Village women ill-fed 
SMA Kazmi
Tribune News Service

Sick Facts
n A sample survey shows 80 pc village women and children are under-nourished
n As many as 95 pc women suffer from anaemia
n Most lack awareness on their health status
n Rise in infant mortality rate at 42 per 1,000 live births

Minister Speak

Uttarakhand Health Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank disagrees with the findings of the National Health Survey. “There is a vast difference between prevailing ground realties and the data shown by the survey. We are in the process of getting our own data on the health status of the people in the hills. The situation is much better as far as nutritional needs are concerned,” he claimed.

Dehradun, February 2
Although Uttarakhand has done well in immunisation, the performance of the state regarding the health of its citizens has come up for criticism by the 13th Finance Commission.

During an interaction with the state government and representatives of various political parties last week, the chairman of the commission, Dr Vijay L Kelkar, pointed out the parametres of development that required 
special attention.

Appreciating the achievements of the state in areas of literacy and immunisation, Dr Kelkar showed concern at the "alarmingly high proportion of women suffering from anaemia".

He expressed concern at the growing infant mortality rate (IMR) in the state. It was suggested that the state should consider a deeper analysis of the problem and adopt corrective measures.

According to the National Family Health Survey, 2005-06, the mortality rate is 42 per 1,000 births in Uttarakhand. This is higher than the estimate of 38 per 1,000 births in the region now comprising Uttarakhand in 1998-99.

Researchers say while there is a significant difference between rural and urban households regarding infant mortality rate, there is no specific difference between male and female child mortality.

Access to health services is one major issue as the state has a scattered population. More than 75 per cent of the population lives in villages and over 80 per cent of these villages have a population of less than 500.

Uttarakhand director-deneral of health services (DGHS) Dr Prem Lata Joshi said the immunisation record had improved over the years and now stood at 76 per cent. The emphasis was on proper survey of rural and remote areas.

A special programme on malnutrition had been started under which anaemia patients, particulrlay women and children, were being identified and treated. She pointed out that scattered population in far-flung areas remained an issue of major concern.

Due to geographical distances and tough hilly terrain, the health services have failed to reach people in remote areas. Besides, paucity of human resource is coming in the way of the Uttarakhand government coming to grips with the problem after ascertaining the ground situation.

Nutritional deficiency is a largely neglected sector and is pervasive in the inaccessible rural villages of the Himalayan region. In spite of many health drives, this problem has not been addressed adequately. The severely affected persons are primarily village women and children. Nutritional deficiencies in women may be attributed to their arduous lives in fields and home. They are unable to tend to to their children, affecting their health as well down 
the line.

A health survey by the Women Initiative of Self-Employment (WISE), a ‘s group in Dhokwala and Fathehgram villages near Dehradun revealed that more than 80 per cent of women and children were under- nourished.

“The review of health status in these two villages, as compared to those in the past, reveals that the overall health has sharply decreased in rural India. The factors bringing about such poor health status can be assigned to altered food habits, increasing drudgery of women’s work, environmental pollution, and under-utilisation of local, conventional, and non-conventional foods,” explained Dr Kiran Rawat of WISE.

Ironically, the mountain village areas are the worst- affected. It is mainly because of physical stress, poor nutrition and lack of awareness.

The health status of women and children was evaluated and it was found that 80 per cent of the population was undernourished. Consumption of iron sources was found to be very low and 95 per cent had low HB count. Deficiency of Vitamin A was also observed.

“This project proposed some initiative on improving the healthcare,” said Dr Rawat. The survey found that village women were mainly unaware of their health status and those who displayed some awareness had little or no option to set things right.



Men not whole either
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 2
As per a recent study, majority of the women are prone to health problems, related to their profession, but the study also shows that the condition of men is not so rosy either.

According to the study carried by Society of Pollution and Environment Conservation Scientists (SPECS) in Uttarakhand in association with National Council for Science and Technology Communication (GOI) have shown that 70 per cent of women in the state are suffering from worm infestation, malnutrition, anaemia, body aches, and deficiency of proteins. “As per the preliminary report of the study, 50 per cent of women and young girls are suffering from anaemia, back pains, hearing loss, chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, injuries, sight loss, osteoporosis and other occupational diseases,” said Dr Brijmohan Sharma, secretary, SPECS. The study is also carried in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Indian Institute of Occupation Health and DST were also associated with the study. At the end of the study the organization plans to take up remedial measures. Women engaged in agricultural activities come in direct contact with animals that gives rise to vector borne diseases. While manning traffic at the various Chowks in the city, health of traffic cops are at risk due to the direct exposure to harmful gases emitted by constantly moving vehicles. “You will find that traffic cops are inhaling poisonous gases as they are constantly exposed to pollution but no effort has been made to equip them with gears that would protect. As Doon is a ‘bowl shaped’ valley the pollutants do not move out but remain suspended therefore, more dagerous,” said Dr Sharma. Health is concerned with physical, mental and social

well-being and with the nature of work. “Respiratory problems, depression, eye problem, headache, body aches, poor concentration, sluggishness and tumors could take place due to unhealthy work environment,” said Dr SK Dave, ex director, Indian Institute of Occupational Health. During last decade the concept of occupations has gained ramifications. “The changed concept has been linked with scientific progress related to occupational health and safety and also with the changes in evolution of work and working environment. In the past, emphasis was on safety, now it is more on health and job satisfaction as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, said Dr Vijay Gambhir, a physiotherapist. However, against the backdrop of growing health risks related to occupations, government is yet to ensure safe working environment at the work places. “The frequency of occupational disease is much more than reported mainly due to the lack of awareness,” said Dr VD Sharma, former HoD, Veterinary Sciences, Micro Biology and Public Health, College of Veterinary Sciences GB Pant University, Pant Nagar.



Wetlands in oblivion 
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 2
Even as wildlife enthusiasts across the country observed International Wetland Day today, Uttarakhand, a state bestowed with some of the finest wetlands in the country, is still to find a place on the Wetland map of the country under the ‘Ramsar convention.

The state has a mix of both plain and hill topography and wetlands are situated both at the lower as well as higher altitudes, falling in natural and man-made categories. There are as many as 14 wetlands declared as important bird areas in the state. These include Assan, situated on the outskirts of Dehradun, Bhemgoda reservoir in Haridwar, Haripura and Bor Dam, Kalagarh, Nanakmata, Sohaswan and Tumaria Dam in Udham Singh Nagar district.

These are apart from natural wetlands at lower elevations including Mothronwla swamp, Gularghati swamp, the famous Jhilmil Jheel and Banganga natural wetlands.

Some wetlands that are located above the tree line in the alpine areas include Saptarshi Kund above Yamunotri, Ruinsara Tal (Govind Wildlife Sanctuary), Dodi Tal in Uttarakashi, Keda Tal near Gangotri, Arwa Tal near Gaumukh, Sahstra Tal on Uttarakhand-Tehri boundary, Masar Tal above Khatling glacier, Vasuki Tal ahead of Kedarnath and Satopanth Lake above Mana in Badrinath.

However, except Assan Conservation Reserve, these wetlands, which are home to some of the finest species of migratory birds, have been totally neglected. While Assan continues to be paradise for bird-watchers largely due to efforts of the Uttarakhand Yamuna Circle forest authorities, very little efforts have been made to promote other wetlands.

According to forest department sources, there are as many as 35 wetlands in the state that need immediate attention. Orthinologist Asad R Rahmani in his book “Potential and Existing Ramsar Sites in India” opines that some of these wetlands should be covered under the Ramsar convention.

Calling for a study of biodiversity values of some of the state’s wetlands, Rahmani asserts that such a study could bring Uttarakhand wetlands on equal footing with other Ramsar site wetlands of the country.



Negi plays the pied piper
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jeet Singh Negi
Jeet Singh Negi

Dehradun, February 2
In the era of the gramophone, as a child he grew up listening to KL Saigal’s songs in the distant Myanmar. The imprint stayed on and he became the first Garhwali singer to have cut a Garhwali songs album in 1949 for Young India Gramophone.

On turning 84 today, Jeet Singh Negi, a lyricist, playwright and folk singer, is busy rewriting his old compositions, enhancing their appeal for the younger generation.

“ I am adding lilting tunes to strike a chord with the youth, as the younger generation has hardly any interest in Garhwali songs. But we can make efforts to educate them about our rich folklore. I am working on the old song-drama of Jitu Bagarwal and Rami.

“These tales are told generation to generation and need to be narrated again with a new flavour to excite the interest of the youth so that they take to them instantly. So far, I have reworked on 100 songs,” said the indomitable Negi.

His learning began when he moved to Myanmar with his father, a surveryor with Burma Survey Party. Popular Saigal songs that he had heard on the gramophone back home helped him hone his skills. After World War II, the family shifted to Dehradun. Later his trips to Delhi and Mumbai helped him further improve his singing and writing prowess.

“I interacted with several lyricists and singers and at one point was so inspired by the Hindi cinema that I assisted in the making of two films, Khalifa and Choudwin Ki Raat.”

Success came bit by bit: “As it happens in Garhwali households, my mother and sisters would sing together and in my village (Pauri) women folk would sing together in the evenings. Singing sessions would begin on Makar Sankranti and end on Basant Panchmi.

Today popular singers render his compositions and he never seems to be perturbed with the paltry sum that he gets from music companies: “Most of our regional singers and composers do not get much. For a song, I receive between Rs 25000- Rs 30000. That’s okay by me,” said Negi.

At age 84, accolades and awards have come from all quarters. However, ask him about the role of the government in giving artists their due, especially when they are old, and his expression changes to grim.

“My well-wishers have helped me tide over difficult times but I am growing in years and my medical bills keep piling. I wish, there was some help from government quarters for artists like me who are in their twilight years” said Negi. 



Rajasthan Emporium ventures into clothing
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Rajasthan Emporium in Dehradun.
Rajasthan Emporium in Dehradun. A Tribune photograph

Dehradun, February 2
The state of Rajasthan has always attracted tourists for its historical monuments, rich food and vibrant culture. With flourishing tourism industry, Rajasthan has been actively involved in serving delicious food and creating ethnic clothes, which have acclaimed fame worldwide.

The fashion scenario keeps changing with the course of time but Rajasthani clothes still hold a very special place in the garment industry. Dehradun the city from past few years have ventured into almost every genre of clothing and is even offering some selected Rajasthani clothes.

But unlike these few shops Rajasthani emporium is one place where one can get every possible item of Rajasthan under one roof. With a large variety in clothes, the emporium also offers Rajasthani furniture, paintings, bags, bed sheets, jewelry, pickles, churans and suparis.

“Rajasthani emporium is definitely the right place for people who appreciate ethnic work of Rajasthan. I picked up cotton suits, tangy kair pickle, multi-coloured skirts and wrap around in various Rajasthani prints,” said Mehak, a college student.

“I started this emporium 23 years ago and over these years lot many shops have ventured into Rajasthani clothing but still we are the only one’s in the city who are offering genuine and reasonable Rajasthani items all under one roof,” said Anuradha Sharma, owner of Rajasthani emporium.

It has a large variety of beautiful block and bandani printed suits, bed sheets, kurtis, warm winter jackets, quilts. The emporium also offers and beautiful crafted lac jewellery to be worn on at all occasions. “With block prints we have got suits in bangru prints, shekawati prints with mirror work. Also our embroidered cushion covers and bedsheets are appreciated by my customers for its uniqueness and fine quality,” said Anuradha.

The emporium also has some Gujrati items also. The famous Gujrati shawls and lengha choli are available in vibrant colours. “Our Gujarati shawls are also doing a good business especially during Navaratras,” said Anuradha.

The emporium offers lightweight quilts in stuffs like cotton and velvet. It also offers popular Rajasthani puppets, stools, chairs and showpieces in terracotta and gem stones paintings.

“Number of brands and other local shops have started getting Rajasthani clothes but our aim is to sell these items at reasonable rates,” said Anuradha.



Framed moments
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 2
The best way to keep your memorable moments in front of your eyes always is to capture them and then showcase them in beautiful photo frames. Beautiful pictures placed in a corner of your home not only decorates your house but also spreads the warmth of relationships all over. There’s an array of photo frames available in the market for all occasions and its reasonable prize makes it a perfect gift item too.

“Photo frames are a hot selling gift item and moreover so much variety at our store provides choice to the customers,” said Pramod Chawla, owner Archie’s gallery.

At Archie’s gallery all sizes of photo frames are available in metal, wood, glass, plastic, silver coated and polystone material. Being economical these unique photo frames comes handy as a gift item and even lends beauty to the favourite corner of your home.

“Starting from Rs 50 to Rs 1500 we have got photo frames in all shapes,” said Pramod. There is a photo frome for every occasion, he added.

Fabindia, the brand famous for its tradional cotton garments also offers some fine pieces of photo frames. Available in bright colours, the wooden, hand made paper and leather frames are unusual and sturdy. Frames are available for Rs 185 and goes upto Rs 500. “Our wooden frames our really in demand and because it’s reasonable people pick both single and double framed pieces of it,” said Payal, garments in charge at Fabindia.

Wishes is another well-known brand in the market specialising in glass photo frames. The ceramic work with floral designs can be gifted to a family and friends. “Starting from Rs 80 to Rs 300 we have got glass photo frames to celebrate every relation,” said salesgirl at Art Home gift shop.

For those who want something exquisite, crystal and silver coated frames are a perfect bet. Made out of fine quality its classy look adds style in any home. The range of these frames starts around Rs 450 and goes up to Rs 3000. “People even love to spend on crystal frames because even if they are expensive, its design and appearance is unique and beautiful,” said Rajeev Gupta owner Cinderella art gallery. 



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