Unemployment Pangs
SOLAN SUFFERS   *Notified vacancies: 879  *Applicants: 6,154  *Successful: 86
Ambika Sharma

With unemployment figures reaching a whopping 8 lakh, provision of jobs to educated youth in the state is a major challenge for the new BJP government in Himachal Pradesh. The fact that former Congress government failed to provide adequate jobs proved dear to them in the assembly polls. Figures procured from the Economic Survey released by the former Congress government in March this year proved that barely 925 placements were provided by the employment exchanges in the state, as against notified vacancies of 3,767 posts.

One can gauge the level of unemployment by the fact that as against 879 vacancies notified in Solan district, there were 16,154 submissions while only 86 could secure jobs. The total number of applicants on the live registers of the employment exchange in the district is 47,371. This gives a fair idea of how unemployment is plaguing the state.

It also reaffirms the fact that Solan district remains by and large neglected in this sphere. Compared to the number of placements procured by other districts, Solan was made to eat a humble pie. While the most significant district of Kangra got 140 placements as against 355 notified vacancies, this number stood at 30 for Shimla where the notified vacancies were 86. 
All this was despite the hype created by the industrial package which managed to draw investment worth Rs 27,000 crores. While nearly 3.70 lakh jobs were supposed to be generated through industrial development, what the entire state got was a measly 38,000.

So where is the gap? Are the industries unable to employ what they promise or do they get manpower from other states and conveniently ignore the laid criteria of 70 per cent Himachali intake? These are crucial questions which need to be answered by assessing the actual ground situation.

Though the former government had ordered a survey to estimate the actual Himachali intake in the industries, it was never completed. Even though some results did emerge, they never found any appropriate authority for bridging the gaps. Interestingly, some of these problems were also unearthed by the Vidhan Sabha’s committee on Human Resource Development during its visit to Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh.

Had the government woken up even then and heeded to the recommendations, the results could have been different.  What added to the chaos was the diversion of interest of field officials, who rather than furnishing correct information to the governemnt were more interested in serving a few bureaucrats. Amid all this, an average Himachali youth is feeling cheated. One is left wondering what the hype about lakhs of jobs means. Herein lies a challenge for the new government. And although the BJP has specified that it would create adequate opportunities in both public as well as private sector, it would require regular monitoring and a more serious approach to the entire issue.



  Legacy ruined
Kuldeep Chauhan

Traditional bathing ghats in Mandi, which once used to be a place bustling with evening-walkers during the warm summers, have now been reduced to dump yards that emits foul stench. Reason: Scant government attention towards reviving them.

“It was a pleasant way to spend evenings, sitting and chatting along the ghats during those old good days,” recalls an old timer from the town, replete with nostalgia. “People used to go across the Beas river in boats as there was no bridge at that time. Women used to drop the burning incenses in the placid waters of the river along the ghats, which used to lend a divine look to the town on special occasions,” he adds.

Sadly, today only a couple of old women can be spotted dropping burning incense in the dirty waters at the confluence of Beas and Suketi rivers. “All of us are to be blamed for the mess here,” says an old lady while an old lady while dropping incense into the river.

Old timers also blamed the Bhakhra Beas Management Board (BBMB) for destroying the traditional ghats that could have been a major tourist attraction in Mandi. BBMB pumped in mounds of silt dredged out from the Pandoh dam, on river Beas river upstream of Mandi, ever since the 1980s when the BBMB commissioned the 990 MW Beas-Satluj Link project. The ghats once sprawled along the Beas and Suketi rivers are now full of silt, trash and junk dumped by the Mandi Municipal council (MMC). The MMC has done precious little to restore and promote the ancient character of these ghats and other spots in Mandi, said a retired government official from here.

As one walks along the rivers, right from Brinda Bani barrier along the Beas and along the Suketi river, a tributary of Beas, from the old bridge at the entrance of town, one finds piles of rod sand construction debris, trash and junk dumped by residents, contractors and MMC along both sides. At places, the ghats have been submerged totally.

