Big cat, big problem

No end in sight to the man-leopard conflict in the state. Too many people, too many cats. D. P. Gupta reports

Fourteen-year-old Karan was playing cricket with his friends near his home in Kutheda village of Hamirpur. As he went into the bushes to retrieve the ball, he came face to face with a leopard cub. Before he could retreat, the mother leopard attacked him from behind. Karan remembered having read that pushing the leopard’s paws into the animal’s mouth would make it go away. And that’s what the boy did and is now recuperating from injuries suffered in the attack.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • Don’t venture into the forest at dusk or dawn. Leopards are mainly nocturnal.
  • If unavoidable, go in a group and do carry torches.
  • Never chase cubs. The mother is always at a place where she can watch over them.
  • Carry a stick when going cattle grazing.
  • Keep poultry and cattle in sheds at night.
  • Keep your presence of mind. Karan fought off the leopard with bare hands. 

Karan nearly became a statistic — five to ten persons are killed every year by leopards in Hamirpur and Mandi.

As attacks on humans increase, so do concerns. While locals worry about human safety alone, wildlife protectors also fear for leopards. For, a man-eating leopard is destined to die.

Wildlife experts record several reasons for this human-leopard conflict, the primary being increase in leopard and human population. Locals blame the manifold increase in the population of leopards on the ban on hunting and concerted protection efforts.

Leopards are truly opportunistic hunters. They will eat just about any animal. Although most leopards will tend to avoid humans, people are occasionally targeted. Most healthy leopards prefer wild prey to humans, but cats that are injured, sickly or struggling with a shortage of regular prey often turn to hunting people and may become habituated to it.

Divisional Forest Officer Sanjay Sood says, “The leopard is basically a human-friendly animal. As humans intrude upon the animal’s territory by destroying forests, its natural habitat, the cat is turning man-eater. Fewer forests also means dying out of several of the leopard’s prey and disruption of the carnivores food chain.”

Wildlife wardens suggest that locals should learn to live with leopards, make some changes in their lifestyle and take few precautions as women and children are soft targets for the animal.



Corridor of woes
The state is still not equipped to handle the influx of industrial units
Ambika Sharma

Despite attracting an investment of about Rs 20,000 crores after receiving the central industrial package on January 7, 2003, the investors in Himachal have been made to run from pillar to post to avail even the basic facilaities like power and telephone connections. 

Though the state government boasts of having a single window clearance agency for granting speedier permissions from all departments under one-roof, the investors are still a dissatisfied lot.

An investor proposing to invest in Himachal is made to seek a plethora of clearances, called Section 118 clearance, from the Revenue Department, a land use change from the Town and Country Planning Department, an environmental clearance, among others.

With land prices reaching astronomical figures of nearly Rs 70 lakh per bigha at Baddi, procuring the land itself has become a major hiccup for the investors. The same land was priced at a modest Rs 1.5 to Rs 2.5 lakh per bigha prior to announcement of the industrial package.

Dev Raj Chowdhary, a real estate dealer, speculated it could go further up to Rs 60 lakh to Rs 70 lakh per bigha.

A section of investors while ruing the slow pace of the administrative procedure, said the clearance of Section 118 from the Revenue Department and a land use change for using an agricultural land for a commercial purpose took at least three months each. 

They suggested that once the area was earmarked for industrial land use change, permission should have been automatically granted. Refuting the claims that the state has surplus power, the investors in Manpura, Nalagarh, Kala Amb, and their surroundings areas are having a hard time bargaining for power. Prestigious MNCs like Cipla Pharmaceuticals have been forced to use diesel operated generation sets to meet their requirements during lean winter months. It is adding to the environment polluting.

Others like Siddi Vinayak Torque Private Limited, a Gujarat-based investor, has now been directed to invest at least Rs 1.5 crore as infrastructure charges for drawing power from a nearby sub-station. These investors rue that since they had availed the power availability certificate earlier, a subsequent direction of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission applicable from June 2005 should not be binding on them.

