Hospitals unable to manage their waste
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 7
Government hospitals in the state have shown laxity in implementing the amended Biomedical Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2000. Despite the renovation and expansion underway, the Doon Hospital and District Hospital for Women have been unable to put in place an adequate bio-medical waste management system.

The health authorities have tied up with a private agency whose functioning is believed to be far from satisfactory and certainly not as per the norms. There are several private surgical clinics that rely on private agencies for waste disposal. The condition at the lesser-known clinics is worse -- they prefer burning the waste.

Sources say following the central government and Supreme Court censure and tough monitoring by the State Pollution Control Board, that takes up yearly inspections, the hospitals have entered into an arrangement to buck the 2002 deadline.

“The health department since the last two years has outsourced disposal, collection and treatment of bio-medical waste to Dehradun based-Pehal Biomedical Waste Services, a private company.

Their workers collect the waste everyday and transport it to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)Haridwar plant. Besides, the segregation is done at source,” said RK Pant, chief medical superintendent (CMS) of the Doon Hospital.

The hospital authorities seem oblivious of the fact that the BHEL waste treatment has been non-functional since November last. Sources say the plant could not meet the norms and was forced to shut down.

“We had received a letter from BHEL that their system had become non-functional and that it would not accept waste. So between November 2008 and January 2009, there was a problem as the waste could not be disposed. We refused to accept waste from private clinics until the Medical Pollution Control Committee (MPCC) treatment plant in Roorkee became functional on Janaury 14,”informed Amitabh Bose, manager, Signet Consultant. The agency has a tie-up with 80 private clinics for bio-waste collection and transportation.

A hospital has to begin its waste management with an audit, mentioning the type of waste -- infectious, recyclable or administration. “As per the rules, treatment and disposal of biomedical waste are t6o be treated and disposed in accordance with Schedule I and in compliance with the prescribed norms laid in Schedule V. Biomedical waste cannot be mixed with other kind of waste. It is to be segregated in containers,” informed PK Joshi, regional officer, State Pollution Control Department.

Meanwhile, at Doon Hospital can be seen carelessly dumped bandages and blood-stained cotton swabs in dustbins near the Burns Ward. Only a few dustbins had coloured plastic bags - red in the labour room and toilets for blood/fluid waste, yellow for contaminated cotton swabs or bandages and air-tight containers for needles.

(Colour Coding as per Schedule II)

There are few needle cutters and hardly any chart for Class IV employees to follow the colour code while disposing hospital waste into dustbins.

“Everyday 25kg-30 kg waste from Doon Hospital is generated while the non-infected waste collected by the Dehradun Municipal dumpers is 7-8 tonnes. The cost of the entire disposal comes to Rs 500 per day.

“Needle destroyers and cutters are placed outside the OPD, Emergency and other wards,” said KL Gautam assistant superintendent ( admn), Doon Hospital.

The State Pollution Control Board had initially authorised two agencies for the collection and transportation of waste -- Signet International, Pehal BMW Services. In January this year, the Medical Pollution Control Committee ( MPCC) at Roorkee was asked to join in the efforts.

“After collection of waste from the three government hospitals, we transport the same to BHEL for treatment. We have been carrying on with this practice since 2005,”informed Mohan Verma of Pehal Services.

Health workers and waste consultants say most hospitals have not grasped the necessity of biomedical or infectious waste material management. Doctors too give importance to primary medical treatment alone.

“The condition is worse at primary and community health centres where not much importance is given to hygiene and disposal of waste. Besides, Class IV employees don’t follow rules. They need to be re-educated by the paramedical staff,” said Arundhati Bose, a waste consultant working in Dehradun. 



Figures don’t portend well for state bird Monal 
Tribune News Service

Haridwar, February 7
Forest scientists view that special programmes and conservation reserves should be made to protect the state bird Monal pheasant (Lopophorous impejanus) from getting extinct. The bird is in danger as the census done by the forest department reflects that the figures of Monal phaeasant are declining in the Himalayan region.