A cremation ground has been built at Hanuman ghat. “Government alone cannot do everything, we will have to join hands to expedite efforts to save this town from being vandalized due to lack of civic consciousness in residents. But the MMC and state government have a responsibility to provide amenities and protect the ancient beauty of the ghats,” said a local writer on conditions of anonymity.

Erstwhile chief minister Virbhadra Singh had proposed to lay the foundation stone of a dam in Mandi, which would help revive the bathing ghats and ecology of the town, in November-December. But the scheme remained on papers, following imposition of modal code of conduct since November.

However, Beas river got a reprieve after the government made it mandatory for all project companies to release 15 per cent of water downstream throughout the year. It’s a separate matter that the proposed dam, funded by the government and BBMB still remains in disarray. Will the new BJP government take up the issue and restore the erstwhile glory of the ghats, only time will tell.



Library with a rich history
by Shriniwas Joshi

Cicero had once said: “To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.” The Himachal Pradesh state secretariat got its soul along with its formation in 1948, when the foreign office building, renamed ‘Himachal Dham’ (present Akashvani Bhawan), housed the state secretariat.

The library was shifted to the assembly secretariat in 1952 with the formation of the state legislature, to convey the message to legislators that ‘books are either dreams or swords, you can cut or you can drug with words.’

The secretariat used to be in council chamber (present Vidhan Sabha), the last building constructed by the English in Shimla, completed on August 27, 1925 and inaugurated by the then Viceroy, Lord Reading. The state legislature was abolished in October 1956 and the library was shifted back to Himachal Dham, which got burnt down in May 1957 along with the library.

However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the library started taking shape in the backrooms of the council chamber under the knowledgeable, humble and soft-spoken historian library-man Mian Goverdhan Singh. His contribution to this library is unforgettable. The Punjab Government moving to Chandigarh paved way for H.P. Government to occupy Ellerslie in 1967. The library too was shifted there. It came to its present location in 1992 on completion of Armsdale building.

Today, it is a fully computerized library having 37, 456 titles, of which 11,183 are in Hindi. The library contributes to 112 magazines and journals, including 14 law journals in addition to 20 daily newspapers of Hindi and English languages.

The readership for the two languages is almost equal. About a hundred borrowers per day from its membership, open to those who had ever worked in the secretariat or are working there today, benefit from the facility. All can approach the reference or consulting sections. Its research and reference division is rich enough to attract about five hundred consultants in a day.

A library stands on its strong point and its strength lies in having all the issues of ordinary rajpatras since December 1953 and of extraordinary ones since March 1954, plus complete sets of H.P.Government and Government of India Acts in its shelves. It is a lush hunting ground for those pursuing Law. The three editions of Imperial Gazetteers of India published in 1881, 1887 and 1908 are its prized possessions.

George Forester’s Journey from Bengal to England through Northern parts of India, Kashmir, Afghanistan published from London in 1798 is the oldest English book that may attract a visitor. The book vividly describes the author’s visit to Nahan, Bilaspur, Nadaun and Nurpur. Journal of a Tour through Parts of Himalaya Mountain by James Baillie Fraser published in 1820 is another rare book. The Hindi section starts with Baat Baat mein Baat and Manushya ke Roop by Yashpal and Chinta by Agyeya published in 1946.

Among the Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh, Yashwant Singh Parmar was a regular visitor to the library. Books on forestry, horticulture and herb cultivation interested him. Another celebrity who had visited the library was Penelope Chetwood, daughter of Sir Philip Chetwood, Commander-in-Chief of India during the early thirties, who not only travelled to Kullu via Jalori pass on horse/mule and back, but also wrote an engrossing account of the travel in her book Kulantpitha. Mulk Raj Anand had also consulted books in the library when he was writing on Himachal Pradesh. Whenever the President or the Prime Minister visits Himachal, books from this library find place in his bookshelf.

