Kanwariyas bring industry to its knees
Apollo Pharmacy in exit mood
Nagnath Yatra to resume
Karanwal elected Rotary
Kanwariyas bring industry to its knees
Haridwar, July 20
The 350-odd industrial units in SIDCUL and the 1,000-odd ones in Haridwar district have been severely affected with goods carriers off the the Haridwar-Delhi highway due to the rush of Kanwariyas.
With transportation hit, the companies in Haridwar have suffered an estimated loss of Rs 150 crore in the past fortnight.
With nearly seven million Kanwariyas thronging the city to collect the holy waters of the Ganga during the month of “saawan”, traffic on this highway has remained suspended during the period.
Since a majority of the Kanwariyas travel on foot from the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the fear of an accident and traffic jams forced the administration to halt traffic on the highway. In the past, accidents involving the Kanwariyas have had led to violence.
With then highway closed, industrial houses and manufacturing companies have been unable to send obtain raw material or send their finished products outside.
Harendra Garg, chairman of the Industries Association, says the state government has done precious little to make alternative traffic arrangements in view of the Kanwar Yatra, making the companies suffer huge losses.
“We respect religious sentiments associated with this yatra. We are only demanding that something should be done so that transportation is not affected,” he says.
Most industrial heads suggest broadening of roads and increase in lanes of the Hartidwar-Delhi highway.
HC Hatwal, regional manager, SIDCUL, says if a solution is not found, it will become a major hindrance in more business coming to the state, especially in the wake of the concession package provided to companies in Uttarakhand by the Centre expiring after 2011.
The industry fears that if every year such losses are is incurred, it will not be feasible to either expand existing units or increase production.
Also, with the Maha Kumbh slated for 2010, most companies in Haridwar fear that if no plan comes into effect in a few months, the industrial losses may multiply.
“If 70 lakh Kanwariyas can cause such damage, it is unimaginable how much damage will be caused by four crore people in the town, ” said Arun Raghav, Indian Tobacco Industries (ITC).
The ITC, one of the major conglomerates in Haridwar, has been severely affected due to the Kanwar Yatra. The company has cut production with availability of raw material posing a huge problem.
With traffic coming to a halt, the operations of the company have been severely affected. The company’s 100 trucks have not moved in the past fortnight.
Ditto for companies like Hindustan Corporation Limited, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hero Honda and Kirby.
In the first few days of the yatra, trucks were permitted during the night but just as Dak Kanwar commenced, these too were stopped.
Ashok K. Dabral, DGM, Birla Power Solutions, a Lal Tappar-based unit near Haridwar, says with the yatra growing in magnitude, the the problem has assumed an alarming proportion and intervention by the government is a must.
“An alternative bypass either for pilgrims or the industrial sectors should be built immediately,” suggests Dabral. In SIDCUL alone more than 4,000 trucks operate daily round the clock and are the lifeline of companies.
But most are parked at their slots as of now. Several companies, citing “Kanwar blockade” have called it a holiday.
Says a Kevin Care spokesman: “If there is no raw material and no delivery facility, it’s better to have the employees off.”
Gearing up for the Kanwar Yatra, the Ganga Filling Station which provides bio-diesel in SIDCUL, had filled its storage capacity plant well in time.
Says Akshay Aggarwal, marketing director: “We had filled our storage plant and now all diesel gensets in SIDUCL are depending on our fuel. We feel that if nothing concrete is done to help move our goods carriers during Kanwar Mela or other such occasions, the industry and government will suffer badly”.
Transport operators like Sunny Logistics, Shiv Ganga Transport, OTSC and Hari Kripa have been hit by the bar on movement of vehicles. So much so that they fear a threat to their livelihood.
Kanwar Mela has hit goods trains too.With special trains for pilgrims started, goods trains are not running on their scheduled routes. The repercussions are being felt in the manufacturing, construction and agro-sector.
With the goods trains not operating, availability of cement, steel, iron and food has fallen short. this has resulted in the price of raw material going up, affecting the developmental works.
Apart from 35 routine trains, an additional seven are being run from Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun.
While major industrial corporates are suffering huge losses, local traders are seeing their profits go up manifold. Unofficial estimates say trade figures in the pilgrim city town has touched Rs 100 crore.