The senior officials of the state electricity board, however, said they were helpless and bound by the commission’s directions, adding that work for sub-stations at Nalagarh and Kala Amb were in an advance stage.

With as many as 350 big and small pharmaceutical units at various stages of completion and over 100 having sought registration to invest the Baddi-Barotiwala industrial area is fast emerging as the biggest pharmaceutical hub of the region. These units are, however, facing a peculiar problem. Bound by the Himachal Pradesh’s employment policy of granting employment to at least 70 per cent Himachalis, the lack of trained manpower is now becoming a major problem.

Dr Khanna of Vectra Pharma, also the president of the Himachal Association of Pharmaceutical Units, pegs the requirement of pharmacists at 8000, post-graduate in the field of pharmacy at 160 along with at least 350 M. Sc and B. Sc for quality control maintenance. While there are enough graduates and post-graduates in science, but the lack of trained pharmacists is creating problems.

A senior manager working with a pharmaceutical MNC rued that they were being pressured by politicians and officials to take simple science graduates, instead of pharmacy graduates. This would affect the manufacturing process, they added.

Similarly, textile units are facing another problem, as the local youth are unable to work under high temperature conditions of a textile unit. A vice-president of a leading textile unit said though the local youth were being hired but this workforce was not consistent.

According to a study conducted by the unit, the consistency of the work force was a dismal 24 per cent and they had to repeatedly look for fresh people after the older ones left. This also incurred a loss of time as it takes days to train workers.

Industries minister Kuldeep Kumar, however, maintains that a databank of Himachali youth employed in various industrial units is being prepared where each unit would be required to provide the required information to the Labour Department.

With a view to gauge the requirements of the industrial sector, the principal, Industrial Training Institute at Solan, Dr Shivendra Dogar, has invited proposals from all units to enable them to start need-based trades. This will help in introducing specific trades to ensure more jobs to the youth. The industries department too has now woken up and a committee, headed by the chief secretary, has been constituted to work out the requirements. The committee will conduct a survey to identify new trades, which will then be introduced in the state Industrial Training Institutes.

But that’s a process, which is expected to take a couple of months.



Free-flowing beauty
by Shriniwas Joshi

I start with a quotation of WS Landor, “Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art.” An artists desire is to have an exhibition of his creations amidst the free flowing natural beauty of Shimla. History supports it and speaks of The Fine Arts Society formed in 1865. It had arranged exhibitions in the Bishop Cotton School and the Auckland House in the opening years. Lord Lytton inaugurated the exhibition in 1876 at ‘Oakover’. He had said, “When the Greek orator Hyperides was defending the cause of the beautiful Phryne it occurred to him that the best way of winning that cause would be to stop speaking and unveil his client. He did so and at once the judges became her admirers. Allow me to imitate that wise example and declare this exhibition open.” One of the exhibits was Titian’s ‘Peraro Madonna’ painted by him. Since 1887, the art exhibitions became a regular annual feature at the Town Hall. Several famous English painters used to participate in these exhibitions. The few Indians were Pithawala, JP Gangoly and Amrita Shergill. In the Society’s sixty-third exhibition in 1935, Amrita Shergill sent her ten paintings. Five were rejected and from among the rejected five, the Grand Salon, Paris, accepted one. An angry Amrita had not accepted the prize that the judges of Shimla Exhibition had announced for her painting ‘Conversation’. The Society started losing its wings during the Second World War and then collapsed. There was a vacuum in the arts landscape of Shimla till an Arts College that had started at Nahan in 1962 was shifted to Shimla in July 1968. I may quote the name of HC Rai as the pioneer who was instrumental in reviving the interests in fine Arts in Shimla. He still does a hundred paintings every year at the age of eighty-five. He was the first Principal of the Arts College and his colleagues Sanat Kumar Chatterji, M.C. Saxena, Late K.K. Kidwai, Jawahar Lal Sharma all started showing their talents. The people were awakened to the niceties of fine arts. In June 1981, ‘Paridhi’, a society, organised an exhibition at Masonic Hall of paintings, sculptures and collages of renowned artists of India including triennial painting exhibition award winners. It was a hit. No such attempt was repeated by a non-government organisation. It is for the Language and Culture Department to expose the local artists to ‘happenings’ elsewhere in the art world. Chatterjee in the HP University is running the Department of Visual Arts single-hand headedly since he joined it in 1993. He earmarks two of his students Chaman Sharma of Solan and Nand Lal Thakur of Dhami who have carved a niche for themselves in the world of art. Shimla art scene will never be complete without the mention of Bani Prosonno, who lives at Chhota Shimla, and is a great draw in foreign countries, especially in Germany. DK Chopra, Surjit, Billy Malhans, Sunita Walia, Samuel Masih, Arvind Ranchan, Mujib Hussain and Deepa Seth have had their exhibitions in the town and have shown flair for fine arts. I have purposely excluded Pahari miniature painting because that requires a separate article.

