Soon, bypass through Rajaji
Sandeep Rawat
Tribune News Service

Haridwar, January 25
The long wait for the re-construction of the hill bypass road through Rajaji National Park here will soon end as the apex court-appointed committee has given a green signal for its re-construction though with some restrictions.

The road will be used during mega events like Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh and other holy occasions such as the Somvati Amavasya which is scheduled for January 26.

Forest warden IS Siddiqui said, “The hill bypass road had been used in previous Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh Melas but this time, it has become crucial as the number of vehicles has manifold increased. With the apex court’s committees recommendations, due care has been taken so that animal movement doesn’t suffer.”

The Supreme Court has recently given permission with some directions to re-construct the bypass road. Also, a patch of about 200 metres, which is in dilapidated condition, is to be repaired. The Uttarakhand government had already sanctioned Rs 3.46 crore for the re-construction of the road. The empowered committee of the Supreme Court had earlier done a survey of the bypass area that falls in the Rajaji Park National and examined all aspects before recommending its re-construction.

Environmentalists had confronted the project to re-construct the bypass sighting disturbance and threat to animals living in Rajaji National Park as a large part of it goes through the restricted park area and may pose a threat to the animals.

“The bypass crosses the wildlife corridor and species such as spotted deer, leopard and elephants are seen in abundance in this area. So the traffic movement has to be very controlled so that the animals don’t get affected,” opined Dr Ritesh Joshi, a researcher working on the behaviour of elephants in Rajaji.

The Public Works Department had earlier sought permission from the Supreme Court’s empowered committee for re-construction of the bypass road. The committee chaired by Mahendra Vyas had surveyed the area and given its consent for the re-construction after taking all parameters into account.

The bypass road will be 6.5 km long and will have two gates on both sides. The gates are to protect the animal habitat and to allow their unhindered movement before dawn and after dusk.Speed brakers and rumble strips will be laid so that animals don’t get crushed under the wheels of high-speed traffic.

Also, workers involved in the re-construction will be ferried to and from the site every day and wont be allowed to stay in the area temporarily.

The usage of the bypass can be done only during Kumbh, Ardh Kumbh and on special occasions like holy baths. The permission will be given only by the Rajaji National Park director.The work on the bypass will start as soon as the technical permission to the project is given by the Uttarakhand Chief Wildlife Warden.

PWD officials said that they would start the work after all technicalities are over. The budget has been sanctioned and the road would be completed on time.



Pranab to look into Capt Chawla’s case
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 25
Diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Dehradun resident Captain Jaspreet Singh Chawla, who was arrested along with a colleague in Korea, have got a boost with an assurance by Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee to look into the case.

The assurance regarding stepping up the diplomatic efforts was conveyed to former Dehradun mayor and general secretary All-India Mahila Congress Manorama Dobriyal Sharma who had sent a written representation to the minister on January 3.

According to the letter received by Sharma yesterday, the minister assured that he was getting the matter related to the release of Captain Chawla looked into.

In her representation, Sharma had requested the minister to intervene in the matter to ensure the early release of Chawla. She also highlighted the agony the affected family was passing through.

Manjeet Singh Chawla, father of Captain Chawla, said that the Supreme Court of Korea had granted bail to his son and his colleague on January 15 but both were not allowed to leave the country.

Captain Chawla and chief officer Syam Chetan of the super tanker ‘Hebei Spirit’ were sentenced to jail for 18 and eight months respectively after a court verdict. Their ship, anchored safely in South Korea, was hit by a tug-towed crane barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries resulting in an oil spill.

Since their detention, Indian and international maritime community has been supporting the case of both Indian seafarers. The shipping industry representatives, in a meeting with union minister TR Baalu on December 17, 2008, had provided details of the case to him.



Mendicant nuisance at Tapkeshwar temple
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

A view of Tapkeshwar temple in Dehradun. Dehradun, January 25
The legendary Tapkeshwar cave temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, at Garhi Cantt, which is under the upkeep of ‘sadhus’ belonging to Juna Akhara has been virtually taken over by mendicants, much to the annoyance of thousands of devotees who frequent the temple every day.

Pestering ‘fakirs’ refuse to budge from the benches that have been installed for the visitors alongside the stairs leading up to the temple. But, the cleanliness of the place is unparalleled, which assumes more importance due to the daily rush of devotees and offerings made. A fair held here each year on ‘shivratri’ attracts even a larger number of people.

Legend has it that Dronacharya, the famous teacher of Pandavs, had meditated here and so had his son Ashwathama. And after Lord Shiva bestowed his blessings on Ashwathama, milk began to ooze out from the site where he had meditated. Since then, the area is known as Tapkeshwar.

Although the liquid has stopped trickling down now, the devout continue to throng the temple. What sets it apart is the fact that the natural formation and subsequent carvings have lent a perfect symmetry to the place. Below the temple, flows river Tons that is filled to the brim during monsoon.

In recent years, two temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Goddess Durga have been constructed here. A statue of Dronacharya has also been installed nearby. However, increased construction is also marring the beauty of the place. Says Maya Giri Maharaj of Juna Akhara and incharge of the temple: “From a small cave to several temples, now Tapkeshwar is a different place altogether. But what worries me is increased construction, mainly shops, which is marring the sanctity of the place.”

Commenting on the menace created by the beggars, he said, “Most of them are destitutes who have made Tapkeshwar temple their permanent home. Others are here due to the approaching ‘shivratri’ festival.”

On the other hand, IG Garhwal MA Ganapathy said, “Checking encroachments is up to the municipal corporation, but we will initiate steps to curb the menace of beggars.” Interestingly, albeit the state police had initiated a move to have cops at important tourist destinations since last year, no policemen could be seen near Tapkeshwar temple.



Ghalib’s affair with Mussoorie whisky 
Sanjay Tamta

Ghalib'Laa pila de saakiya, paimana paimane ke baad'…Mirza Asadulla Ghalib said these famous lines in 'high spirits'. The great poet was indeed very fond of fine liquor.

And to be at his creative best, Ghalib had always longed for the best of the ales that came to Meerut cantonment all the way from the old brewery in Mussoorie.

One of the best spirits of the world was brewed at the MacKinnon's brewery in Mussoorie, which was supplied to the cantonments of Meerut, Ludhiana, Jullundhar and Jabalpur. The maverick, Mirza Ghalib, whenever he had money, travelled on a pony from Balli Maran in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, all the way to the Meerut Cantonment to fetch a full stock of his favorite Mussoorie whisky. "Mussoorie ki hawa hi nahi paani me bhi nasha hai (not only the air but the water of Mussoorie is also intoxicating)," historian Gopal Bhardwaj quotes Ghalib in his accounts.

In 1829, Sir Henry Bohle started the old brewery on the outskirts of Mussoorie on the Mussoorie-Haathipaon road. He was licenced to make beer only but as his beer had become the first choice among mild and hardcore drinkers alike, he started brewing whisky also, for which he didn't had a licence.

When Frederick young, the superintendent of Dehradun and Mussoorie, objected to the whisky business in 1850, Bohle reasoned that geographically his brewery lies in Tehri Garhwal and not Dehradun-Mussoorie jurisdiction.

The cart Mackenzie road was a dirt-track through a thick forest which was made to connect the brewery with the Mussoorie-Dehradun highway. Huge wooden barrels were supplied on the cart Mackenzie road, which is a fine metal road today, and a hot favorite among Doonites looking out for peaceful places.

The brewery was closed down in 1834, reopened for a period of four years and was again shut down. In 1850, Sir John Mackinnon, the first president of the Mussoorie municipal board and the brother-in-law of Sir Bohle, started the brewery again and renamed it as MacKinnon's brewery. Sir Mackinnon was a writer, philosopher, educationist and a great human being, and did a lot for his beloved Mussoorie.

The mesmerising ruins of the brewery can be seen beside the Lynndale estate on the Mussoorie-Haathipaon road and remains of the empty bottles can still be found in the jungle around the brewery.

Later, brewers like the Crown and the Whymper also built breweries around the Barlowgunj area near Mussoorie.

(The writer is a freelance journalist from Mussoorie)



India needs to invest in health care, says expert 
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 25
Dr Viveka Kumar, MD, DM, Max Heart and Vascular said that India lacks uniform health care facilities and needs to ensure that enough investment is made in this direction, as the number of cases related to heart diseases are rising in the country.

The Dehradun Chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) has invited him as a part of its Continuing Medical Education initiative (CME). He is expected to update doctors here on the current medical advancements that have been made in the field of coronary diseases.

Dr Viveka said, “To provide uniform health facilities the central government should allocate 12 per cent of the GDP towards health infrastructure development.”

Commenting on the bypass surgery that was performed on the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, Dr Viveka said, “It is a routine surgery and he will be able to recover in a weak or two. The bypass surgery performed on PM earlier adopted a procedure where heart was fixed through the vein and now with the medical advancement the procedure followed is arterial which lasts longer than the previous one. However, the minimum life span of a bypass is 15 years.” 



The magic of cane 
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 25
Cane for its versatility and lightweight not only makes it apt for outdoor purpose but is also in great demand for indoor decoration. Cane furniture for its unique style and durability is doing a good business in the city. There are some old famous shops that offer cane furniture at the most economical range.

“We have sofas, chairs, center table, hammock, fruit basket, mirror stand, racks and small and big size stools. The specialty of cane over wooden furniture is that its weather proof, termite proof, light weight and moreover it lasts for years and can be easily adjusted in flats or small living rooms,” said Arvind Kumar Jain, owner of a cane shop.

Cane furniture being easy to maintain and economical can be decorated with latest kind of upholstery which gives the same effect as any other wooden furniture, Arvind added.

Nowadays vastu and feng shui are being practiced by large number of people and both these ancient subjects advocate the use of natural material as it enhances the flow of positive energy besides creating a refreshing look. “People who admire this handicraft and value this old age craftsmanship are using it for its durability and light weight. Made out of tough and sturdy material cane takes a lot of weathering and can be easily washed as per the requirement,” said Arvind.

Besides versatile, cane furniture is affordable which makes it popular. “Cane mainly originates from Assam and Tripura, which is handcrafted in different kinds of furniture and supplied in India and abroad. In Dehradun, you can find it best in Bareilly, which is the main market for cane in north India,” said Arvind.

A sofa set in cane starts from Rs 5,000 and goes up to Rs 25,000. “Cane has become a part of our lifestyle. And cane products like lampshades, partitions, tablemats, mirrors and panels have a good response in metros,” added Arvind Kumar Jain.



Rise in hospital deliveries
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 25
Cases of institutionalised delivery cases have seen a marked improvement in the last couple of years.

Official data indicates that the number of institutionalised deliveries reported in 2006-07 were 35,608. The number rose in 2007-08 to 60,000. Five years back, the number was only 20,000.

“We can’t put a finger on one particular reason for the encouraging numbers. There are a hosts of reasons: the health infrastructure has improved and both state and central programmes have helped spread awareness among women on the need to undergo delivery at hospitals and health centres to ensure the safety of the mother and child,” says Dr Prem Lata Joshi, DG, health.

Emergency 108 ambulance services have managed to penetrate remote areas, with help only a call away. “We were able to ensure that 144 children were delivered in hospitals. There are several villages located away from the main road. The ambulance services come as a boon to them,” says CEO Anup Nautiyal.



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