Traffic Story: Parking to get multi-storey
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 19
With few open spaces in the city, motorists continue to face parking woes and harassment at the hands of the police for unlawful parking along roads.

While the Dehradun Municipal Corporation is entrusted with the task of coming up with adequate parking, the Mussoorie Dehra Development Authority also manages a few of these. The DMC operates four major parkings within the city limits-the parking area at Clock Tower, Deendayal Upadhyaya Park, Darshan Lal Chowk and Cannaught Place.

But these parkings are not enough to tackle the large traffic volume in the city. Besides, the corporation is moving at a snail’s pace regarding the much-needed multi-level parking.

The corporation plans a multi-storey parking at Dilaram Bazaar on the main Rajpur road. Another is proposed at the Veterinary Hospital campus at Dispensary road.

“We plan a multi-storey parking at Dilaram, Rajpur road,” said Sushil Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, DMC, adding that the Dilaram parking would be one of its kinds in Dehradun.

Another civic body, MDDA, has also set up parking lots. It operates one of the biggest in the city located in close proximity with Clock Tower. Those visiting Paltan Market prefer parking their vehicles here.

The old PWD guest house was razed by the authorities some time back. The open space is now being used for parking.

The authority plans Dun Haat here with a modern parking and showrooms.

The proposed Dispensary road parking will be spread over an acre and holds much importance being located in one of the most busy market areas.

“A fast-growing city like Dehradun needs an effective parking plan,” says councillor Abdul Aziz.

The rising number of three and two-wheelers has compounded the problem. Now, it is essential that parking infrastructure in the city is strengthened. Statistics with the RTO indicate a steady rise in the number of cars registered in Dehradun in the past one decade.

As many as 2,221 cars were registered with the Dehradun Regional Transport Office in 2000-01. This increased to 2,199 cars in 2001-02, 2,541 in 2002-03, 3,581 in 2003-04, 4,272 in 2004-05, 5,007 in 2005-06, 4,346 in 2006-07 and 7,600 in 2007-08. Ditto for scooters and motorcycles. As many as 10,433 two-wheelers were registered in 2000-01. The following year the number went up to 12,140. The number stood at 14,084 during 2002-03, 15,263 during 2003-04, 17,452 in 2004-05, 19,276 in 2005-06, 22,286 in 2006-07 and 20,913 during 2007-08.

“Easy loans and new showrooms have whetted the Doonites appetite for cars. But where is space to park cars,” asks Sandeep, of Shri Om Motors, Clock Tower.

A housewife, Meena Purohit, says:

“There are few parking facilities in the city and most are ill-maintained”. The motorist are forced to park their vehicles at the roadside, further aggravating the problem. Apart from the owners facing penalty, the vehicles parked on roads run the risk of being stolen.

Umesh Dewan
Dehradun, January 19
The traffic police in working in close coordination with the district administration to chalk out a plan for parking. Admitting that lack of parking space is the main reason for the traffic chaos, Dehradun SP (Traffic) NA Bharne saya: “We are identifying government buildings in commercial areas which stand unutilised. We intend to develop these buildings as parking lots.”

He says the drive to tow away vehicles parked on paths meant for pedestrians has been intensified.

“We are contemplating heavy fine on violators. Shopkeepers indulging in encroachments outside their shops causing parking problems for shoppers will be taken to task.

“A heavy penalty of Rs 10,000 will be imposed on the erring shopkeepers,” he says.

Bharne claims it is only a matter of months when parking woes in the city will be eliminated. District Magistrate Amit Singh Negi says the administration is serious about tackling the parking issue and efforts are afoot to set up parking lots. — TNS



Ruthless rakes
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Roorkee, January 19
In the absence of any check, traffic rules are openly being flouted in this “education hub” of the state. Drivers without helmets, underage drivers and triple-riders on two-wheelers are a common sight here.

With the growing number of underage drivers, there has also been a spurt in the number of accidents. Many schoolchildren, who do not even possess a trainee licence, can be seen riding swanky bikes and scooters.

“These underage drivers are a virtual nuisance on roads and many of them indulge in rash driving. Besides, most of them are not aware of traffic rules, which poses great danger,” said Adesh Saini, a local BJP leader.

Ravinder Kumar, a local resident, alleged that the police was turning a blind eye to the situation. “It is difficult to understand why the cops do not challan these violators.Many a time it is seen that violators are let-off after they pay a bribe,” he alleged.

“We should realise that traffic rules are meant for our own safety. People should not ride two-wheelers without helmets, parents should discourage their underage wards from using vehicles and police should impose hefty fines on violators,” said Dr Rakam Singh, director-general, Institute of Management Studies.

SP (Rural) Ajay Joshi said a drive would soon be launched to check underage driving. “A special drive would soon be started to curb the nuisance. We are also planning to rope in school authorities to educate children about the risk involved in underage driving.” 



Blinded by superstition
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 19
With a large number of blind people in the state but donors are very few, largely because of superstition and lack of awareness.

Records with Natioanl Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) show that only 2,000 persons from the state have pledged their eyes for donation and just 90 are from Dehradun. The total number of blind persons in the state is 84,668.

The health authorities believe besides lack of awareness, superstitions keep people away from donation. “Most people believe that if they will donate their eyes, the will be born blind in their next birth. There many other superstitions,”, said Dr Harish Chandra, in charge of State Blindness Control Programme (DG office).

“ There is a huge gap between those who need eyes and those who actually come forward for donation. People forget how easy and noble it is to donate eyes,” added Dr Chandra.

There are only two Eye Banks in the state (one private and other government) where corneal transplantation can be carried easily. “We have facility at the Doon Hospital, but it can be of immense help if there are mobile units as implants can be done within 6 hours of donation and it can prove problematic if we have to operate in hills,” said Dr RK Pant, CMS Doon Hospital.