Food items, puja-related things, clothes and other accessories, including kanwars, are on sale in a big way.
With the administration not allowing kanwariyas in the inner roads of the city, the traders this time are complaining of some setback to business. Small shopkeepers in the Har-ki-Pauri area are the happiest.
If Haridwar is to attract new industrial units, a separate highway for pilgrims or trucks is the need of the hour.
The common man too feels caught in the Kanwar jam, having to undertake long de tours to reach their destinations.
Apollo Pharmacy in exit mood
Dehradun, July 20
More than a year back, it had set up retail outlets in Dehradun, Haridwar and Roorkee manned by 50 youth and was planning to recruit another 50.
But due to government’s lack of initiative in granting them a licence, their plans have gone haywire.
Under pressure from the Chemists’ Association that is opposing the entry of MNCs, the government is sitting on the file already okayed by the Drug Licensing Authority.
Chemists’ Association members had earlier held a statewide closure protesting against the retail counters.
The Uttaranchal Medical Traders Union, affiliated to the All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), had held a bandh in December. Even the Drug Licence office was ransacked.
“In the past six months, we had hired shops at different places and had begun training 50 youth to run 24 hrs retail outlets, but our plans have fallen apart with the government showing reluctance to grant us licence,” said Sanjay Singh, chief executive, Apollo Pharmacy.
“A disinformation campaign was started against us, alleging that we would be setting up our own pharmaceutical units and bringing outsiders to work, which is not the case. We would have purchased medicines from local distributors and the state government would have benefited immensely as our billing is proper and all tax benefits would have gone towards the governments kitty,” he said.
He said that the rent on one shop was close to Rs 1 lakh that was proving to e too much as the stores were not doing any business.
The retail medicine counters promised 24-hour services and sale of medicines of pharma companies at rates lesser than sold by chemist stores.
A total of 350 chemist shops in Dehradun would have been affected with the entry of MNCs/ hospital chains setting up retail counters here.
Nagnath Yatra to resume after 27 yrs
Dehradun, July 20
The ‘yatra’, which involves carrying of Lord Nagnath idol from the Dangi temple to Deval and bringing it back after a day’s stay, had to be discontinued in 1982 after the village brahmins expressed their inability to get people from within their community to carry the Lord’s palanquin.
According to tradition followed through the ages in Dangi and adjoining villages of Rudraprayag, the idol of Lord Nagnath is shifted from Dangi to Deval every year in September and after one day’s stay, it is brought back to be kept in the temple store in Dangi.
A fair was also held at Deval to mark the arrival of deity. However, this year villagers from Dangi and adjoining villages, including Matthya, Bakhsheer, Khod and Bhunal were adamant that the “yatra” should be resumed.
They threatened to carry the palanquin themselves if the priests refused to do so. Bowing under pressure, the latter have now decided to resume the “yatra” and villagers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of September.
Pushkar Bhandari, from Khod village, said revival of the “yatra” would strengthen the age-old tradition of Rudrprayag region. He also appreciated the efforts of villagers towards renovation of Nagnath temple.
Notably, the “Snake God” has always been reverred in the hills and considered an important part of daily life.
Karanwal elected Rotary Club president
Mussoorie, July 20
Shaillendra Karanwal took over as the president of Rotary Mussoorie along with his new team in the presence of former district governors of Rotary Yashpal Das, Dr GK Thakral and Ranbeer Singh.
On the occasion, the newly elected president Shaillendra Karanwal, said that the mandate of Rotary was to ‘serve the community’ and with this aim he would strive to work for the welfare of poor and underprivileged.
“In the coming year the club would lay greater focus on distributing scholarships, medical aid to the needy, provision of safe drinking water and eradication of polio,” Karanwal said.
At this function Rotary members DP Singh (Rs 51,000), GK Thakral (Rs 30,000) and Rama Pasricha (Rs 2,100) made donations to the club to be used for providing scholarships to meritorious girl students.
Prior to this, outgoing secretary Nitin Gupta said that various projects completed by Rotary Mussoorie during the past year.
These included grant of Rs 3,21,000 to 175 needy children in the form of scholarships, providing school dresses, bags and books to 1,400 children from poor families and financial support to the tune of Rs 2,16,146 being given to 18 severely ill patients for advanced medical treatment.