I contacted various artists of Shimla to know about their problems and found that their heartfelt requirement was an installation of a modern art gallery. The rejuvenation of The Gaiety is their last hope. The denizens, they observe, have no taste for fine arts because at the time of planning a new house, no thought is given to ‘painting-display space’ and the town has no professional art-buyers. The up-coming artists observed that their seniors could not form a group, but they intended forming a society. Without a support-group, they feel, an artist has to fight lonely battles for even art material, that is hardly available here. HC Rai pointed out to a lacuna in the education system, as it provided no art course in +1 and +2 classes though the feeder and higher classes had it. This gap is a damper and needs to be filled.


I asked a Shimla artist, “Do you do something in the nude?” Blushing, he replied, “ Only bathing, sir.”



The ugly side of Sundernagar
Kuldeep Chauhan

With a large number of caves, temples, wildlife and nature reserve, Sundernagar makes it an ideal location for an eco-friendly IT park or a planetarium or a botanical treasure house to attract tourists.

But sadly, Sundernagar does not have even a sign-board in the name of tourism. Small wonder the “lime stone lobby” is luring politicians and transporters to set up a cement plant near here, which will spoil Sundernagar’s tourism potential.

The town had been a Taposthali of sage Sukhdev, who meditated in the cave here. The sage made pilgrimage to Haridwar taking a cave route, believe local residents. The devotees still visit the cave and go about 500 meters inside. But no one has explored the myth of Sukh Dev Rishi further. Nor has state tourism department tried to develop it. Though the Sundernagar Municipal Council had developed a garden near the Sukhdev cave, but the legendary cave has been turned into a dump-yard for wastes and other decayed matter.

The tourists can head for the wild trails around the town into the Bandli wildlife sanctuary- a splendid wilderness that runs for over a hundred hectares. Nearby the town is Tramari, declared as Nature Reserve by the forest department as it is a treasure house of copper fields. Tramari and Bandli wildlife sanctuary easily makes Sundnernagar as an ideal location for an eco-friendly IT Park and the herbal- botanical gardens of great national importance as Sundernagar has emerged as an educational hub, reveal experts. Besides, the town has the oldest Sanskrit college and ancient Nar Singh and Mahamaya temples.

A slew of streams that has been turned into sewers and the Sundernagar canal can be tapped for water sports or recreational boating, feel residents. But the Bhakhra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has captured the prime land of the town and has erected many concrete sheds tearing down its natural town’s beauty in the process.

Though the BBMB project was completed in the early 80s, the ugly sheds give this beautiful town a ghostly look, as most of the sheds has no occupants.

“In India, we have just four planetariums. While the USA has over 150 planetariums, about one planetarium per 1 lakh of population,” reveal tourism experts. It will preserve ecology, promote education tourism and aid knowledge hub in the state. There is no planetarium in North India outside New Delhi. Sundernagar has the ideal location to construct a planetarium,” he adds.

What is sad that local politicians, ignoring its heritage and culture aspect, are out to support the cement plant to be set up nearby. “That will kill its heritage and tourism potential forever,” comment well-wishers of town.

