Admn gears up for safe yatra during rains
it with bamboo blind
Protest over illegal
Leopard shot dead
Admn gears up for safe yatra during rains
Dehradun, June 30
With Uttarakhand receiving pre-monsoon showers and monsoon likely to hit the state in a couple of days, the challenge to ensure the smooth and safe pilgrimage to Char Dham - Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath and Sikh shrine Hemkund Sahib starts now.
In wake of the fact that maximum accidents and mishaps during the Char Dham yatra are reported during the monsoons, the Uttarakhand government claims to have made elaborate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident. The next two months - July and August - will tell how successful the government efforts are.
Every year, the Char Dham yatra and pilgrimage to Hemkund Sahib gets under way in May and continues till mid-October.
A perusal of statistics of the past few years reveals that the safety record of the Uttarakhand buses and roads was dismal.
On account of road accidents, almost 500 persons die every year during the Char Dham yatra.
As a result of the mishaps, the roads to these four Hindu pilgrim spots situated in the Garhwal Himalayas have been tagged “killer” roads.
Though, the Char Dham yatra generates a lot of revenue for the state but managing it smoothly still continues to be a major challenge for the administration and other stakeholders in the hill state.
Past records indicate that though every year, steps are taken to ensure that accidents do not occur, the efforts had not yielded desired results.
This time, the government came out with a concrete plan under which various government departments were conveyed that they would be made accountable for any lapses.
The steps taken up by the administration had so far given positive signals with very few accidents being reported during the first two months of the Char Dham yatra.
But it is a fact that with the arrival of the monsoon, the quantum of mishaps suddenly shoots up. Besides being blocked by landslides, roads start developing potholes during monsoon thereby rendering several stretches of roads leading to Char Dham accident-prone.
Uttarakhand Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre (DMMC) officials said that they were yet to compile the data of the mishaps during the Char Dham yatra in May and June but claimed that the number of accidents were certainly less as compared to previous years.
Agreeing to the assertion that the real challenge to ensure safe pilgrimage starts during the rainy season, Secretary Transport (Uttarakhand) Uma Kant Pawar, who supervises all arrangements for the yatra, said that they were hopeful that this monsoon, accidents would come down during the yatra.
“We can’t say that there will be no mishap. The department has made better yatra arrangements this year and we are hopeful that our efforts will bring desired results,” he asserted.
Pawar said, “We have already directed officials of the Public Words Department (PWD) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to submit a certificate about the safety of the various stretches of roads leading to the Char Dham every fortnight.”
Pawar said that with rains lashing the state, they had already sent alert messages to the forces deployed on the Char Dham routes.
“During rains, roads become slippery due to mud deposit. In order to overcome this problem, teams of the PWD and BRO personnel have been constituted.
“These teams will ensure that if there is any mud deposit or blockage on the roads, the same will be cleared on a priority basis in order to ensure that there is no traffic jam or mishap,” he said
He added that district magistrates have also been instructed to monitor that the PWD and BRO teams are doing their job properly. Transport Department officials are also conducting surprise checks to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy and there is no overloading.
When asked about devotees from Punjab and Haryana who visit Uttarakhand on two wheelers to pay obeisance at Hemkund Sahib, Pawar said, “After it came to light that devotees coming from Punjab and Haryana not only carry LPG cylinders in trucks but also violate many other provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, directions were issued to initiate action against violators.
“We are trying our best to see that traffic rules are followed because violation of traffic norms also contributes significantly to road accidents.”
Officials of the DMMC have also taken certain steps to ensure safe yatra. “We have already issued necessary equipment to the ‘chowkies’ to help in search and rescue operations in case of roads mishaps,” said Girish Joshi, a senior DMMC official.
“Timely availability of assistance can save many lives and thus preparedness to meet disasters in form of road mishaps is of paramount importance,” he added.
Meanwhile, in order to assist the pilgrims coming for the Char Dham yatra, the Uttarakhand police had deployed tourist police on various booths on yatra route.
At least two tourist police personnel have been deputed at every booth. A first-aid kit will be kept at all booths.
The tourist police will be assisting domestic and foreign tourists and pilgrims about basic information pertaining to the tourism sector of Uttarakhand and about the geographical conditions of the state. Besides, they will also give information about the travel fare etc so that nobody can cheat them.