However, in 2002, there is an example of nobility when Sandeep Chawla of Gadarpur decided to donate the eyes of his seven-day-old son’s eyes, after his death. This case generated immense curiosity but records show that nobody had turned up for eyes donation since then. Dr Harish Chandra said the sight of corneally blind could be restored through corneal transplantation and the only way to obtain the invaluable cornea is through donation.



Vultures are back at Rajaji 
Sandeep Rawat
Tribune News Service

A vulture sits atop a tree in Rajaji National Park in Haridwar.
A vulture sits atop a tree in Rajaji National Park in Haridwar. Tribune photo: Rameshwar

Haridwar, January 19
The vulture population in Rajaji National Park, which was almost on the verge of extinction during the last decade, has seen an improvement in the past four to five years.

According to data, there are a total of nine species of vultures in the entire country out of which five are found in Rajaji National Park. These include King Vulture, Eurasian Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, White-backed Vulture and Himalayan Griffon. Of these, the smallest is the Egyptian Vulture while the Himalayan Griffon is the biggest.

The White-backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) is already classified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in the year 2000. Two years later, it was also listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

In the Rajaji Park, studies on vultures have revealed that their population, especially after the Gujjars were relocated from the area and certain steps taken by the park authorities, has increased over the past few years. The study said human movement in the park was affecting the ecological cycle of vultures. The White-backed vulture, which was put in the threatened category by the Bird Life International Organisation, is now frequently seen.

However, only a decade ago vultures were vanishing fast, which was attributed to several factors by scientists. Chief among them was pesticides: It was found that since vultures feed on cattle, which sometimes have lethal levels of chemicals - including DDT, aldrien, dieldrin that are used for increasing milk yield - inside their bodies, it was indirectly affecting the vultures as well.

The scenario reached such a point that the government of India amended the Drugs and Cosmetics Act last year, to affirm the ban on diclofenac and thereby giving a boost to vulture conservation efforts in the country.

Secondly, the destruction of habitat and lack of food was cited as a reason. As the butchery industry begun to clean carcasses of all meat and dump just skeletons, vultures were deprived of food. Vultures also kept away due to increased habitation around the butcheries.

“Forest fires were also a reason behind their dwindling numbers as the vultures’ nests were burnt, depriving them of shelter,” said forest scientist Dr Ritesh Joshi. According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN), vultures were on the verge of extinction due to habitat destruction.

But now, experts feel that the sudden increase in the number of vultures inside Rajaji is due to restoration of the right ecological balance. “Also due to the huge left over food, which has also increased, vultures are thriving,” said Dr Ritesh.

Rajaji Park director SS Rassailly said the exact details of the number of vultures is yet to come, but it’s a good sign that their population is increasing.

Forest Warden IS Siddiqui said to ascertain the number of vultures is difficult, but its evident even to the naked eye that their numbers in the Park have increased.

Notably, vultures, being voracious scavengers, play an important role in the ecological cycle. By feeding on carcasses left in the open, they facilitate their decomposition and prevent outbreak of diseases, making them an indispensable ecological asset. 



Add some spice to life
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Home-made pickles are fresh and tastier. We have even got non-oily pickles of bitter gourd, gourd and lemon
Home-made pickles are fresh and tastier. We have even got non-oily pickles of bitter gourd, gourd and lemon — Avatar Krishan Sood, who is in pickle business

Dehradun, January 19
Tangy pickles not only make bland food tastier but even adds nutritious value if eaten in right proportion. Dehradun, the city better known for its bakery, has also got some old famous pickle shops which are offering authentic home-made pickles. With renowned pickle companies like Mothers pickle, MTR, Tops available in the market, a large number of people still want to have these home-maid pickles.

“Five years ago when I started my pickle business from home, I used to make only non-veg pickles from chicken, mutton, pork and fish but with demand coming in from vegetarians I started making veg pickels also,” said Avatar Krishan Sood, an ex-employee of UB Group who loves to make pickles and chutneys. Presently, I have 20 varieties in veg pickles, including mango, lemon, chillies, carrot, radish, tulip pickles with chutneys of apple, strawberry, mango and other seasonal fruits. Non-veg pickles are available for Rs 200 per kg and veg costs Rs 100,” said Avatar.

However, famous markets like Paltan Bazaar also offers unlimited variety of pickles and depending on the budget, taste and season, customers can pick pickles of their choice. “We have got 70 varieties of vegetables and fruits pickles. During winters people mostly prefer to take amla murraba or garlic pickles as it keeps body warm and is also good for digestion. The prize ranges from Rs 20 to Rs 100 per kg,” said Sushil Kumar Mittal, who runs Swadist Achar Bhandar from past 60 years.

“Where market pickles are costlier and has very limited variety, home-made pickles are fresh, tastier and has a wide range of varieties. We have even got non-oily pickles of bitter gourd, gourd and lemon. Whereas, for children we have got chilly garlic chutneys which can be eaten with sandwiches and parathas. My pickles are preferred by NRI’s and we even prepare pickles according to the customers’ choice and taste,” said Avatar Krishna Sood.

“I love home-maid pickles as my mother doesn’t know how to make them, I prefer to take from Paltan Bazaar because it’s fresh and tasty,” said Meenakshi Sharma, a student.

“I am in pickle business from past 20 years and people in Dehradun are very found of mixed pickle and they appreciate our work,” said Devendra Arora owner of Meenakshi Achars. “Chutneys, murrabas and pickles can be stored for one year and if eaten in right quantity some of these things are best for stomach ailments and even helps in digestion,” said Avatar Krishna Sood.



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