Sudnernagar lies on the NH-21 and is a gateway to Manali and is set to get air and railway connectivity. It will be linked through Bhanupali-Bilaspur railway line being developed as a national project by the government. Moreover, government is considering to develop an international airport nearby here at Dhangu.

“All it needs is that the Town and Country Planning, MC and Department of Tourism put their heads together to tap it real resources to make it green and clean tourist town, not to sacrifice its beauty for few chunks of money bags offered by the cement lobby,” feel the residents.



Road to nowhere
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

Kamli near Parwanoo has developed as an industrial area over the years; the village witnessed a healthy industrial growth after land shortage at Parwanoo proved a major hindrance in housing new units. Around 15 units have already been set up in Kamli and many more are in the pipeline. Also, 30 industrial plots have been earmarked by HIMUDA at Khareen village near Kamli, for new units.

Though the industrial growth is taking at a fast pace, the road leading to the village is crying for attention. The pitiable condition of the road shows the dilly-dally approach of the state government in developing the industrial infrastructure. The patch up repair work policy of PWD has further taken its toll on the quality of road. For long, no serious repair work has taken place on road and as a result the road is now dotted with big potholes. At many palaces, the bitumen has disappeared and the continual flow of sewerage on the road has further damaged the condition.

The industrialists pointed out that it was a nightmare to drive down on the road. “It is risky to ply heavy vehicles on road, even for two wheelers the road is a challenge,” they rued. And during the rainy season, the situation turns worst when slush prevails everywhere on the road, lamented the residents of Kamli.

The PWD officials said that the road has been selected under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yonjana and the work was already in process.



Check on cheating

In a press conference held at Nahan, B.R. Rahi, Chairman of HP School Education Board pointed out that in the previous academic session a total number of 890 checking assistants in Himachal were enrolled with the assignment of evaluation of answer sheets and 317 evaluators were alleged to have carried out serious irregularities. 

The checking assistants were however issued warnings as a large number of innocent students had suffered for no fault of their own conduct. During a vital decision taken by the authorities, the answer books from examination centre would now be directly dispatched to the education board at Dharmshala to ensure secrecy. After scrutiny, the board authorities would mark them to different district education authorities for onward evaluation, added Rahi.

Mining week observed

The department of Central Mines Bureau, Nahan observed the 15th Environment and Mining week that began on 26th March. The celebrations at Paonta Sahib honoured 71 owners of mines from Himachal, Uttrakhand and Haryana. K.S. Yadav, Deputy Controller, Central Mines Bureau, flagged off the delegation comprising 6 teams. The teams carried out survey of mines and submitted the report to the Bureau. He exhorted the mining fraternity to take care of the preservation of the environment and ecology while executing the mining assignments. Yadav said, “A total number of 750 check dam in mines and 25 lakh plants in 850 hectare area of land exist in the region, which require care for their upkeep and all round growth.” — TNS



White Revolution sweeps across Solan
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

Solan has granted Rs 8.86 crore under the milch cattle improvement scheme started by the Centre. Out of it, Rs 2.82 crore had already been used till the end of last year.

Giving this information, Rajesh Kumar, deputy commissioner, Solan, said the aim behind the scheme was to enhance milk production in the district.

He said stress was being given to improve the quality of milch cattle and for that scientific methods were being used to provide healthy fodder to cattle. A society formed under the scheme has membership of over 24,000 having 70 per cent strength of women, he pointed out.

After the launch of the scheme, milk production has increased from 41,000 metric tonnes to 64, 000 metric tonnes, he said. “The target is 1 lakh metric tonnes,” he said.

Giving more details, Kumar said the Milch Cattle Welfare Sabha has constructed a goshala at the cost of Rs 5 lakh at Kolta-Barog village. It has a capacity of 60 cattle. In the goshala, unproductive milch cattle were given medical treatment. After their treatment they were sold to farmers on low rates.

According to Kumar, 125 block level and 480 panchayat level cattle awareness camps were held in the district. Besides this, cattle rearers were sent to Agriculture University, Palampur and Milk Production Institution, Karnal, for training courses. Urging the youth to take up open dairy farming, he said the government did not only provide finance to open farms, but also arranged for technical training.