The present officer on special duty (Library), a postgraduate in Library Science form Kurukshetra University, Jaideep Negi, is a willing and helpful officer. He observes that the present day trend among readers is interest in Urdu poetry, published either in Devnaagri or Roman script, and demand for such books is very high. He remarks that the youth of the day is for books on personality development, self-help and spiritualism; the senior officers, however, prefer light reading or fiction — probably to lighten their shoulders from the heavy burden of administration. The sweet serenity of books is alluring but Benjamin Franklin advises: “Read Much, but not many Books!”


When his library card was ready, the chief librarian said, “Sir, now you may borrow anything from here.” Pointing towards a comely, shapely librarian, he asked, “May I borrow her?” The chief said, “Sorry sir, she is for reference only.” 



 Scaling new heights
Dharam Prakash Gupta

Unbelievable! This is how achievements of Mali Mastan Babu can at best be described. Not only can he complete a run of 42.175 kilometres in around five hours, Mastan has scaled all highest peaks of the seven continents of the world in a record 172 days.

In addition to many awards, this man from Gandhijansangam village in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh has his name in the Limca Book of Records also.

A software engineer by profession, Mastan has been declared as the fastest seven summiteers of the world after he climbed all the highest peaks of seven continents in 172 days — from January 19th to July 10, 2006. He is the only person in the world to do seven summits on seven days of the week and one in each calendar month.

Mastan’s early education was from Sainik School Korukonda and he later attained a BE degree from NIT Khargapur. He also has an M. Tech in electronic engineering. He is the first Indian to scale Vinson Massif in Antarctica and Mt. Carstenzse Pyramid, the highest peak of Oceania. Other summits he has scaled include Mt. Everest (Nepal, 29,035 ft), Mt. Denali (USA, 20,321 ft), Mt. Elbrus (Russia, 18,511 ft), Mt. Kiliminjaro (Tanzania, 19,341 ft), Mt. Aconcagua (Argentina, 22,841 ft) and Mt. Kosciusko (Australia, 7,321 ft).  And it doesn’t end here! Mastan is also an avid marathon runner and has covered a distance of 42.175 kilometres from NIT Hamirpur in around five hours, on December 19th last year. He intends to complete 14 such runs in different parts of the world soon.

The Indian American Friendship Council, Dallas, has conferred the title — ‘The Pride of India’ — on him. “Challenge is what enthralls me and free spirit is what I exhibit; never give up, never give in, is a phrase that works miracles for me. Courage and conviction has been a way of expression for me,” says Mastan. And indeed courage and conviction is what he exemplifies! 



You may fall but mastering the ski is just a matter of time. Just head to Manali!
Meandering through
snowy slopes
Yana Banerjee-Bey

Apart from Goa, the other favourite holiday destination for most people here is Manali. So, if you are heading there do try to get in a spot of skiing among all your other activities. Now, if you are getting acquainted with skis for the first time in your life, don’t blame me every time you end up sprawled on the slope on your back or face down in the snow! You cannot learn to ski without taking falls. Until you learn to balance on the skis (you need half-an-hour for this), you will keep falling.

The good news is that it takes only about three or four days to learn skiing properly and it’s a skill you acquire for life. Once you have learned to ski, even if there is a gap of several years before you have a chance to ski again you will be able to do it. You might be a little rusty but you won’t be a complete novice. So take the opportunity to learn skiing at the Solang slope, 13 km above Manali town.

You need no special gear because the skis, boots and ski poles will be provided to you. There are a host of adventure tour operators in Manali, Vashisht and Burua (nearby villages) who teach tourists to ski. Solang is the nursery of Indian skiing, and girls and boys from this region regularly represent India in skiing competitions abroad.

The locals are expert skiers and it is worthwhile and enjoyable for the casual tourist to learn from them in one-on-one coaching.

However, if you have the time and inclination to do a full course, enrol for the Basic Skiing Course run by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Manali. The course lasts about a fortnight and is taught on the Solang slope. What you do need to take are thin woollen socks.

