Pehal for the disadvantaged
The programme provides schooling to poor children
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
Sonu’s day begins at the break of dawn.When children his age are snuggled comfortably in bed, he is found near municipality dustbins with a plastic sack, identifying articles of glass or iron that could earn him some money.

For long, he has looked wistfully at boys his age, smartly attired in uniform leaving for school in the morning.

A programme called Pehal under the aegis of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) launched by the district project office in Dehradun comes as a hope for children like Sonu. It provides schooling to children unable to pursue studies due to their poor economic conditions.

The programme is for children in the age group of 6-14 living in urban and semi-urban areas. Since its inception in 2007, there have been 275 beneficiaries of the programme.

“ The main aim of the programme is to provide opportunities to children prevented from pursuing a regular academic career due to economic conditions. Two years on, we have been successful in our mission. In fact, several states have shown keenness in adopting our programme,” informed Shailender Negi, district coordinator.

Children are identified and selected for the programme. Then comes counselling of parents , which is usually the most difficult task. Most parents resist sending their wards to school since they contribute towards fending for the families. Our one-point agenda is to explain to them in simple words the importance of education. We travel to bastis where they reside and speak with them,” informed Negi.

The next step is identification of schools situated near the slums.Then comes enrolment.

Principals of selected schools also establishe a dialogue with parents who are motivated by counsellors to send their children to school.

In the end comes the most important aspect of the programme called mainstreaming. “ It involves conducting a bridge course for the target group so that the children gain enough proficiency to help them follow the school curriculum along with regular students.

“ It has been found that most such children have high IQ and practical knowledge, which if channelised properly can yield results. The curriculum emphasises on acquiring basic skills..

“ Books in use are especially designed by the State Council for Research and Training (SCRT), the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) and the project office of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan ( SSA),” informed Negi.

The schools that selected under the programme are: Sneha in Govindgarh (Kanwali road) with 117 children on roll in 2007-08 and 47 this year so far; Nanhi Duniya (Chander road); Vidya Mandir School (Balmiki Basti) with 34 children enrolled this year 34; Dayanand Vedic Junior High School (Lakshman Chowk) with 39 children and Akhil Bhartiya Ashram at Saraswati, Soni Marg, with 20 children on roll.

Despite several top-notch public and private schools in the city, none volunteered for the programme.

“We would like to involve as many schools as possible and are waiting for a favourable response from these schools,” said Negi.

“The problem that we face is one of retaining these children in schools. Some quit early and they have to be identified and brought back,” informed Negi.

On an average, the cost towards bringing a child back to school is Rs 3,000 per year.

This included school fee, uniform, books, stationery and a schoolbag.

The amount is pai to the school in three installments.



City has its own Easy Riders
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
With enormous inverted forks and tons of shining chrome, this bike is a pure visual delight. Its polished look can only be seen while it is in motion.

We are talking about a superbly customised bike designed and made by Tushar and Vikrant Chaudhary a few years back.

Tushar, an MBA graduate, and Vikrant, who runs his father's school in Dehradun, hit the idea of making the

“ Indian Chopper ”. The inspiration came from the famous “ American Choppers ” and the creative genius of the “ Orange County Choppers.”

When they had started out on the venture, the duo had decided ona beauty on the lines of the “American Choppers” using Indian ingredients as far as possible, but which could also be pressed into service for everyday use. "We don't believe in racing and sports bikes. Our interests lie in cruisers," said Vikrant.

Vikrant and Tushar, close friends, worked together for three months, scouring the Internet for chopper design before shortlisting the “must have” brief for the look their choppers sport.

“ We also zeroed in on the vital bits, which we could cannibalise from existing bikes available in the junkyard ,” said Vikrant, adding that it took almost 14 months to complete the task.

“ The first thing I did was to purchase a Royal Enfield because I required a powerful 500cc engine. Then we got suspension bits, the tyres and rims and the side stand, from Bangkok. A proper double-cradle frame was chosen”.

Vikrant said it was Bitto, who runs a workshop near Dehradun, who hammered into shape the petrol tank and stylised mud guards and battery covers.

The duo visited Delhi every now and then to hold talks with Onkar, a professional motorcycle customiser. “ As the parts started trickling in from Bangkok, the frame started taking shape with locations for suspension mounts finalised, the dip in the chassis perfected for the all-important saddle height and that laid-back chopper look espoused by the film Easy Rider,” said Vikrant.

“But then what is a cruiser without chrome? From the big headlight to the foot pegs, everything was liberally dipped in chrome. On a bright sunny day, the shine gives a beautiful look to the machine,” said Vikrant.

“ We were fedup seeing cheesy, cheap modifications on Indian bikes and wanted to do something bizarre. The inspiration came from the American Choppers.

“ We wanted to tell the world that making beauties like these doesn't always mean shelling out lakhs.”