Safeguarding the environment
Kulwinder Sandhu

“Women and children should be in the forefront to save the planet under the eleven-point programme to combat climate change”, said 
Dr Madhav Mehra, President of the World Council for Corporate Governance, while interacting with environmental scientists and representatives of various NGO’s at Palampur, last week.

“Women have been recognised as the drivers of change world wide and with their protective instinct and participation, this beautiful planet can be saved for future generations”, he said.

A visionary and futuristic thinker, Mehra quit from the post of Director Indian Railways and sold his imported Mercedes and a plot of land back way back in 1988 to launch himself as a quality trainer. With a vision to train corporate leaders to improve quality of services, environment and governance, Mehra has conducted hundreds of workshops designed to transform the future of individuals and organisations.

In January 2002, he launched the Inter-national Sustain-ability Movement. He has also established several NGOs including Foundation for Good Governance, S.M. Charit-able Trust, SM Medical Centre, SM Community Centre, PATHIC, PREWALE, DAMSEL and QLEC. Besides, he is the chairman of the Advisory Board of several publications too and has even published several books.

Revealing that India was joining the category of biggest polluters along with USA and China, he stressed upon the need to change the nation’s growth model from excessive consumerism to conservationism. Since, the country was at the risk of losing as much as 20 per cent of the GDP by 2050, therefore a change in habits, lifestyle, consumption patterns and production processes is required.

Commenting on the special economic zones, Mehra said, that they were likely to damage the ecological balance. “Special economic zones should be permitted only on wasteland and companies should be asked to negotiate directly with the land owners, with offers of equity in the enterprises set up on those lands,” he said.

The focus should be on using technology to improve the agricultural output and generate exports of farm fresh organic vegetables. He said, that exporting vegetables and promoting rural tourism could create more wealth and job opportunities than digging up the planet by mining or concreting.

He further said, that an Indian citizen on an average uses six tones of natural resources per year; while in America and Europe it is 72 tones per person. “Emulating the western model could spell an ecological disaster for India”, said Mehra.

“The future generation has a big task ahead, they will have to tackle the environmental problems that we are creating today”, he said.



Shimla Diary
Lean year at IIAS
Rakesh Lohumi

Academic activity in the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study here was revived after a gap of more than a year with the holding of a seminar on “Lord Buddha and His Universe” early this week.

It has been a year sans academic activity but for the event held at the fag end of the financial year. The institute has been waiting for a regular director since April 2005. Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar, chairman of the governing body of the institute had announced during a visit to the institute in October that the new director will be in position by December 15. However, the institute is without a director till date.

Bhalchandra, who was in the city to attend the seminar, was unhappy over the inordinate delay by the Centre in appointing the new director. He had forwarded the panel of three names for the post finalised by the search committee on November 17, but it was still pending with the government. He now plans to take up the matter personally with the union minister for human resource development.

Besides the position of the director, several other key posts have also been vacant for quite sometime. The posts include that of deputy secretary, administration which is unmanned since October 2005 and that of accounts officer since February 2006. Recently, the post of librarian also fell vacant. All these posts could be filled only after a regular director takes charge.

The institute has one of the best libraries in the country but it does not have a proper building to house it. Plans are afoot to construct a new library block, for which a provision was likely to be made in the 11th plan. A new block will not only enable the researcher fellows to make better use of the library but also provide opportunity to local researchers and scholars take advantage of it.

Universalisation of education

Dr Bhalchandra, also a member of the planning commission, talked at length about the priorities, particularly in the education sector, in the 11th plan. It will certainly propel the country towards universalisation of school education, besides focussing on “inclusive growth”.

Universalisation of school education was a tall order as the states were still coping with high drop out rates at the primary level. The thrust will be there to make education universal up to Class X. A beginning will be made in this direction from 2007-08. The mid-day meals programme had proved very effective in bringing down the drop out rate. As per the data available with the planning commission it had declined from 52 to 30 percent at the primary. However, still it was very high and must be brought down if the goal of school education for all was to be achieved, he explains.

