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Illegal quarrying on despite ban: Raghunath: Former vice-president of the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Raghunath Singh Negi said illegal quarrying was taking place in the surrounding areas of the city at the behest of the administration. The state government was incurring a revenue loss because of this, he said. He further added that despite quarrying being banned by the High Court, illegal quarrying was growing rapidly which indicated towards the connivance of administration officers in these activities. By permitting storage of quarrying material, the directive of the High Court too was being flouted in this regard, he said and demanded strong action against the quarrying mafia and gave ultimatum to launch an agitation if nothing was done in this regard. 

Kumaon Briefs

Elephant scare in Haldwani: The residents of Chausla village near Haldwani are living in fear of elephants that have been making forays into the human habitation over the last few days. Things have come to a pass that the women in the village are not going out even to collect fodder. The elephants are learnt to have destroyed a standing crop of wheat and tomato spread over an area of 20 acres. The farmers have demanded compensation for the losses incurred by them. They have also appealed to the Forest Department authorities to provide a long-term solution to the problem posed by the elephants in the area.

Two teenagers reported missing: Two teenagers have gone missing from the Devalchaur area of Haldwani. It is learnt that 13-year-old Gaurav and 14-year-old Sanju had gone to a friendís place on January 21 to attend his birthday party and did not return home after that. After carrying out a frantic search for them, their family members have finally reported the mater to the police. Sanju is learnt to have gone missing earlier also but had returned home after a span of about a month. Police investigations are on in the matter.

Auto-free zone: In yet another move to provide respite to the pedestrians, the police in Haldwani has decided to declare the area between Mangalpadav and OK Hotel an auto-free zone. According to the new plan being put in place, no shared autorickshaw would be allowed to ply in this area. This is being done to decongest the traffic in this area, which is frequented by a large number of pedestrians who visit the main market for their daily shopping. The police had earlier also tried to work out a similar plan unsuccessfully but this time it is committed to making it a success. The autorickshaw drivers have termed the step taken by the police as a harassment to both the passengers as well as themselves.

Train service: The much awaited Ramnagar-Hardwar link express is expected to start running in March. The starting of the train service had been announced by Railway Minister Mamta Bannerjee in her last Rail Budget speech but the service is yet to begin. However, Railway authorities say that the 10 coaches of the train are expected to arrive soon and the train would start running before the end of the current financial year.

(Compiled by Rajeev Khanna)

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