Many novices make the mistake of setting out to ski with thick woollen socks because they think it will be cold in the snow.

You don’t need very warm socks because ski boots are insulated against cold. Most important, you need to be able to ‘feel’ with your feet to use the edges of the skis. Thick socks hamper this.

When we ski, the feet sweat a bit and socks get damp. Carry along more than one pair so that you can change during the lunch break.

You will also need extra pairs of woollen gloves because they will get sopping wet with melted snow!

A good pair of dark glasses is a must. If it is very sunny, you will be screwing your eyes while skiing because sun reflecting off the snow has a very harsh glare. If it is snowing lightly, the crystals will be driving into your eyes as you swish down the slope.

Either way, you need the protection of dark glasses. Never buy cheap ones as they don’t have the coating that protects against ultra-violet rays.

Cheap dark glasses are damaging because the darkened environment makes the pupil of the eye widen, allowing UV rays to enter.

It is better not to wear dark glasses at all than to wear cheap ones because the pupils narrow in bright sunlight and prevent UV rays entering.

This is a natural defence mechanism. You must also have a snugly-fitting woollen cap. Wear nylon fleece pants (available in Manali bazaar) instead of jeans, which get wet and take forever to dry.

And then ... Happy skiing!



shimla diary
Fire threat looms large
Pratibha Chauhan

Unauthorised extensions by shopkeepers in the narrow and crowded Lower Bazaar area of Shimla have become a major cause of worry for fire control authorities here. Although incidents of fire during winter months is on a higher side, this year seems to be exceptionally bad and there is little that authorities can do to effectively control any outbreak.
Fire can cause major destruction in the crowded alleys of the Lower Bazaar and Subzi Mandi in Shimla. In the absence of any space, fire tenders can hardly reach some of the spots
Fire can cause major destruction in the crowded alleys of the Lower Bazaar and Subzi Mandi in Shimla. In the absence of any space, fire tenders can hardly reach some of the spots

The damage due to the fire that broke out last week in Subzi Mandi and in a travel agency office in Fingask Estate area of the town could have been much less had the fire tenders been able to reach closer to the site. In both the cases, unauthorised extensions blocked the passage. And by the time fire control staff was able to reach, the damage had already been done. The problem is worse in Lower Bazaar and Subzi Mandi areas.

Although from time to time municipal authorities keep checking shopkeepers from putting up extensions or projections, especially before Diwali, these are back in place within days.

Even the High Court has taken serious view of the situation and has issued directives regarding steps to be taken to ensure that the passage is free for movement of fire tenders and ambulances during any emergency.

Revenge time!

With the change in government, it is the bureaucracy and other senior officials who are finding themselves at the receiving end. As is normal practise, the officers considered close to the ruling BJP have suddenly started returning to the state with an eye on plum postings while those close to the Congress are looking for opportunities to move out on deputation. Interestingly, more than politician bosses it is the officers who are trying to settle scores with each other by ensuring that those close to the Congress regime are literarily ‘dumped’, even if competent. “If we have suffered for the last five years, now they should face the music,” is their simple justification. And although the new chief minister has already undertaken a bit of administrative reshuffle, especially in the secretariat, now it is his turn to post his ‘favoured’ ones to head the districts as DC’s and police chiefs!

Noble bid

It is bidding for cutting of the cake at the New Year party — held at Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) owned Hotel Holiday Home — that helps bring a smile on the face of visually and hearing impaired children of a school at Dhalli, on the outskirts of Shimla. It was only last year that HPTDC started this novel idea of raising funds for these children by holding a bid for cutting of the cake on New Year’s eve. It was the Bajaj couple from Ludhiana who happily paid up Rs 18,000 for it. A couple had even paid Rs 25,000. The money is used for provision of better facilities to these 150 children at the school being run by the State Child Welfare Council



  Vegetative measures 
Rakesh Lohumi

Himachal Pradesh is perhaps the first state in the country to take up the initiative of combating climate change at the micro-level. Authorities here have decided to develop suitable eco-sensitive models of forest plantation for various agro-climatic zones, which will not only help meet requirements of the local people for fuelwood and fodder but also help conserve water.