Simultaneously, emphasis would be laid on vocational education to improve employability. High quality technical education would get a further boost with the upgradation of seven engineering colleges to IIT’s (Indian Institutes of Technology). The government had already identified five colleges for the purpose. Besides, more industrial training institutes would be opened across the across the country and the existing ones would be improved and strengthened. An outlay of Rs 28,000 crore had been provided for education. For ensuring inclusive growth, focus would be on providing amenities like drinking water, power, roads and other basic facilities. The rural employment guarantee scheme, which was being extended to 350 districts during 2007-08, would cover all the 600-odd districts in the country over the next three years.

Sharing across the border

The speaker Gangu Ram Musafir along with secretary J.R.Gazta, Vidhan Sabha, attended the 3rd Asia and India Regions Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference at Isalmabad early this week. The main theme of the conference was knowledge sharing and networking among the regional parliaments.

Participating in the conference, he stressed that parliamentarians must ensure that adequate funds are allocated in budget for poverty eradication programmes and also that these were utilised properly. He also apprised the participants about the use of information technology being made in the Himachal Vidhan Sabha, where all the legislators had been provided laptops. All information right from list of business, questions, daily summary of proceedings of the hose, bills introduced, members who’s who and election results were available on its website.

Musafir also visited places of historical and tourist interest in Lahore and Islamabad, besides the Katasraj Temple, an abandoned Hindu religious shrine.

International venture at IT Park

The hill state achieved a milestone when Digital Vision, a leading British Company specialising in OCR data capture technology set up its branch in the state technology park. It is the first foreign information technology (IT) company to set up unit in the state.

According to the chief executive officer of the company, Dennis Wright it was the first branch of the company outside the United Kingdom though it had clients in 32 countries across the globe. The main reason for choosing India was the quality of its skilled manpower. The specialists data capturing solutions it provided would take business process automation to a new level. Its client list included prestigious companies like IBM, Oracle, OpenText, Kofax and Contempus.

The software developed by the company utilised a very high degree of artificial intelligence that refined the image, rectified the flaws and categorised the documents. IT was an emerging new area that would revolutionise business processes, particularly the financial services. In the first phase, it would invest up to two lakh sterling pounds.



Nothing fishy about it
After the success in trout farming, the state fisheries department turns toward ornamental fishes, reports Pratibha Chauhan

After emerging number one producer of trout in the country, the state fisheries department is now venturing into the arena of breeding ornamental fish, much in demand for aquariums.

Encouraged by the success of the experiment of breeding ornamental fish under controlled conditions at its farm at Ghaggas in Bilaspur district, the government now intends taking to their breeding in a big way. Now, four new ornamental fish are being reared at the farm where earlier only plain gold fish was bred.

The four new species include gold fish fan-tail, guppu, platy and black molly. The gold fish fan-tail is one of the most preferred for keeping in aquarium because of its beautiful golden colour and double fin.

People, who are privately running aquarium business, are buying fish from the fisheries department in large numbers as the price is much less as compared to the market. As compared to a rate of Rs 40 per fish for gold fish fan-tail and black molly charged by private people, the fish is sold at Rs 20 per piece.

“With not just private persons but even some government agencies like Haryana fisheries buying ornamental fish from us, we intend expanding its scope and take to its breeding on a much larger scale,” says Harsh Mahajan, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry minister.

In order to expand, the department has introduced breeding of the koi carp recently, which is a smaller version of the carp variety, appropriate for being kept in aquariums. “It is under an exchange arrangement that we have taken koi carp from our counterparts in Haryana, which we will try and breed under controlled conditions,” informed Rajan Sood, assistant director, fisheries at Bilaspur.

The problem he cites in rearing and stocking of the ornamental fish is that everything has to be undertaken controlled conditions as being marine fish they require different temperature while in Himachal, the temperature fluctuation is very high. Once the fish attains a particular size and age, it can be kept in an aquarium without much hassle except for its proper feeding and cleaning up of the aquarium.

