Authority, has said for the overall development of area a master plan was being prepared. To ease out the industrial congestion in and around Baddi it has planned to develop the area surround Nalagarh and Swarghat.

Mr Lajja Ram, the local MLA and Mr Ram Kumar, the President Zila Parishad, Solan, also spoke on the occasion. Mr Satish Bagrodia, MD, Winsome Textile Industries welcomed the Governor. Mr Yoginder Diwan, Chairman, HP Committee, PHDCC detailed about the activities of chamber. 



Mindless hill cutting pose threat to ecology

The industrial boom has started to show its negative signs on Parwanoo the border industrial town of state. The number of units has made beeline to town after the announcement of the industrial package in 2003. However the lack of proper planning on the part of state government right from the existence of town in 1977 to till date has led to unplanned and hap hazardous growth of town.

In fact the arrival of new units has only congested the town more. First it was road to bear the burnt of increasing industrial activities. Then it was turn of traffic and parking problem. Now the shortage of land has emerged as a big problem in industrial development. At present there was no space was available in town to expand the industrial area. As a result the unplanned and mindless cutting of the hilly slopes has emerged as big threat to town ecology.

The hills were being chopped off completely in unscientific manner. Currently the cutting work was on at least four points. The cutting of hills along Kalka- Shimla national highway could pose a threat to rail line crossing the up stream of highway. Unmoved by the development the local administration was seemed to remain a mute spectator to havoc being played to hills.

A visit to spot showed that cutting has not only caused a loss to the vegetation of area but threatened the area downstream. The debris could be seen rolling down from hills regularly thus causing a security problem. Moreover land slides in and around town were common during rainy season. The couple of fatal land slide cases had taken place in past. But it appeared that no lesson have taught from past. — JYG



Kasauli welcomes migratory birds
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

The year-end in Kasauli is not only attracting tourists but also migratory birds. Seeking respite from the chilly weather of the Himalayas, every year hundreds of birds throng Kasauli – a comparatively warmer destination.

The birds, including some rare species, have started to arrive here and will remain till February.

While strolling in the wild path in and around Kasauli, one can find these winged tourists in flocks. Some endangered species from China are also seen at Kasauli.

Interestingly, Hugh Whistler, a well-known ornithologist, Colonel Tyler and Captain Beaven, both nature lovers, had studied the area during the Raj.

A collection of birds of Kasauli, made in 1850, is still being displayed in the Montrose Museum in Scotland.

Salim Ali, the well-known ornithologist, had too spent time in Kasauli to pacify his quest for watching some rare birds.





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