Over the past three decades, a variety of plantations have been raised but the emphasis had mainly been on commercial species like pine and khair. In the process pine forests came up over large tracts in the higher and middle hills at elevations where earlier deodars were planted. However, the adverse impact on microclimate was severe as pine does not allow any other specie to come up and its acidic needles also cause degradation of soil. The most discernible consequence of shrinking deodar cover is the receding snowline.

Snowfall now is erratic, inadequate and increasingly confined to higher elevations. Even places like Shimla do not experience snow regularly and of late, even nearby tourist resort of Kufri, which used to be a regular venue of winter games till two decades ago, has been receiving very little snow. Other parts of the state like the Kullu valley, Chamba and surrounding tribal areas have also undergone similar climatic changes.

Principal chief conservator of forests Pankaj Khullar says the department will study plantations raised in

the past and soon come out with suitable combinations of species. For instance, in the middle and higher hill ranges a combination of deodar, oak and rhododendron has been found most suitable. Oak in particular plays an important role in maintaining the hydrological cycle. Similarly, in the lower hills lucinia is a useful specie. “The department is also preparing a policy to deal with climate change and it will be finalised shortly. The policy will take into account all aspects of the problem and suggest remedial measures accordingly,” he said.

The Indian Council of Forest Research has also finally taken notice of the vanishing urban forests and asked the states to come up with projects for their restoration. However, environmentalists maintain that efforts of the forest department in isolation will not be enough to combat the problem. Other departments, including the town and country planning and urban development, will also have to come up with policies to restrict urbanisation in the eco-sensitive higher and middle hill areas. Haphazard development is not only leading to environmental degradation, but also creating civic problems like water shortage and disposal of urban waste.



  Soldier to the core
Kulwinder Sandhu

A decorated World War II fighter, the first Indian officer to command the Gorkha Rifles and get a Military Cross — Major General Anant Singh Pathania (retd) breathed his last in Dharamsala on December 19, 2007. He was 95 years old. Anant Singh is survived by his octogenarian wife, three sons and two daughters. Son of Lt. Col. Raghubir Singh Pathania, Anant Singh was born on May 25, 1913, at village Re in Kangra district of Punjab (now Himachal Pradesh). He was commissioned in the 5 Gorkha Rifles on February 3, 1935. Subsequently, he rose to the rank of Major General in the Indian Army.

Soon after getting commissioned, he was sent to Waziristan to suppress the Pathans but keeping in mind his leadership qualities Anant was sent to the famous battle of Keren in North-East Africa during World War-II in 1940-41, where he played a vital role in suppressing Italian forces. He was given the Military Cross for his courage.

In his book ‘Ball of Fire” on World War-II, Antony Brett has mentioned about the Anant Singh’s leadership qualities. ‘Although wounded in the face and in both legs, he collected his company headquarters and any other men he could muster, and pushed the enemy out with the bayonet. Only then, and under orders, did he hand over the company to his second-in-command, but the latter, too, was wounded by bomb splinters,’ wrote Brett.

After his return from Keren, Anant was sent to fight in Burma as a Brigade Major — the first Indian to hold such a key appointment at that time. Later, he was selected as deputy president of the first Regular Commission Selection Board in the rank of Lt. Colonel, superseding at least 400 Indian and British officers.

After independence, he was selected as the first Indian officer to command the 1/5 Gorkha Rifles. For a short period, he was asked to help civilians in the walled city of Delhi in the wake of partition and influx of refugees.

In November 1948, the Indian Army’s advance towards Drass and Kargil sector was hindered by the enemy’s presence at Pindras gorge. To overcome this, a two-pronged attack was planned and 1/5 Gorkha Rifles, under the command of Lt. Col. Anant Singh Pathania, was deployed to capture the ridge ahead of Pindras, on the north of Gumri Nala.