“ It was good aesthetic sense blended with fine craftsmanship that produced the beauty.The dream bike cost us around Rs 2.5 lakh.” Now, Vikrant wishes to make a bike with three tyres.

Expert Talk

Everyone who sees the bike, first thinks it must be imported, such is the quality of work and attention to detail. Sitting on the bike for the first time takes you by surprise. Driving such a massive machine takes getting used to it, but the attention it grabs on the road makes up for it

Once you get used to the seat, it's a delight cruising the roads



Protesting guards not to allow opening of parks
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
While guards are adamant to thwart forest department plans of opening Corbett Reserve and the Rajaji National Park tomorrow, forest authorities are looking for alternative arrangements to ensure the same.

The guards’ stir, which has put the opening of both these parks in jeopardy, has further intensified with a large number of forest guards from other areas of Kumaon trooping in at Corbett to ensure success of their agitation.

The Forest Guards Association office-bearers in Dehradun, under the leadership of their president Mayamohan Kandwal, left for Ramnagar this morning to ensure closure of Corbett.

Significantly, it’s a tough time for Corbett authorities as both the Uttarakhand forest minister and tourism minister are expected to be present at the opening of Corbett.

Meanwhile, authorities are geared up to ensure that the opening is uninterrupted. “While looking for alternative arrangements, we are also in touch with the district administration,” Vinod Singhal, director of Corbett National Park said. He was also hopeful that the outcome of the negotiations would be favourable.

On the other hand, the association members have decided to thwart opening of Rajaji National Park at Chila tomorrow. It has decided to ensure closure of Lachchiwala Forest Resort as well.

Notably, the guards’ association is demanding pay scales based on recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. 



Weeklong celebrations at Shemrock
Tribune News Service

Dehradun November 14
Several functions were held in schools all over the state to mark the birth anniversary of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru that is observed as children’s day.

In a week-long celebrations, Shemrock kidsland school (Dalanwala), organised various competitions to mark the Chaildren’s day celebration. The centre of attraction schoolteacher Alpika Sharma who was dressed up as Chacha Nehru. Children presented roses to her.

Next on the list was a free health check-ups for children conducted by Dr. Geeta Khanna, Child Specialist, CMI, Dehradun held at the School Campus.

There was a Clay modeling competition on 10th Nov and the winners were:

MONT-I A: 1st/Samriddhi Joshi/2ndJanvi Sharma

MONT-I B: 1st-Sanya Sehgal/ 2nd-Vardaan Gupta

MONT-II A: 1st - Ishita Goyal , 2nd - Abhimanyu Rana

MONT II B: 1st- Saliha Siddique, 2nd - Adi Anand Jain

There was a painting competition on 11th which had the following winners:

MONT-I A: 1st/ Ansh Mahavar / 2nd-Redima Gupta 3rd- Janvi Sharma

MONT-I B: 1st- Anshika Grewal/ 2nd- Taruvar Chaudhary/ 3rd - Aryan Khanna

MONT-II A: 1st - Pari Bhatnagar, 2nd- Kshitig Negi, 3rd- Abhimanyu

MONT II B: 1st - Nandini Rawat , 2nd- Udita Chauhan , 3rd- Medansh

Shemrock Prince and Princess contest was a big hit and enthralled one and all.

The winners were :

Shemrock Prince: Karan Raj Rana

Shemrock Princess: Sanya Sehgal

Best Smile: Vanshika Sehgal

Longest Hairs: Pari Bhatnagar

Best Dressed: Geetanjili

Most Confident: Anshika Grewal

Special Talent: Udit Chaudhary for Mimickry



Teachers regale kids with cultural show
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
B.S. Negi Mahila Pravidhik Prashikshan Sansthan celebrated Children Day in a different way this year. The residents, students, of different age groups of Rajkiya Bal Niketan (Kishore Grah) and Bal Vanita Ashram were invited to participate in various competitions like solo dance, group dance, group song, poem recitation, solo song etc. 

The chief guest for the programme Sandhya Vats distributed prizes to the winners and other participants. Principal Om P. Suyan appreciated the efforts of students for taking initiative for a social cause and also wished that the students would progress manifold in their respective fields to become great achievers. She also wished and hoped the students to be independent in life that they would organise similar programmes in future. The teachers presented a cultural programme.



District Athletics Meet
Coaches rue lack of participation
Vishal Thakur

Dehradun, November 14
The poor participation by schools, especially government schools, in the 63rd District Athletics Meet that concluded at Maharana Pratap Sports College recently, has left the coaches a worried lot. Usually, around 1500 athletes participate in this meet but this time the number has come down to half.

“For producing good athletes, healthy competition is necessary but it is unfortunately lacking here in Dehradun,” rued Dilip Singh, a Sport Authority of India (SAI) coach. Many government schools did not turn up for the meet, resulting in lesser competition this time despite a circular being issued by the authorities.