Only 919 Monals are left in the state which doesn’t speak well about the conservation of the bird. Out of 31 forest divisions, there were only 14 such divisions where Monals were found. Maximum number of Monals (367) were found in the Kedarnath forest division in Gopeshwar.

Though forest officials admit that the number Monals are reducing but they are not too sure about the exact numbers. Forester Pauri Garhwal range Dhiraj Singh Rawat said it is quite difficult to calculate birds as they can move from one place to another but its certain that they are on descending side in comparison to the last decade.

Apart from Uttarakhand, Monals are mostly found in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. As far as sub-continent is concerned Monals are found in Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Tibet. There are some reports of its occurrence in Myanmar too.

In Uttarkhand, the bird is found at the height of 2000-5000 metre as these pheasants prefer cool climate. They exhibit clear and fluctuating altitudinal migration moving down as low as 6,500 feet in winters and up to 16,000 feet in summers.

They are usually seen in pairs during the breeding season, which is from April to August. Outside that season, they tend to form large coveys and involve in communal roosting.

Though Monal in not included in the endangered category in the country, its cousin, the Chinese Monal, is declared as an endangered bird due to poaching and other anthropogenic factors. Male Monal had been under heavy hunting pressure for its crest feather, which was used to ornament hats until it was legally banned.

Experts attribute the reduced number of Monal pheasants to various reasons. According to the forest scientist Dr. Ritesh Joshi, “Forest fire is the prime reason behind the its reduced number in the state, apart from that poaching is another major factor. Government and forest department should take immediate steps to conserve the state bird.”



World’s First
Flyover corridors for jumbos
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 7
Flyover corridors for elephants inside Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand may finally become a reality. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to take the initiative to construct the world’s first flyover corridors for elephants over the highway and railway line that cut through Rajaji National Park to link the pilgrim towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh to the capital city of Dehradun.

The development comes at a time when preparations are on for the Kumbh Mela in 2010 which will see a huge influx of pilgrims to the twin towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar. The two flyovers, each 1.2 km long and 100 metre wide, will be in place in nine months and will cost Rs 64 crore if the Supreme Court gives its nod to the plan.

The two flyovers will be part of NH 58 connecting Meerut with Badrinath and NH 72 connecting Shyampur Tiraha with Premanagar via Dehradun. There is a heavy flow of traffic on these highways and there have been instances when the traffic has been held up for hours as herds of elephants move along the corridors crossing the highways.

"These flyovers will ensure smooth connectivity for elephants which is a formidable challenge for the elephants on account of fragmentation of forests," Gangeshwar Pandey, warden, Rajaji Park, observed.

Wildlife experts working on pachyderms have welcome the initiative. "Elephants cannot be confined to one forest and the flyovers will facilitate smooth passage for the herds, " Dr AK Singh pointed out.

Giving details of the elevated elephant corridor project on Friday before a Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and SH Kapadia, senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan said it would solve the technically insurmountable problem of building a flyover for vehicles and constructing a tunnel for trains, which experts have been sceptical about, given the topography and soil conditions.

He said the elevated elephant corridor would be ideal as it would provide safe passage to the animal away from public gaze.

The corridors will rise at a low gradient and be lined with trees so that the elephants will not be able to make out the difference between their natural habitat and the new path while moving from one side of the forest to the other, he said.

Meanwhile, the apex court has sought explanation from the railway ministry regarding the track crossing the park. Senior advocate Harish Salve while pleading the case before the court said the while the NHAI over-bridge project was in the offing, nothing much had been done till date for removal of track passing throught the park. The railway minister is to respond to court query within four weeks.



A stinging delicacy
Sanjay Tamta

The “bichchoo booty” or “kandali”, an evergreen shrub that grows in wintry climes, is closely intertwined with the lives of hill people, be it for a tasty delicacy that is prepared from it or for its use as an instrument of punishment!

There are three varieties of the shrub: two are with relatively small stems and leaves (Urtica parviflora and Urtica dioca) and the other is a little bigger (Gearbiana retrophila). The fibre of the latter is used for making shawls and other warms clothes, which are available at the Dhanolti Eco-park near Mussoorie.

For people of the hills, the first date with “bichchoo booty” begins during childhood, often as punishment! The shrub has tiny capillary thorns filled with a liquid that gives a burning sensation when it comes in contact with the body, leaving tiny red blisters. The blisters don’t last long, but the “sting” on a child’s mind forces him never to repeat a mistake. It is little wonder, then, that “bichchoo” is the Hindi nomenclature for a scorpion.

Another grass called “Junglee paalak”, which always grows near “bichchoo”, acts an antidote for the sting when rubbed on the area affected, and mothers in the hills often use it after a session of punishment!

As far as the recipe is concerned, “bichchoo” is first boiled to kill the thorns and then fried with onion, ginger, garlic and “heeng”. Another key ingredient in the “bichchoo saag” is a grass called Amelda or “khatti-meethi” that gives a sour taste when chewed.

Amelda bears small pink flowers that are also edible. The “bichchoo saag” has not only been a meal for people in the mountains during difficult economic times, but at the same time also a delicacy in high-profile marriage buffets. It has a place in the authentic cuisines of Uttarakhand and is also available in some of the restaurants. The dish can be relished at some of the pavilions and fairs like “Virasat”, which is held every year in Dehradun.

This shrub of Garhwal grows throughout the year. Parts of its stem swells during monsoon, forming a light orange colour knot that tastes like cucumber, hence it is called “kakadi”.

The shrub is not very big in size, but it certainly has very long roots in the culture of Uttarakhand! 



Kabutari’s sad chant
BD Kashniyal

She is known as the Teejan Bai of Uttarakhand hills for her folk singing but has been living a life of penury. It is difficult to reach Kawetar village after having an uphill trek of six km near the small town of Adkani in Pithoragarh district where the legendary folk singer Kabutari Devi lives.

After spending more than 20 years in oblivion, Kabutari was spotted by some mediapersons recently and made known to the folk lovers of Uttarakhand. She was felicitated recently by the “Pahar”, an organisation in Kumaon. She will be awarded the‘Keshav Anuragi’ award for her contribution to folk singing.

“I was born to a ‘mirasi’ (folk singers) family of Kali Kumaon in Champawat district. I inherited music as my parents were also folk singers, ” said Kabutari.

She was married to Diwani Ram of Kweatar village of Pitthoragarh district some 50 years ago. He introduced her to various stations of the All-India Radio after he recognised her talent.

She sang for AIR Rampur, AIR Lucknow, AIR Naziabad and AIR Churchgate Mumbai. “I was paid Rs 25 to Rs 50 for a song. After my husband died 25 years ago, being alone and without a guide, I had to stay put at my village,” said Kabutari.

She stays with her married daughter and son-in-law who are manual labourers. She has no land and gets a pension of Rs 1,000 given by the Uttarakhand Culture Department.

She is forced to sing at wedding ceremonies and religious occasions in nearby villages in exchange for food and other basic needs.

“After Netaji (she called her husband Netaji) died, I did not come out of my house. It was my husband who took me everywhere including AIR stations and local fairs,” she said.

“Being illiterate, wherever I was asked to define folk music, I did so by playing the harmonium and tabla,” she simply said.

Before singing for AIR, Kabutari Devi used to sing in fairs and was a rage in Kumaon region where people used to throng from far and near to listen to her serene music.

“I performed at the fairs at Dwarahat, Bageswar, Thal, Juljivi, Devidhura, and Gangolihat around the year to earn as singing was only means of livelihood for me and my family in those days,” she recalled.