The battle is supposed to be the hardest ever fought during the Jammu and Kashmir operation. Anant not only led several reconnaissance missions but also pressed home the attack on the enemy on November 14, 1948. Despite heavy enemy machine gun fire the 1/5 Gorkhas forged ahead, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The victory was attributed to Pathania’s daring reconnaissance of enemy positions on the eve of battle.

The Indian government and senior officials of the Army were so impressed by Anant Singh that the strategically important mountain top he captured was named as ‘Anant Hill’. After this victory, he was also honoured with the Mahavir Chakra for exceptional gallantry and leadership qualities.

In 1949, he as promoted to the rank of a Brigadier and was assigned the task of integration of State Forces of Saurashtra and Kutch. He worked as Director General of the Military Intelligence from 1952 to 1956, Brigade Commander from 1956 to 1959, before being elevated to the rank of Major General in July 1959.

He also worked as Director General of the NCC for a short period. While on tour to attend NCC programmes, on a short notice of few hours, he was called back to take command of the Fourth Mountain Infantry Division in 1962 in NEFA during the Indo-China war.

Later, he was deputed with the union ministry of education as Director General of National Discipline Scheme assigned the task to infuse a spirit of national integration and discipline among students. Although, he retired from Army in January 1965, Anant was asked to continue with the union ministry of education before he laid down the office in July 1967.

Thereafter, he stayed at Jammu and then at Dharamsala, till he breathed his last.  During the last days of life, he was a little worried by the shortfall of officers in the Army. His son Vasudev Singh Pathania says his father had a message for youngsters — ‘Serve in the world’s best fighting force. There is nothing greater than wearing the uniform of the Indian army”.

His wife Uma Devi also proudly told The Tribune — “Our nine generations have served as guardians of the nation.” A statement enough to motivate any Indian! 


Family of warriors

Major General Anant Singh’s father Lt. Col. Raghubir Singh Pathania laid down his life during World War-I while commanding 2 J&K Rifles. His grandfather Major General Sardar Bahadur Nihal Singh led troops during Hunza, Nagar and Black Mountain expeditions. He was awarded the Order of British India First Class with the title of Sardar Bahadur (both military and civil). His mother Raj Devi was the daughter of General Baj Singh Dalpatia of Chitral fame. He was married to Uma Devi, daughter of Colonel Bakshi Chand Katoch who was the first Dogra King’s Commissioned Indian Officer. One of his three sons has also retired from the Army as a Major General. 



 Reprieve for pharma industry
Ambika Sharma

The multi-crore pharmaceutical industry in Himachal has heaved a sigh of relief with the Madras High Court ordering a stay on the manufacture of hundreds of Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs). The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) had earlier withdrawn permission for those combinations which had been accorded permission by the state governments. Since these combinations had not been permitted by the DGCI, their manufacturing had been adversely hit.

The directions issued in August 2007 had created an upheaval in the pharmaceutical industry here, which accounts for nearly  Rs 5,000 crore investment. While drug manufacturers in the state had been issued notices by the state licensing authority, it had put a question mark on the manufacture of a large number of drugs. The issue was taken up at various levels by the Himachal Pradesh Drug Manufacturers Association (HPDMA), whose members while terming the directions as absurd said, “It was illogical as to how such a harsh decision, which affected about 20 to 30 per cent of the industry, had been taken without consulting the manufacturers.”

The instructions had affected every small and big manufacturer, who were forced to seek permission from the DCGI for as many as 20 to 30 per cent of their total drugs. Earlier, these drugs were being manufactured on permissions obtained by the state licensing authorities.