The different species of fish is bought from private aquarium dealers while they are very young and it is only after acclimatising them that they are made breeders. The number of breeds that a fish gives also varies from 60 to almost 100 off-springs.

Guppu and platy are small aquarium fish, which do not grow bigger than 1.5 inches. Efforts are on by the department to undertake breeding of maximum possible types so that it can emerge as the leader even in the field of breeding ornamental fish.



No cure in sight
Ambika Sharma

The move of the state government to convert the single-member Drug Licensing Authority into a three-tier system may spell doom for the multi-crore pharmaceutical industry with the latter threatening to shift to Uttranchal. The move, which began about six months ago, has now been finalised with a recent notification.

According to the March 2 notification, the drug clearance system now comprises a three-member authority, comprising licensing authorities of the South and North zone as well as the drug inspector of the concerned district. 

The state has acquired the status of becoming the pharmaceutical hub with major companies like Nicolas Piramel, Cipla, Cadila Health care, Glenmark, Wings Pharmaceutical, Torrent and Dr Reddy’s Labs investing here after the Central industrial package announced in 2003. These units have come up mostly in the Baddi-Barotiwala industrial belt of Solan district. 

The pharmaceutical sector has attracted investment worth crores of rupees with an estimated 350 firms having invested here till now. 

The new proposal has failed to cut ice with the manufacturers with the HP Drug Manufacturers Association terming the proposed amendment as contrary to the Drugs and Cosmetic Act.

The association president R. K. Arora say, “Himachal has become the lone state having such a system where a multi-member committee is involved in scrutinising the grant of licenses. This would not only lead to undue delays but significant production time will be lost in merely following the files.”

The system is also fraught with legal errors. As per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the qualification of the licensing authority has been well defined. A person having a pharmacy background with a requisite experience can act as a licensing authority while no other person can be given the onus. Though the government has put the responsibility of granting license with the authority, but each such case is supposed to proceed through a long and tedious path before reaching back to the authority.

Each case will first be examined by the authority, then by the secretary, Health, and two other members and then proceed on to the chief minister’s office. Only after the clearance from them, the authority will give the final nod. The time spent for each approval will thus increase from the hitherto few days to weeks, observe drug manufacturers.

They feel this, instead of smoothening the process, will add problems by delaying it. Further, if all three members hold contrary view about any issue, it would further put the matter on-hold. 



Head turner
Rakesh Lohumi

Luri hydroelectric project on the Sutlej will be the region’s longest and the Asia’s largest head race tunnel. The length of the head race tunnel increased to 38 km is the longest in the Himalayan region and its diameter of 11.75 m makes it the largest tunnel in Asia.

The Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, which is in the process of finalising the detailed project report shifted the site of the diversion dam to upstream, from Nathan to Neeraj to help utilise the entire head available between Rampur and Sunni for generation.

The powerhouse to be set up at Sunni will be underground like that of the Nathpa Jhakri project. The height of the dam has been restricted to 50 m to avoid submergence. Besides, the tail race water of the 412 MW Rampur project, the scheme will utilise the water of all the streams and nullahs between Nathpa and Neerath.

As per the pre-feasibility report, prepared by the state electricity board the project was to have an installed generation capacity of 465 MW and a construction of 8.5 km long head race tunnel having a diameter of 10.5 m. Normally, the diameter of the tunnel is restricted to 11 m, in view of the geological fragility of the Himalayan ranges; as the diameter in the proposed tunnel is 11.75 m the design proposes measures for extra-strengthening in the 12 km shear zone. The option of constructing twin tunnels of 9 m diameter has also been kept open but it would increase the cost of project by about Rs 600 crore.

The installed capacity of the project will be 775 MW, as against the original plan of 465 MW. There will be four generating units of 193.75 MW of each which will generate 3056 million units in a 90 percent dependable year. The total cost has been estimated at Rs 4090 crore; with the first year generation cost of Rs 2.34 per unit and the levelised tariff of Rs 2.17 per unit. The completion time of the project is eight years.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |