Heaps of medical waste
Ravinder Sood

The waste generated in hospitals and medical institutions has become a major environmental and health hazard in the state and there is an immediate need to ensure its scientific disposal.

Most of the waste generated in health institutions contains infectious agents that can lead to serious diseases and even epidemics. Since most of the hospitals do not have waste-treatment plants and incinerators, liquid waste generally finds its way into drains while the solid waste is dumped at municipal dumps or even in the open.

Extensive use of plastic for making various medical equipment and other things has also led to an increase in waste that needs special treatment plants for its disposal.

Kangra and Mandi are the biggest districts of the state having a large number of private and public health institutions, including a medical college at Tanda. However, no serious efforts have been made in the past 10 years to ensure scientific handling of biomedical waste.

Most of the hazardous and non-hazardous waste is thrown into khads and streams. The practice is flagrant in Kangra, Mandi, Una and Hamirpur districts. Later, the water of these streams is tapped for public drinking through various water supply schemes. It is unfortunate that the Irrigation and Public Health Department has no water-treatment plants for many water supply schemes. Most of the people living in lower areas are consuming water provided through these water supply projects.

It is a well-established fact that diseases like cancer, hepatitis, jaundice, typhoid and other epidemics spread through contamination of water. The number of deaths because of these diseases has gone up in Kangra district. Water-borne diseases have become common here and every fifth person is suffering from these.

The Government of India has taken steps to ensure proper disposal of medical waste. Amendments were made to the Environment And Forest Protection Act, 1986. A notification to this effect was also issued. Subsequently, the Biomedical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 1998, were also forwarded to the states, including Himachal Pradesh, for further action.

These rules provide for control on generation, handling and disposal of medical waste. Sadly, the state government doses not seem determined to strictly enforce these rules. The result: various nursing homes and health institutions are openly flouting norms in the entire state.

The municipal councils in the district are also openly flouting these rules by dumping medical waste near towns. The district administration is well aware of everything, but it has remained a mute spectator to the situation. Most of the municipal dumps are situated along the national highways and continue to emit foul smell. Senior officials travel on these roads daily, but none has bothered to initiate any action against the defaulters. Nothing seems to have changed despite spending crores on the protection and conservation of environment.



  Mini-sectt takes shape

After an unprecedented delay of about 11 years, the proposed mini-secretariat here is becoming a reality as its construction is in full swing. Its foundation stone was laid twice by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh within eight years. The first stone was laid on August 13, 1996, at the old civil hospital while the second was laid on January 10, 2004, near the old Nurpur Fort, a monument managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Owing to ASI objections the construction on the new site could not be initiated as it was adjoining the ASI’s monument. Moreover, the residents also pleaded for a mini-secretariat at the old civil hospital premises.

Following persistent demands local MLA and revenue minister Sat Mahajan helped in clearing the formalities for land transfer to pave the way for construction of the mini-secretariat. In fact, the project suffered unprecedented delay owing to the continued uncertainty over the selection of the site for the mini-secretariat.



  Is govt practising what it preaches?
Kulwinder Sandhu

Even after Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal asked his party leaders/workers and the official machinery not to make wasteful expenditure, the Kangra district administration issued advertisements from the funds of various temple trusts in the newspapers, besides, making other arrangements to welcome the new government on its arrival for the winter session of the state legislative assembly held at Dharamsala, last week.

First of all, Dhumal, who was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues was given rousing welcomes on his way to Dharamsala from the state capital at various places. It was surprising to witness that a large number of people, who thronged the roadsides to welcome the arrival of the new government followed the advice of Dhumal as they brought minimum garlands but bouquets were seen in the hands of government officials, who greeted him at Jawalamukhi, Kangra and Dharamsala.

Dhumal had made it a point not to receive garlands and also asked the party leaders/workers and common people not to touch his feet. He soon after taking over the reins of the state had pasted a notice advising the visitors not to bring garlands or bouquets to greet him in his office. He had advised people to refrain from wasteful expenditure and instead use the money for the welfare of poor people.

Surprisingly, the Kangra district administration went a step forward ignoring the advice of Dhumal and issued advertisements in various newspapers on behalf of Chamunda Mata Trust and few other temple trusts headed by the DM and respective sub-divisional magistrates.

When asked about the issuance of such advertisements from the funds of the temple trusts, DM Ashwani Kapoor said there was nothing wrong in issuing such advertisements from the funds of the temple trusts. He said the administration had got prior permission from the state government to issue these advertisements that were released through the Public Relations Department.

Other authorities concerned of the temple trust expressed their ignorance about the issuance of the advertisements. 



Gleesome fleasome bandar
by Shriniwas Joshi

The English dictionary has many words of Hindustani origin but bandar (monkey) frequently used by Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling is missing. Khushwant Singh in an article, The Hills of Deodar written in 1950s, speaks of Rudyard drinking the whole night and while staggering homewards on a fragrant morning found ‘Tara Devi softly shaking’, he met a bandar, who was no less poetic than him. Rudyard wondered, “Gentle bandar, an inscrutable decree / makes thee a gleesome fleasome thou and me a weary me.” The poet bandar replied, “Oh man of many clothes! sad crawler on the hills! Observe I know not Ranken’s (popular tailor of those times) shop, nor Ranken’s monthly bills! / I take no heed to trousers or the coats that you call dress; / nor am I plagued with little cards for little drinks at mess.” The bandar had reflected the thoughts of great Hindu sanyasis of giving up maya and had exhibited knowledge of The Bible asking for the renunciation of ‘the pomp and vanity of this wicked world.’ He also advised Rudyard to keep away from ‘all sinful lusts of the flesh’ by saying, “I follow no man’s carriage, and no, never in my life./ have I flirted at Peliti’s (a restaurant) with another bandar’s wife./ Oh man of futile fopperies-unnecessary wraps./ I own no ponies in the hills, I drive no tall wheeled traps.” The poet bandar may not have flirted with a bandaree but Doz writes in 1913 in Simla in Ragtime about his fraternal polygamist, “There is also a self-governing colony of monkeys on the top of Jakko. There abides the raja monkey with his numerous wives, the prime minister, The chief of police and various other officials.” The poet bandar, on the other hand, was well versed in family affairs and against washing dirty linen on streets believing in nipping the evil at home, “ I quarrel with my wife at home, we never fight abroad;/ but Ms B has grasped the fact I am her only lord. / I have heard of fever-dumps not debts depress my soul; / and I pity and despise you!”

Not only the bandar but natives too despised the sahibs. William Howard Russell, a correspondent of London Times had visited Shimla in 1858. He asked about the British behaviour from the locals and was dismayed on the answer, “Does the sahib see those monkeys? They are playing very pleasantly. But the sahib cannot say why they play, nor what they are going to do the next. Well, then, our poor people look upon you very much as they would on those monkeys. They are afraid to laugh. But they do regard you as some great powerful creatures sent to plague them, of whose motives and actions they can comprehend nothing whatever.”

The sahibs have gone now and the bandars are posing problems for the natives. They are more ‘friendly’ towards the female species of homo sapiens and know that their handbags are evidences of ‘money is not all in this world.’ It was not that the bandars had a friendly equation with the British because they were a ‘decided nuisance’ to Sir Edward Buck and Peter Hopkirk writes In Quest for Kim that until Independence the Simla police maintained a secret ‘monkey incident’ file and used to conduct covert culling operation on the simians in the dead of the night. About 1,900 bandars have been exported, still their present population in the town is estimated as 2,200 out of a total of 3,50,000 in Himachal Pradesh. The Forest Department is, now, going on with a plan of sterilisation. Culling, exodus and forced sterilisation - all ‘inhuman’ conduct on the simians that have great similitude to human reason in them, but there are phases in a month when a bandar behaves differently than a human: A bandar gets depressed at half and full moon, as unfolded in The Book of Beasts by White and Frazier. But a bandar is a bandar and a man is a man. That is why the pedantic bandar could not change Rudyard to a life of denials and the Nobel winner ordered him to “Go! depart in peace, my brother, to thy home amid the pine; / yet forget not once a mortal wished to change his lot with thine.” 


In Sydney, Harbhajan said in Punjabi, “Mainnu ki?” Andrew Symonds thought that he said, “Monkey”. Result: Skirmish.



  Kayakalp aims at arresting ageing process 

Kayakalp, a naturopathy centre being run by the Vivekanand Medical Research Trust, has proved a boon for residents of the northern region.

Situated on the Pathankot-Manali highway, 40 km from Kangra airport, Kayakalp has an 86-bed health retreat set amidst 60 acres of a lushgreen landscape

Kayakalp aims at turning the clock around by arresting the ageing process.

It aims at arresting degeneration of the body by detoxifying, immunising, rejuvenating and regenerating cells and tissues through a holistic transformation of body, mind and soul.

The healthcare unit - dubbed the Himalayan Research Institute for Yoga and Naturopathy - has several streams, including yoga, pranayam, meditation, naturopathy, panchkarma, acupressure, magneto therapy, chromotherapy and diet therapy. It also has a gymnasium.

Kayakalp offers state-of-the-art, modern and luxurious facilities in the lap of natural beauty, where the rejuvenation treatment is traditional and natural. It provides holistic and drugless therapies under one roof.

It has a well-designed meditation centre for learning and practising art. Kayakalp helps banish chronic ailments related to the digestive system, joint pains, arthritis, rheumatism, paralysis, allergy, skin diseases, asthma, migraine and depression through holistic treatment.

Eight kinds of special herbal ayurvedic massages are available at the facility. These help in proper circulation of blood throughout the body as toxins are  filtered out. 



  Financial crunch hits Vivekanand trust work
Ravinder Sood

The construction of Rs 80-crore Vivekanand Medical College and Research Trust (VMRT) being set up here has come to a standstill for wants of funds. The trust has spent over Rs 30 crore on the project so far. However, the hospital block, the nursing hostel, residential blocks and the guesthouse have been left half completed as the funds received by the trust have been exhausted.

The plan to set up this super-speciality medical institution was mooted by Shanta Kumar in 1992, when he was the Chief Minister of the state. The institute was meant to provide quality medical care to the people of the lower region of the state. The foundation stone of the project was laid in 1992. Unfortunately, the project remained a victim of dirty politics for 10 years as the governments that ruled the state did not bother for its early completion.

Earlier, the project was a joint venture of the state government and the Apollo Group of Hospitals. The institution was to be run through a trust. However, the Apollo group left the project halfway. Thereafter, neither the state government nor any other private party showed interest in the project. For almost 10 years the project remained confined to official files. The Congress and the BJP governments that ruled the state virtually abandoned the project.

In 2000, when Shanta Kumar became the union minister for food and supplies, he sought public cooperation for the venture from the public of northern region of the state which contributed for the project. In a few months, the trust received donations worth Rs 30 crore.

In 2002, the old trust in which the state government was also one of the trustees was dissolved. The reconstituted trust had Shanta Kumar, social workers and some citizens of the region as its trustees. The then Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal transferred Rs 3.5 crore lying in the bank in the name of the old trust and valuable land measuring 40 acres in the heart of the town to the new trust on token lease of Re 1 per year.

Almost 50 per cent constructions work of the institution is complete and remaining has been suspended for want of funds. This project is being set up under the guidelines of experts of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), New Delhi.

Besides setting up of a super-speciality hospital with 500 beds, the project also envisages to set up a medical college, a nursing institution, a paramedical school and yoga and naturopathy facilities. The trust bylaws provide that 20 per cent beds will be reserved for poor patients and free medical aid will be given to them.

The first phase of project, which included a naturopathy centre known as the Himalayan Research Institute for Yoga and Naturopathy, has already been commissioned.

The entire funding of project is being met through donations from individuals and institutions. The Dalai Lama had given Rs 5 crore for one block of the hospital. The block has been named Mount Kailash Prakhand. The Birla group of industries has donated Rs 3 crore so far for the construction of yoga and naturopathy centre.

Government servants, bankers’ associations and even schoolchildren have donated money for the cause. The trust is hopeful that the institutional will be functional with in a year.



  Bhavan kids re-invent chullah
Arun Sharma

An energy saver chulha devised by students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Panchkula, will prove useful for the people living at high altitude, who use wood as fuel for cooking. Simultaneously, the chullah, which is a modified version of traditional chullah, can be used as a geyser and roaster.

It will also help in making rooms warm without the risk of carbon monoxide effects. The benefits can be availed by spending merely Rs 1,000 and producing the device at large scale can bring down the cost.

The chulha is designed by Mayank, a student of class IX, and Kanika, a student of class X, under the guidance of their teacher Asha Vashishta.

The students were motivated to invent the chulha making the maximum use of fuel during their visit to Kaza, a remote area in Himachal Pradesh, in the recent past. Each household there uses wood or dung cakes as fuel to cook food, keep houses warm and to get hot water.

Asha says in traditional chullah made of bricks, 2 kg twigs of wood is used to cook meal for four persons while the same amount of fuel in the modified chullah can fulfill many other needs. The size of the chullah can also be modified according to the size of the family, she adds.

The innovative chullah consists of two cylindrical iron tanks filled with water, a wire mesh to light fire, a sliding tray to collect burnt coal, a safety valve, and an insulated tank. The energy saver devise reduces the fuel consumption to at least one-third and utilises heat energy from all directions.

The two water tanks are put on both sides of the chullah instead of bricks. One water tank is connected with water inlet hose while the outlet to water is provided from the other tank where hot water is transferred from the first tank through a pipe, which joins both tanks with each other. A safety valve is fitted with a pipe attached to the hot water tank.

Hot water can be procured from the outlet or it can be collected in an insulated water tank for household activities throughout the day. Burnt coal wood or coal is collected in the sliding tray, which can be used for room heating or roasting vegetables, says the teacher.

The school students have one innovation on the same pattern for the urban areas as well. A tandoor used to prepare chapattis can also be used as geyser.



  Crime against women on rise
Kulwinder Sandhu

Crime against the ‘fair sex’ was on the rise in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh that was otherwise known for its peaceful, cool and serene environment.

The latest statistics suggest that the cases of crime against women had increased gradually in the state. The most common crimes against women traditionally includes rape, kidnapping and abduction, dowry death, torture, molestation, sexual harassment, cases under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the Dowry Prohibition Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act.

As per the details available from the state police headquarters, during the first nine months of 2007, a total of 896 cases of cruelty against women were reported, which exceeded the number of cases registered in the last two years- 871 cases and 874 cases in years 2006 and 2005, respectively.

The figures shows that in the 274 registered cases of crimes against women the offense was committed by either husbands or in-laws under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, till the month of September, which exceeded the total figure of 256 such crimes committed in the year 2006.

The police was still compiling the crime figures for 2007 and one could not deny from the fact that keeping in view the past trends of crime that such figures could further rise much higher than these figures, as the final figures were still awaited.

Apart from this, as many as, 125 cases of rape were registered across the state during the first nine months in 2007, the figures of which had also shown an increasing trend as compared to the figures of the 2006 in which 113 cases of rape were registered.

The cases of dowry death had also registered a minor increase from three crimes in 2006 to six crimes in the first nine months of 2007. The trend of such crimes over the past few years had remained generally the same. In the past six years, a lowest number of two dowry death cases were registered in 2005 while a maximum of eight in 2004.

The increase in the number of cases of abducting women and kidnapping the girl child was a big concern for the police throughout the state. From 108 such cases reported in 2006 the figures had gone up to 121 till September 30, 2007, with figures of three months yet to be compiled at the administrative level in the police headquarters. In 2002 such cases were 137, in 2003 (96), in 2004 (97) and in 2005 (101).

A senior police official revealed that many victims of kidnapping and abduction were young women lured by men who promise them good life and even marriage but at the end betray them by pushing into prostitution and not providing them with jobs.

As many as 250 cases of molestation and 31 cases of eve teasing were registered till September 2007, while the figures in 2006 remained at 274 and 31, respectively.



  That migrant cackle again
Dharam Prakash Gupta

Like every year migratory birds have thronged the lakes and have settled in dozens in the state, wildlife experts have said. Not only is this a source of attraction for tourists and visitors, but a large number of ornithologists also visit the lakes to study these migratory birds during these months.

A largest number of them have been witnessed at Pong Dam, where according to wildlife experts about 65,000 birds had already arrived in December and this number would touch to about 75,000 this season.

The shallow water lakes in Beas and Satluz rivers are favorite spots for the migratory birds and they settle in Gobind Sagar Lake at Bilaspur, Renuka Lake in Sirmaur district, at Nadaun in Hamirpur, Sunder Nagar Lake in Mandi district, Chamera dam in Chamba district and have recently started settling at Larji Lake in Mandi district.

During summer months some migratory birds migrate to Chandertal Lake in Spiti district. They fly down from as far as Siberia and other places in Russia.

They migrate every year during winter months from October to March and settle in shallow waters of lakes and rivers here and in other parts of the country.

Hamirpur wildlife DFO S.K. Guleria said, “as many as 40 per cent of total 25,000 populations of Bare headed geese migrate to the state and about 15,000 settle in Pong Dam Lake.”

The birds come to this region in search of food and shelter. While the omnivorous birds get plenty of food in forms of fish, snails and river grass the vegetarian among them feed on wheat, grass and mustard crops etc.

A large number of these migratory birds are fish catchers and get good amount of these in shallow waters. The biggest cause of migration of these birds is fall in temperature at the places of their settlement for which they fly to warmer places.

The species which migrate are cormonets, rudy shape ducks, pintails, clochard and coots etc.



  2,500 mahila morcha activists for Delhi rally

Over 2,500 activists of the BJP Mahila Morcha from the state will participate in the rally being organised in front of Parliament to press the demand for 33 reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

President of the morcha Roopa Sharma said that a group of 35 women from each assembly segment and all members of the state executive would participate in the rally. She held a meeting with the state office-bearers and district presidents to chalk out a plan for the rally.

Meanwhile, BJP spokesman Rajender Rana lauded the BJP government for assuaging the feelings of the people of the Kangra region which was handed out a raw deal during Congress rule. By holding the oath ceremony of newly elected legislators at Dharamsala the government had given the right message to the people of the merged areas, Rana said.

The government would honour the sentiments of party workers and work in close coordination with the organisation. 



  Floriculture to be promoted

Horticulture minister Narinder Bragta said today cultivation of medicinal plants and floriculture will be promoted on a commercial scale to help maximise returns from the small land holdings.

Talking to mediapersons he said the hill state was already famous for apples and citrus fruit and the endeavour of the government would be to make it the fruit bowl of the country by harnessing its immense potential for the development of horticulture. He said the emphasis would be on diversification and use of latest know-how to improve productivity.



No ice ice, baby
Rakesh Lohumi

The weather God seems to be unhappy with the “queen of hills” this winter. It spread an impeccable white mantle over all hill ranges, which normally experience snow during this period but left the erstwhile British summer capital high and dry, much to the disappointment of the hoteliers, taxi operators and all those connected with the tourist trade.

It was quite unusual for the famous hill resort to go without snow when all other areas had it in abundance. More so, as some areas like Kinnuar experienced unusually heavy snow. The district headquarters, Rackong Peo, recorded over 130 cm snow within 48 hours, which was the heaviest since 1992.

The tourists made a beeline for Manali, Solang Nullah, Khajiar, Narkanda and other resorts to enjoy snow. However, lack of snowfall made the winter tourist season a lean affair in the state capital.

Ice skating at the Asia’s oldest natural rink is the main attraction for not only the tourists but also the local people. However, this time the prolonged spell of inclement weather disrupted the ice-skating season at its peak. The national ice-skating championship was disrupted and the annual gymkhana of the Shimla Ice-Skating Club could also not be held as scheduled as the rink was transformed into a pool. A clear sky is essential for water to freeze naturally.

Unlike Shimla, the nearby tourist resort of Kufri had some snow, which provided some relief to tourists. More importantly, the entire apple belt right from Rohru, Kotkhai, Kotgarh, upper areas of Rampur, Nirmand to the Kullu valley had long spell of snow raising hopes of a bumper crop in the ensuing season.

Dhumal’s balancing act

All districts and regions may not have found representation in the ministry constituted by Chief Minister P. K. Dhumal early this week but caste-wise it is relatively balanced. Out of the total 41 legislators as many as 15 are Rajputs and not surprisingly four of them, including Dhumal, form apart of the 10-member ministry.

There are eight Brahmins out of which two have been accommodated. While one has been made a minister, the other has been elected the deputy speaker. However, the other backward classes have been over-represented with two out of the total three becoming cabinet ministers.

On the other hand the representation of scheduled castes is on the lower side with only one out of the total 8, who entered the Vidhan Sabha on the BJP ticket finding place in the ministry. Out of the four tribal legislators, including Krishan Kapoor, one has been made a minister and another accommodated as the speaker.

Luck eludes Roop Singh

It is for the first time that a BJP government has been sworn in without veteran BJP leader Roop Singh, who has always found a berth in the ministry when ever the party has came to power. It appears he missed the bus this time.

Subsequently, in 1990 and 1998 when the BJP formed the government he became a cabinet minister and held the forest portfolio on both occasions. 



  Meet the mastermind of TV thrillers
Rakesh Lohumi

The producer and director of the longest running fiction TV serial CID, B. P. Singh, has been inspired by the works of Vijay Anand, who gave suspense thrillers like Teesari Manzil and Jewel Thief.
“Ek Shunya Shunya” which attained a TRP of 75 - unheard of at that time. Ramayan’s TRP was 82.

In 2005, Singh took Indian television to new heights. He shot one whole episode of CID in “one single shot of 111 minutes”. A suspense story told in one single shot !!.....without any cuts or cutaways. A feat, which every Indian can be proud of. It is a world record achieved by an Indian and is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. 

On January 28, the serial aired by Sony TV will enter its 11th year, which is a big achievement. More so, because, it is still high in the viewership ratings. Credit for this success should also go to legendary film director Vijay Anand, who was the master of the art and set the trend for suspense thrillers. He was not only inspired by him but also made liberal use techniques, Singh said, who was here to scout locations for his new TV  serial “Hadsa”.

He already has 521 episodes of CID under his belt. The show is still on. The Indian Film Directors Association has honoured him for making valuable contribution to the Indian television. The serial also provided him the opportunity to shoot an entire episode in one take without switching off the camera even once. The 111-minute shot earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

It was a complete episode shot in a hotel complex during which two murders took place and was solved. If all went as planned he would shoot some of the new episodes in and around Shimla to bring visual freshness to the serial.

Unlike CID, which is purely a detective serial , his new venture “Hadsa” will combine the thrill of suspense with the emotional drama. It could be best categorised as a “friller”, a term coined to describe family thrillers, which could be viewed by one and all. The serial for Zee TV will start later  this month. He had already seen the locations and soon he would return with his unit to  start shooting.

A product of the National Film Training Institute, Singh started his career as a news and feature cameraman. He worked for Doordarshan for almost a decade before starting his own production. The first film he produced and directed, “Sirf char din”, was a suspense thriller. Based on a real police case, it set the trend of detective shows on the Indian television. However, it was the highly acclaimed block buster “Ek Shunya Shunya”, a Marathi TV serial, which established his credentials as a director of detective serials. The next serial -”Ahat”, which was a big success with over 300 episodes.

After some more land mark serials like Jaal, Kshitiz, Aakar, Choomankar, Singh created another first in 1995. A supernatural and suspense thriller called Aahat which reached a TRP of 27 unsurpassed till today on a satellite television. Aahat remained on air for 6 years and was twice revived. In 1998 he created another milestone - CID -.which is now in its 11th year of telecast. Not afraid to experiment, Singh has invented some bold new ways in story telling. Ek Shunya Shunya and CID have set new trends in outdoor shooting.

He has also produced along with Mr. Pradeep Uppoor over 500 episodes of Achanak, 37 Saal Baad, CID, Special Bureau and Raat Hone Ko Hai.




 On The Health Front
Local MLA, their only hope
Ambika Sharma

The induction of Dr Rajiv Bindal as the health minister in the state cabinet has lit hopes of Solan district as it will now get due importance while building the health infrastructure. Since the district had failed to attract facilities in the healthcare arena, the people were now pinning their hopes on their local MLA.

Though a number of proposals for enhancement of facilities had been drawn up time and again by the health authorities but not much could be done in the absence of adequate financial aid. The lone Regional Hospital catering to the twin districts of Solan and Sirmaur could not get adequate specialists vis-à-vis patients’ strength and this had overburdened the existing strength.

An ambitious plan to construct a six-storey building in the vicinity of the existing building has been hanging fire for quite some time now. This will make available crucial facilities like additional space for keeping dead bodies as well as conduct of autopsies.

The doctors encountered particular problems in dealing with accident cases where a large number of casualties often over flooded the little available space. Conduct of autopsies was only done here and it delayed timely handing of bodies.

The plan will also take care of creating a special ward having at least 15 wards as against the dismal three now. While a proposal for the proper disposal of biomedical waste too will find prominence, crucial facilities like a trauma-care unit encompassing an ICU, CCU as well as adequate beds will be made available. In the scarcity of adequate funds, the department was unable to provide adequate staff quarters and it created specific problems especially during emergencies.

Though the district contributed maximum revenue to the state exchequer, it had just received one first referral unit (FRU) under the much-hyped centrally-aided rural health mission. Even the lone FRU set up at Nalagarh could not achieve its due purpose with the very crucial blood bank failing to be set up. Availability of specialists was another major problem plaguing various hospitals in the district.

The worst and most neglected area was the Kasauli constituency where precious little had been done to augment healthcare. It was interesting to note that this region was in the pink of health during the British regime where the number of sanatoriums and hospitals far exceeded the requirement but now patients were forced to go to Solan for every minor and major problem. 



 Himachali Ramkatha on VCD soon
Prashant Sood

Though Ramlila is the most popular form of viewing the epic of Lord Ram, there are thousands of oral narratives in different parts of the country, which tell the story in local expressions. Himachal Pradesh, which is also referred to as the “Dev Bhumi,” has centuries-old traditions concerning Ramkatha.

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), which has embarked on a project to preserve this intangible heritage for its posterity, is inviting select folk performers from different states to the capital to record these traditions.

The folk artists from the state, who left for their native places recently after spending eight days at IGNCA, performed Chadi Ramayan, Musada Ramayan and Barlaj apart from reciting “sanskar geet.”

Elated over recognition that their art form had received from a well-known national institute, the performers had a sense of achievement on their faces. They said the state government had not provided them such an opportunity though there was a risk of these pristine forms losing their identity under modern infleunces.

Some of the performers had come to the national capital for the first time. The recordings will be released in the form of CDs during the festival “Ramkatha in oral narratives and folk performative traditions of India,” being organised by the IGNCA from March 8 to 18 this year.

Among the artists from the state is octogenarian Vimla Kuthiala, who has written two books on folk songs of the state. With her knowledge of Sanskrit, Hindi and vedic literature, Kuthiala explained “sanskar geet” of the state in their devotional context during the recording. Sanskar geet of Himachal Pradesh include songs relating to the birth and marriage of Lord Ram. There are songs related to Sita and other characters of Ramayana also.

Devraj Sharma, who is a librarian at the Himachal Pradesh Academy of Art, Culture and Language, said Ramayan in the Siraj area of Kullu is sung with descriptive prose. The Chadi Ramayan, which is sung to musical instruments, has one group of singers repeating the lines recited by the other.

Musada Ramayan, a tradition of the Gaddi community, is sung by a man and a woman, who are normally husband and wife. The man sings while playing two instruments.

Barlaj is associated with the story of Raja Bali but story of Ramayan is also its essential part. Sharma, who has worked on the folk forms of the state, says that Barlaj is organised in open spaces in temples around a bonfire, which is called Geetha.

Dr K K Chakravarty, member secretary, IGNCA, who interacted with the artist from the state, said Ramayan had many adaptations which reflected diversity of the country. The story of Lord Ram has even been adopted by Muslims in some parts of the country, he said, adding that a tradition lives when it is not monolithic.

He said traditional forms can still be found in their pristine forms in states like Himachal Pradesh and Chhatisgarh but these were also under invasion. “IGNCA is recording people’s history,” he said.

Dr Mauli Kaushal, who is the project director, said oral traiditions were vanishing and it was crucial to preserve them. “We will disseminate the CD recordings to give back to people what we have got from them,” she said.

The Himachal Pradesh academy has shown interest in the IGNCA project to document folk forms in the country and will soon start work to profile Anchli of Chamba and Jhera of Mandi.



  Revival of Nahan Foundry top priority: Kush Parmar

Congress MLA from Nahan Kush Parmar said that he was committed to all-round development of the constituency.

Addressed his first press conference after his election as an MLA, he said announced that the over 100-year-old Nahan foundry would be revived to open new employment avenues for the unemployed youth of this town.

More irrigation facilities and new schools and colleges would be his top priority.

Parmar hoped that BJP Chief Minister P. K. Dhumal would give full cooperation to maintain the pace of development in the Nahan constituency.

He also addressed a meeting of party workers attended, among others, by Zila Parishad chairperson Manju Sharma, Nahan Municipal Council chief Lajwanti and several other senior leaders.





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