Meanwhile, letter number F.No.19013A/2007-D had issued instructions to the state drug controllers to take necessary action in the matter and communicate it to the DGCI. The latter has prepared this exhaustive list on the basis of information obtained from various sources like Indian Drug Review, CIMS, MIMS, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) etc. They have essentially included  four categories comprising FDCs licensed by the State Authorities but not permitted by the DCGI, FDCs approved by the Directorate from 1971 till date, applications of FDCs rejected by the DCGI and the list of banned FDCs reported to be available in the country. Although the initial list only included limited FDCs, more were likely to be added as only reputed companies had been enlisted in various drug journals. These new orders had rung the alarm bells in the industry, as all big and small units would be forced to either seek re-permission for a majority of their products or altogether suspend production.

Albeit manufacturers said that this provision was laid down in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 as per section 122(D), and this was inserted in the Act on December 12, 2001, authorities took a long time to finally effect the changes.



Virender Mohan Trehan was recently awarded President’s gold medal for his contribution towards development of technology in the country
Technology, his forte 
Rakesh Lohumi

His lifetime efforts have finally borne fruit. Virender Mohan Trehan, chairman of Parwanoo-based Mekaster Group, has been conferred with the Presidential Gold Medal recently. Trehan has been honoured by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) for the key role played by him in promoting latest technology.

Trehan was born at Shimla on April 23, 1943, and has earned earned the reputation of being a generous industrialist known for his contribution towards any social cause over the years. The medal was formally presented to him by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the inauguration of 95th Indian Science Congress at Visakhapatnam earlier this week. Trehan was responsible for ushering in the Digital Switching System in India.

It is an important milestone in the history of Indian Telecom industry, which marks a new phase of the sector in the country. His company has been manufacturing industrial and hand tools at its unit in Parwanoo since 1978. His passion for promoting science and new technologies saw him interact intensively with the (ISCA). In fact, he was instrumental in starting the Delhi chapter of the association of which he is currently the chairperson. 

An avid traveller, Trehan has excelled in manufacturing of industrial hand tools, torque wrenches, torque multipliers, construction equipments, hoists, concrete pavers, concrete spraying machines and lifting devices. Besides Parwanoo, he has established industrial units at Baroda, Delhi and Banglore.

He has devoted a lot of time for propagating science and in pursuit of this cause dedicated Mekaster auditorium to the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, Hyderabad.

Trehan was also instrumental in setting up of the National Telematics Forum(NTF), which played a major role in formulation of the National Telecom policy. Subsequently, he was made a member of the advisory panel of telecommunications in the Planning Commission. He has also remained president of the Indian Association for Productivity, Quality and Reliability.  



 Bamboo project hangs fire
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

Solan forest division’s ambitious project to regenerate the bamboo forest on 1267 hectares of land has failed to take-off for want of an approval from authorities concerned. The project was planned after Dharampur forest range, under the division covering this area, witnessed flowering on a large scale.

The flowering was noticed in February 2004 after a gap of 45 years and spread fast during the following year. As a result, bamboo plants were completely dried up in almost 900 hectares area. The phenomenon facilitated the growth of lantana and other wild weeds. This had caused concerns among farmers, who feared that their arable land would be lost to these wild weeds.  In addition, bad monsoons at that time had slowed down the pace of bamboo regeneration, which could prove a set back to those whose livelihood is based on it.

To cope up with the situation, the division had drawn up a project to fence the area besides facilitating bamboo plantation at a cost of Rs 3.80 crore. The project was aimed at artificial regeneration of forests, improved access, developing water sources and micro-irrigation systems etc.

Initially, the project had suffered at the hand of ministry of rural development but thedivision had roped in various agencies to arrange funds for the project, including the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), ministry of environment and forests, the National Mission on Bamboo Application and the Himalayan Forestry Research Institute at Shimla.

However, things remained blocked for want of bulk funding. Y.P. Gupta, DFO Solan forest division, said it was later decided to push the project not only for one division but for the whole state, including the three forst circles. “The project has been approved and it would soon be launched,” he said. Gupta denied any loss to the bamboo forest due to delay in launching the project.





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