Bringing back smiles, surgically
Dehradun, June 30
Ten-year-old Sachin was not only ridiculed by friends and strangers, but it also made eating and speaking difficult.
Besides robbing a child of its smile, cleft lips or palates create eating, drinking and breathing problems.
“It becomes problematic for small children as they cannot breathe easily.
“Neither can they be fed as most of the time, the food, liquid or solid, lands outside the mouth,” said Dr KC Pant, senior physician, Doon Hospital.
Reconstructive surgery has brought back smiles on the faces of several children suffering from congenital cleft palate and cleft lips defects, courtesy its free treatment at Doon Hospital.
Both children, Poonam and Sachin, underwent cleft palate surgery in 2008 at Doon Hospital.
“It is a normal procedure using surgical intervention that takes two hours at the most,” said Dr Mohit Goyal, the plastic surgeon who operated upon Poonam and Sachin.
He regularly performs syndactyly, polydactyly, cleft palate and hyposadias surgeries at the hospital.
Those who have benefited from the free surgery at Doon Hospital hail mostly from poor families. Patients from Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh too have come for the cleft palate surgeries.
“At the hospital, we began performing cleft-palate surgeries from January 2005.
“So far, 150 operations have been performed,” said Lt Col JV Rammurthi (retd), hospital manager.
The venture got a boost in 2006 when the USA-based Smile Train project offered to collaborate with the hospital by making a financial contribution.
“Their standards are exacting. Everything has to be as per international norms beginning with the operation facilities to qualified doctors.
“For a single surgery, the NGO contributes Rs 10,000,” added Rammurthi.
Drape it with bamboo blinds
Dehradun, June 30
Stylish bamboo ‘chik’ blinds are fast replacing curtains. These ‘chiks’ not only add aesthetic value to the living space but also have a cooling effect.
In metropolitan cities, the rage for bamboo products is quite noticeable. From high-end resorts to homes, people love to flaunt this lightweight grass product.
In Doon, the demand for colourful and stylish ‘chik’ blinds seems to be on an increase giving people variety and change which comes at an economical price.
To add to the sales, the media and interior decorators are encouraging its usage.
Mohamed Arsh, a leading manufacturer and designer of bamboo ‘chik’ blinds in the city, said, “Creating these blinds has been our ancestral work and passion. Three to four years earlier, only ordinary looking ‘chiks’ were designed.
“Today, innovation is the word in bamboo ‘chik’ blinds. This unique fusion of ethnic designs and modern technology enhances the ambience and beauty of every home, villa, hotel, restaurant and office.”
More and more people in the city are getting attracted to these ‘chiks’ as they are easy to maintain, are termite-proof and a cord-lock-guided pulley system makes the operation all the more easy and handy.
‘Chiks’ are available in a wide variety of colours and sizes. Most shops give customers a free demonstration that gives a clear picture of their needs.
“We have plenty of designs to decorate any living space. Bamboo being light in weight and nature friendly is very much in demand. Drawing rooms, big windows in the stairway are now increasingly being decorated with ‘chiks’. They cut down on the harsh sunlight and set a trendy look.
The price of these blinds is determined according to the thread-work on the bamboo sticks. Within a budget of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000, a massive room can be decorated,” added Arsh.
“Though curtains are being used from ages, elegant bamboo ‘chik’ blinds give a different look. They help to break the monotony of any given space,” said Mohini, a bank executive.
Interestingly, the increasing demand for bamboo products has also encouraged middle-class families to come forward and experiment with their living area.
At many prime locations, roadside vendors can be found busy selling bamboo mats. “ I love bamboo products and have always admired its furniture. The latest variety in ‘chik’ blinds is a great way to innovation with quality and affordability,” said Seema, housewife.
Protest over illegal possession
Dehradun, June 30
The protesters were demanding action against some unscrupulous elements, who were trying to establish their illegal possession over government land in the area.
One of the protester Vijay Singh said that they had earlier also brought the matter to the notice of the district administration but to no avail.
“It is really unfortunate that despite bringing the matter to the knowledge of the administration, no action has so far been taken against the guilty”, he said. The residents also submitted a memorandum in this regard to DM.
Tehri, June 30
The leopardess had mauled a woman and injured several villagers in the past few days forcing the forest officials to declare the beast as man-eater and issue orders to kill it. — PTI