The Nagar Shiksha Adhikari, Indramani Badoni, attributed this to lack of facilities in government schools. “Some schools do not have grounds. Hence, instead of participating in athletic meet, these schools take part in Kho kho and Kabbadi competitions,” he said.

According to veterans, a lot of young athletes warming up in various grounds in Dehradun was a common sight a few years back. “The public schools have good facilities at their disposal and they could play an important role in promoting the sport.

The schools here would do well to follow Germany’s example, where a child’s interest in any sport is a precondition for admission to a school,” added Dilip Singh.

“There should be more competitions in athletics to ensure greater participation,” said Manoj Sharma, athletics coach at Maharana Pratab Sports College, Raipur. 



Uttarakhand, Delhi clinch league matches
Vishal Thakur

Dehradun, November 14
Uttrakhand and Delhi won their respective league matches on the first day of the 10th Little League National Baseball Championship which got underway at Rangers ground here today.

In its first match, Uttarakhand registered a thumping victory over their rival Uttar Pradesh by 10-0. Uttarakhand batted first and pilled eight runs in their first inning. Uttar Pradesh failed to score in their first inning and lost their wicket at score of zero.

Uttarakhand added two more runs to their first innings score and set a victory target of 10 runs for Uttar Pradesh but later failed to open its account as its team bundled out for zero.

In its second match Uttarakhand proved as a tough team for Punjab as well and defeated it with 10 runs. Punjab was all out for zero.

In other matches Delhi defeated Chhatisgarh 10-0, Orissia beat MP by 2-1, Haryana beat West Bengal and Delhi outplayed Maharashtra 6-0. 



First Person
My love affair with The Tribune
Raj Kanwar

I must have been born with a newspaper in hand, for ever since I remember, I always read one newspaper or the other.

In Lahore, my birthplace, I was the first in the family to greet the Tribune early in the morning as the delivery boy dropped a copy into our compound, where I invariably slept under a mosquito net during sultry summer nights.

My father would, later at breakfast, make me read loudly two or three news stories from the paper to teach me the correct pronunciation or meanings of words not commonly used.

He would also make me read a couple of small news items from the Urdu Milap, and then ask me to translate those into English.

When I reached the age of 12, stories about the Quit India movement dominated the Tribune pages; those greatly influenced my impressionable mind, and I became a devoted follower of JP, who was then imprisoned and tortured in the Lahore Fort before his release in 1945.

Reading and writing are natural twins, and gradually, I began writing small essays on common school subjects like "My Train Journey", "My Summer Vacation" or "A House on Fire". Though the subjects were commonplace in Class VIII and IX, I tried and succeeded in making these essays refreshingly different. My father was delighted; his earlier coaching was bearing fruit.

And in 1948, when I joined DAV College in Dehradun, I continued writing essays with a vengeance, graduating into more serious subjects. My class notes on civics, and later on political science won the approbation of teachers and were often read out in class.

My fellow-students, both boys and girls, eagerly sought my "notes". Unfortunately, there were no copying machines those days, otherwise I could have made a fortune selling photocopies of my notes.

This instant recognition became my passport to bigger achievements in later years in college, culminating in my election as president of the students’ union in 1952-53, my final year in MA.

Also, I became the natural choice for editor of the college magazine and it was, perhaps, for the first and last time that the magazine published three quarterly issues each academic year during the three years I edited it.

It was at that time that I became a regular writer of "Letters To the Editor". We read both Hindustan Times and The Tribune. The latter, in fact, was an addiction with both father and son, and I often surrendered to my father's longer addiction, and happily allowed him in the first read of the Tribune. My letters to those worthy editors were on serious subjects of politics and current affairs. At one time, there was almost a letter a week. In that way not only readers, but also editors of those newspapers became familiar with my name.

I also started receiving personal letters from those who shared and endorsed my views. Among them were stalwart of the Praja Socialist Party Asoka Mehta and Nath Pai.

It was at that time that Surendra Mohan, well-known socialist ideologue, became my friend, and shifted from Ambala to Dehradun to do his master's in sociology. And we became comrades in the Praja Socialist Party and Samajwadi Yuwak Sabha.

Things thereafter happened thick and fast and my journalistic career got a flying start.

J. Natrajan, a much respected editor of The Tribune, which was then published from Ambala, asked me to meet him. I look a bus to Saharanpur and then to Ambala and duly presented myself in the office of the Tribune.

I sent a chit to the venerable editor, which merely stated "Raj Kumar Kanwar, Dehradun" and was promptly called in.

As I entered Natrajan's office, he looked at me as if perplexed and asked me to wait outside since he was to see someone from Dehradun. I then introduced myself.