The pension provided by the state is not sufficient to sustain her and her family members. “I am dependent on my daughter who herself is a labourer,” she lamented.

“When mere survival is not possible, how one can retain the art one possesses?” Kabutari commented with same volume of pain that is reflected in her songs.



Lal’s collection, sizzling 70s 
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 7
After making a splash in Stockholm, France and Hong Kong, fashion designer Manoj Lal has made Dehradun his home, churning out designer clothes for the fashion conscious under his label ‘Latelier’.

“I wanted to settle down away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitans. Now, I want to design at a leisurely pace and fulfill my duties towards my family,” said Lal.

The studio was the center of heightened activity today as he along with his staff was putting together an ensemble that would be a part of Spring 2009 collection.

It was tough task for Manoj Lal when there were not much male fashion designers in the industry. Lal encountered derision and even ire of his family, which could not digest the fact that their son was doing something dramatically different. “I had to tackle opposition early in life and it remained right through my growing up years. My wish to take up designing course was laughed down as a silly idea by several colleges in Delhi and Mumbai that conducted courses only for women,” said Manoj Lal.

Despite stringent oppositions, he decided to carry on and a beginning was made at export houses in Delhi and in the company of master cutters from whom he learnt the basics. “I learnt a lot about fabric selection and textiles, while working at the export wing of DCM. Besides designers and pattern makers from Esprit, French companies were frequent visitors. Close interaction with them gave me learning opportunities,” said Lal.

His career reached a new high whilst his forays abroad, especially to Hong Kong, Stockholm and Paris, said Lal, “The two years that I spent in Hong Kong were creatively satisfying years of my life. The high point of my career was the exposure that I got experimenting with Chinese textiles and fabrics, bringing in my Indian sensibilities as a designer and yet with an eye on the westerner markets.”

“As a tribute to 70s fashion, I have started a line of designer clothes that still appeal to fashion connoisseurs,” said Lal.

In Dehradun, his clothes are being sold through Inter Shoppe, Satyam and Trends.

The Uttarakhand Khadi Board has also begun seeking his expertise in developing silk wool fabric for which he will be visiting Chamba in Tehri, Garhwal district soon.



A cut above the rest
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

In Vogue

Men: John Abraham’s spikes, and Dhoni’s cut
Women: Priyanka Chopra’s layered cut
Shades: Blonde and matt dark blonde

Dehradun, February 5
A perfect haircut not only adds style to your attitude but also lends an overall change in your appearance. For past few years, high-end parlours have come up in Dehradun catering to this latest craze.

The trend for advanced cuts started in the city with movie and sports stars started experimenting with their looks. “Advanced cuts are really in since the days of hit Bollywood flick ‘Dil chahta hai’.

People have become conscious and want to change their looks on regular basis. Presently, John Abraham’s spikes, and Dhoni’s cut is in with men, whereas, women want to have Priyanka Chopra’s look in the recent movie Dostana where forward layering is done on the crown area,” said Javed, of JBCC lounge, a salon.

Youngsters are the one’s who don’t mind experimenting. “Young girls and boys are getting their hair coloured in blonde and matt dark blonde shades. Younger crowd want spikes or something unusual. Women too want to stand out, by carrying a short haircut with layers that gives bounce and funky look to their hair,” said Mohd Afzal, hairstylist, Habeeb beauty saloon.

The craze for straightening and re-bonding is also very in. “Straightening and re-bonding strictly depends on the texture and condition of hair,” said Javed.

“People in Dehradun are very stylish an aware, regarding the latest trends of hair styles and want to flaunt a contemporary look. Earlier middle aged people used to apply usual black dyes but today they are opting for international range of hair colours,” said Poonam, a beauty expert.

“The most important factor before giving a hair cut is one’s personality and profession but people want follow their favourite star’s style blindly,” said R Aggarwal, owner, lakme saloon.