Natrajan (may his soul rest in peace) was momentarily tongue-tied. Regaining composure, he explained that he had imagined me to be a much older a person. "Sir, I am all of 22 years old." I paused and then added: "Sir, I enjoy reading and also passionately believe in whatever stance I take".

And thus I became the Dehradun stringer of the paper. When the Dalai Lama came to Mussoorie in 1959, I requested the then editor Prem Bhatia to depute a special correspondent for coverage.

He declined. "What are you there for? Surely not for district news alone!” he retorted. I think my story that day was the first lead in the Tribune.

Now with the publication of the Uttarakhand edition of The Tribune, I get another opportunity to renew my ties with the newspaper. My life has turned full circle, at age 78.

—The writer is a senior freelance journalist



Minister creates a flutter, flays his govt at hospital function
He is Koshiyari’s man, claim sources
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
Much to the shock of his ministerial colleagues, Uttarakhand agriculture minister Trivender Singh Rawat yesterday minced no words in condemning the state’s declining medical education standards.

Taking a dim view of the medical education apparatus was being run in the state, the minister said it was on the brink of collapse. “Despite government claims, the medical education system, be it the Uttarakhand Forest Hospital Trust Medical College or Government Medical College, Srinagar, there seems to be no effort to raise the standard of education,” said the minister.

He was speaking at a stone laying ceremony of a building complex at Doon Hospital. Also present was Uttarakhand health minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who does not hold the portfolio of health education. The latter is with the Chief Minister.

“It was Rawat who had questioned the Congress-led N.D Tiwari government’s handing over the functioning of the Haldwani hospital to bureaucrats and fought a court case.

Now, his own government is following in the footsteps of the previous regime and has not changed trust members. So the anger of the minister is justified,” said a doctor, pleading anonymity. A section in the BJP said the minister was close to the group led by former Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and was peeved at as his leader having been shunted out of state politics.



Doon Hospital
Foundation stone of new complex laid
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
Uttarakhand health minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank yesterday laid the foundation stone of a new building complex at the Doon Hospital.

Speaking on the occasion he said efforts are on to increase facilities for the patients.

“We will be increasing the bed capacity to 1,000 in the coming years, which would help outstation patients,” he said.

While commenting on the ongoing agitation of government doctors, he said the matter was being accorded top priority but the final call had to be taken by the finance minister and the State Pay Commission.

Later, doctors led by Dr D.P Joshi, general secretary of Prantiya Chikitsa Evam Swasthaya Sewa Sangh, presented a charter of demands to the health minister. They implored that the government found a way out at the earliest so that the patients did not have to suffer more. 



People who fought for statehood feel ignored
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
The general secretary of Uttarakhand Andolankari Sanyukt Parishad Vipul Nautiyal, while addressing a press conference here yesterday, said people who fought for statehood and went to jail have been given all the credit and the rest remain totally ignored.

He alleged that majority of them are still fighting for their rights for employment, reservation and senior citizen rights. “So far a large number of agitationists have been deprived of pensions. People who have sacrificed their lives should be identified in society and at the same time given employment at the Central and state level,” charged Ganesh Dangwal, convener of the parishad.

The members said they had a lot of hope from Chief Minister B.C. Kanduri, but now they feel cheated. “We thought the CM will do something constructive for us. At the time of election, we were promised pension and employment to our youth but today the scenario is dreadful,” said Dangwal.

“I am an illiterate widow. My son also died recently. But till now I haven’t received any pension,” said 75- year-old Rahmati Devi, an active statehood agitationist.

“We want that the government should fulfil our genuine demands or else we will endlessly fight for our rights,” said Ganesh Dangwal.



Forest dept tops RTI rating
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 14
The office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand, has excelled in the implementation of the Right to Information Act, scoring 25 out of 27 points, standing first among 76 departments surveyed by the Uttarakhand Information Commission.

Significantly,Women Empowerment and Child Development is placed second followed by Sericulture in the third position. Accounts, Power Corporation, Swajal Project, Social Welfare, Public Works, Tourism Development Board, and Transport Commissioner are in the fourth to 10th positions. Rural Engineering Services ranked 76 is at the bottom. Panchayati Raj, Other Backward Castes Commission, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission too have delivered poor results.

The commission had evaluated 76 government departments in their efforts towards implementing the RTI Act. It had laid down certain criteria for the same.

While a point each was awarded to the department that had opened a facilitation centre for the RTI, five points were for submission of the monthly progress report to the commission. Likewise, five points were for the department manual.

Further, there were points for factors like training, nomination of PIOs and appellant officers, registration of applications, use of requisite forms, installing information boards and upkeep of documents.

Significantly, the Society for Participatory Research in Asia, a voluntary organisation, had conducted a survey in 10 states of the country and its report entitled “Accessing Information under RTI: Citizens’ Experiences in Ten States” found the Uttarakhand Information Commission’s performance highly commendable. 



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