U’khand boys on football high
Vishal Thakur
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 7
After a gap of five years, the Uttarakhand under-14 football team regained its past glory by clinching the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) Football Tournament at the Holy Family Stadium, Mumbai, recently.

Uttarakhand beat Goa in a closely contested final which was decided in the tie-breaker 4-2.

The winning Uttarakhand team got a standing ovation from the Garhwal Youth Football Club, Mumbai, that also arranged a free Mumbai ‘darshan’ tour for the young team as a token of appreciation for their performance.

The people of Uttarakhand staying in Mumbai had come to cheer the Uttarakhand team during the tournament.

“We got excellent crowd support which eased the huge pressure on the players in the final. They made us feel at home and that went a long way in helping us win the final against Goa,” said team coaches SDS Rawat and Pradeep Bora who had been instrumental in transforming the players into a committed bunch.

The team underwent a rigorous training drill under SDS Rawat and Pradeep Bora’s guidance in a 10-day camp organised in Dehradun from January 9 to 17 before departing for Mumbai.

“We did not have much time to improve upon each and every skill of the players. So, we just focused on strategy and body fitness,” said Rawat.

The practice schedule for the team was organised in two sessions. The first one was in the morning from 6.30 am to 8.30 am. The players were made to undergo light jogging, body stretching, fast running along with improving their football skills.

The second session in the evening consisted of demonstrations over the position of players and the move to be adopted in a particular situation.

Due to time constraint, the team was made to practice one-touch passes in which each player passes the ball as soon as he receives it. The tactic proved handy in the tournament and the team sailed through to the final and won the cup.

The team got direct entry into the pre-quarterfinal where it earned a bye to make it to the quarterfinal stage. In the quarters, Uttarakhand was up against a tough opponent, Haryana.

“Haryana was known to be little rough in its approach and had won matches against some good sides,” said Pradeep Bora.

The mantra for the match was to play safe, make as many attacks from the flanks and follow the 4-4-2 formation throughout the match.

The strategy paid off and Uttarakhand registered a 2-0 victory over Haryana. Uttarakhand captain Shashank Rawat played a key role in the victory. He scored the first goal. The second goal came from the Sandeep Rawat’s boot.

The team was high on confidence after their quarterfinal win and won the semifinal match against Jharkhand by a solitary goal scored by captain Shashank Rawat.

“Before our final, we did a bit of homework on the Goa team and collected as much information about their style of play, their strengths and their weaknesses. The team was rated exceptionally good and had an excellent ground game,” said Pradeep.

The Uttarakhand players had the advantage of height and adopted the strategy of long aerial passes to the flanks and avoided playing the ground ball game.

The final match was goalless and the result was decided in a tiebreaker. Uttarakhand goalkeeper did an excellent job as he made two outstanding saves. 



Eco Task Force withstands all challenges: CO
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 7
Commanding Officer 127 ECO Task Force Col (Dr) PS Mavi said the Eco Task Force battalions across the country have withstood all challenges in their crusade for restoring nation’s green environs.

Addressing the valedictory session of the first ever Forest Research Institute guided training programme for Eco Task Force personnel, Col Mavi said while many battalions have been disbanded across the country, the Eco Task Force battalions have withstood all challenges. The battalions have increased in numbers, over the years, purely due to the excellent works done on environment.

Referring to the training programme, CO said the training imparted by Forest Research Institute’s scientists would be of immense benefit as they work for plantation. He also lauded the keen interest shown by them in pursuing the training. “Your interests in the lectures have got much of appreciation from Forest Research Institute’s scientists,” Col Mavi told the participants. He called upon them to use their expertise in carrying out of the daily plantation activities.

The CO handed over the certificate to the Republic Day parade participants that included 5 Officers, 9 JCOs and 29 jawans from all the eight battalions. Col Rakesh Singh CO.130 Eco Task Force and Maj Vinay Sharma were prominent participants at the concluding programme.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |