Friday, April 18, 2014

Uttarakhand government gives final touches to Char Dham yatra preparations

With just a fortnight to go for the start of the annual Char Dham pilgrimage, Uttarakhand government is giving final touches to preparations for the yatra route to ensure a smooth and trouble-free journey for the devotees en route to the four Himalayan shrines.

"Almost all major roads on the Char Dham route have been equipped with facilities and opened to traffic considering the proximity of the yatra season. The Rishikesh-Badrinath highway has been fully repaired," state Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar, who recently toured  Kedar Valley on foot to review preparations for the yatra, told PTI.

"A joint task force of Nehru Mountaineering Institute and Uttarakhand police personnel is making efforts on a war footing to build the pedestrian route between Bhimbali and Kedarnath," he said.

The yatra season begins this year with the opening of the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri on May 2 followed by those of Kedarnath on May 4 and Badrinath on May 5.

Assuring devotees of a safe yatra this season, the chief secretary said many arrangements, which were not in existence earlier, have been made along the pilgrimage route for the safety of the pilgrims. There will be heavy deployment of State Disaster Response Force and para-military personnel along the route especially in slide-prone areas to deal with any emergency besides temporary mobile counters at 13 places including Haridwar, Rishikesh, Jankichatti, Guptkashi and Gangotri for the registration of pilgrims, Kumar said, adding the process of deploying 100 SDRF jawans in Kedar Valley has already begun.

The yatra was suspended last year in the wake of the catastrophic flashfloods in Uttarakhand in June, killing thousands of people.

The Char Dhams are closed every year for nearly six months during the winter when they become snowbound only to be reopened during April-May when lakhs of devotees from all over the country and abroad visit the shrines.

IBN

No 'cheers' in this Uttarakhand village

BARETH (RUDRAPRAYAG): "We protested over nine days and stayed up five nights to prevent construction of a liquor outlet in our village," Vijay Laxmi, an all-woman group's president in Bareth, said.

The women of Bareth village - a hamlet perched 4,000 feet above sea level - usually restrict their daily activities to plucking leaves, collecting wood, cooking food and feeding domestic animals. But when district authorities decided to open a liquor vend in the hamlet, a group of 250-odd women went up in arms to safeguard their domicile finances.

Kamla Devi pointed out that agriculture and working in the nearby Kedar Valley during the char-dham season were the two main sources of earning for the Bareth men. Devi felt that the local hooch would "draw" the minors as well. Plus, she felt, the village men would "waste all the money on liquor."

The protesters camped on the main road (Guptkashi-Mayali route) leading to the village and blocked it from both sides. No vehicles were permitted to ply on the route .

On April 12, the local officials eventually yielded to their demand.

The district excise officer Raje Singh confirmed that they were now looking for an alternate location.

Most villages in this region have a women's empowerment unit called the Mahila Mangal Dal (MMD). Laxmi, the MMD president, told TOI that they had initially asked the local authorities to set up the hooch in another location. But their plea failed to elicit the desired result. 

TOI

Japanese agency approves Rs 674 crore loan to Uttarakhand forest project

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved a loan of about Rs 674 crore for a forest project in Uttarakhand. "The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Japanese ODA loan agreement with the Government of India in New Delhi to provide up to 11,390 million yen (around Rs 674 crore) for 'Uttarakhand Forest Resource Management Project'," the agency said in a release.

The agreement was signed on April 11. The loan at a concessional interest rate of 0.30 per cent carries a repayment period of 40 years with a grace period of 10 years. The project aims to improve natural environment and livelihood of people living in and around the forest areas with the loan funds used for afforestation and income generation of local communities.

In addition, the project will support implementation of disaster reconstruction and prevention measures in the forest area of Uttarakhand where heavy rains caused devastating floods and landslides in June 2013. The executing agency for the project is Uttarakhand Forest Department. The project is expected to be completed by March 2022.

"The forest area in Uttarakhand has not only huge degradation pressure but also suffered severe damages during the disaster in June 2013. This project will contribute to eco-restoration of the forest area in conformity with the improvement of the livelihoods of the communities ...," the release said. JICA works to help developing countries become self reliant in pursuing their own socio-economic development.
IBN Live

Weatherman in demand as LS nominees chalk schedule in Uttarakhand

DEHRADUN: With inclement weather playing spoilsport for campaigning, the MeT department's phones haven't stopped ringing as politicians call up for weather updates so that they can fix their canvassing schedule.

"Will the weather permit me to go to the hills for campaigning? When will it be safe to file nominations? When will the rains end? Which areas will be affected by rains in the next few days?" are among the questions being repeatedly asked to the MeT officials by candidates and their party members.

A major area of three out of the five Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttarakhand, namely Tehri, Almora and Pauri, are situated in mountainous terrains and politicians need to plan out their strategies according to the geography and the weather.

Congress state spokesman Surendra Kumar said his staff frequently collects weather updates to help candidates chalk out their schedule. "Choppers cannot fly when it's snowing or raining. Moreover, there is also a danger of getting stuck due to landslides caused by rains, so it is a wise move to know about the weather predictions in advance," he said.

The Himalayan state has witnessed frequent rains in the last 10 days, making it virtually impossible for politicians to reach the higher reaches especially at Pauri and Tehri. On April 13, chief minister Harish Rawat was expected to visit Kedarnath valley via helicopter to have a look at the ongoing preparations for the char dham yatra and meet the local residents of Guptkashi to collect their feedback. However, owing to the incessant rains, he was forced to call off the visit at the last minute.

A senior official told TOI, "In the last few weeks, senior politicians, including BJP candidate from Pauri B C Khanduri, staff of chief minister and other Congress leaders have contacted me for the weather forecast."

Congress candidate from Pauri, Harak Singh Rawat pointed out that his Lok Sabha constituency had several mountainous areas. "We have to ensure that we can reach out to maximum possible people and therefore, it is important to have information about weather," he added.

State MeT director Anand Sharma said westerly disturbances were causing rains in this season. "Light to moderate rains were predicted for April 11, 12 and 13 and similar conditions are likely for the next three days and may continue for a week," he added.

TOI

उत्तराखंड आपदा: उम्मीद ही नहीं परंपरा भी टूटी

देहरादून। 'धरा पर थम गई आंधी, गगन में कांपती बिजली, घटाएं आ गई अमराइयों तक, तुम नहीं आए और नदी के हाथ निर्झर की, मिली पाती समंदर को, सतह भी आ गई गहराइयों तक, तुम नहीं आए।' प्रसिद्ध कवि बलवीर सिंह 'रंग' ने ये पंक्तियां भले ही किसी भी संदर्भ में कही हों, लेकिन आपदा के बाद के दौर पर ये सटीक बैठती हैं।

आपदा के बाद तबाह हो चुके पहाड़ की एकमात्र उम्मीद सरकार पर ही तो थी, लेकिन दस माह बाद भी वह आपदा प्रभावितों के करीब नहीं है। यह तस्वीर तब है, जब दो मई्र चारधाम यात्रा शुरू करने का दिन-पट्टा निकल चुका है। बताइए, क्या हुआ उन सपनों का, जो आपदा के बाद नाउम्मीदी को उम्मीद में बदलने के लिए दिखाए गए थे।

राजनीतिक दलों के लिए भले चारधाम यात्रा चुनावी नफा-नुकसान को तौलने का जरिया हो, लेकिन पहाड़ के लिए यह जीवन से जुड़ा सवाल है। यात्रा सुचारु एवं सुव्यवस्थित रही तो जीवन में खुशहाली है, अन्यथा उदासी के सिवा कुछ भी नहीं। फिलहाल तो यात्रा पड़ावों की ऐसी ही तस्वीर नजर आती है। इससे बड़ी अफसोसजनक बात क्या होगी कि जिन परंपराओं की हम दुहाई देते नहीं अघाते, वह गौरीकुंड में मां गौरी के आंगन तक पहुंचते-पहुंचते भरभराकर ढह गईं। परंपरा के अनुसार गौरी माई मंदिर के कपाट बैसाखी के दिन खोले जाते हैं, लेकिन मंदिर के मलबे में दबे होने के ऐसा संभव नहीं हो पाया। जबकि, बाबा केदार के दर्शनों से पहले मां गौरी के दर्शन जरूरी माने गए हैं।

अब जरा मुख्यमंत्री हरीश रावत के गत सात अप्रैल को दिए गए बयान पर गौर कीजिए। उन्होंने कहा, 'आपदा प्रभावित क्षेत्र को 16 जून से पहले की स्थिति में लाने का दावा उन्होंने कभी नहीं किया। लेकिन, राज्य के इस दुर्भाग्य को सरकार अगले दो साल में बेहतर संभावनाओं में बदल देगी।' हैरत देखिए कि यही सरकार दो माह पहले तक सुरक्षित एवं व्यवस्थित यात्रा का खम ठोक रही थी। दूसरी और, जरा स्थिति को निहारिए। यमुनोत्री, गंगोत्री व बदरीनाथ के लिए तो जैसे-तैसे जोखिमभरी राह खोल दी गई है, लेकिन केदारनाथ की राह कब खुलेगी, अब सरकार इसका जवाब देने की स्थिति में नहीं।

जनपद उत्तरकाशी संपत्ति क्षतिग्रस्त पुनर्निर्माण

पुल 30 00

स्कूल 143 00

पूर्ण क्षतिग्रस्त भवन 145

आंशिक क्षतिग्रस्त भवन 341

बेघर परिवार 326

परिवार खतरे की जद में 1300

जनपद रुद्रप्रयाग

पुल 29 00

अस्पताल 02 00

स्कूल 02 00

पूर्ण क्षतिग्रस्त भवन 430

बेघर परिवार 844 00

जनपद चमोली

पुल 45 07

स्कूल 207 00

अस्पताल 05 00

पूर्ण क्षतिग्रस्त भवन 355

बेघर परिवार 536

प्रभावित परिवार 8960

विस्थापित श्रेणी के गांव 69

जनपद टिहरी

पुल 56 07

स्कूल 192 103

के लिए बजट जारी

अस्पताल 08 00

प्रभावित गांव 61

आपदा के दस माह बाद हाल

आपदा के दस माह बाद भी नहीं छट सके निराशा के बादल

स्थिति अनुकूल नहीं और दो मई से आरंभ होनी है चारधाम यात्रा।

आपदा के बाद की मुंह चिढ़ाती तस्वीर-

गंगोत्री-यमुनोत्री यात्रा मार्ग पर पेयजल नहीं

बदरीनाथ हाइवे मलबा आने से लामबगड़ में पूरी तरह क्षतिग्रस्त।

बदरीनाथ हाइवे पर पांडुकेश्वर तक ही हो रही बिजली-पानी की सप्लाई।

आधे गौरीकुंड और रामबाड़ा में दोबारा निर्माण को जमीन नहीं।

रामबाड़ा से ऊपर गरुड़चट्टी और घिनुराणी में दोबारा कारोबार की संभावना नहीं।

रुद्रप्रयाग से सोनप्रयाग तक केदारनाथ हाइवे

कई स्थानों पर जोखिमभरा।

गुप्तकाशी से आगे खाट, बड़ासू व सोनप्रयाग समेत कई स्थानों पर हाइवे बेहद खतरनाक।

रामबाड़ा से केदारनाथ के लिए अब भी बिजली के पोल से बने पुल पर हो रही आवाजाही।

कर्णप्रयाग से आठ किमी दूर देवली बगड़ में हल्की बारिश से भी हो रहा भूस्खलन।

चमोली से करीब पांच किमी पहले मैठाणा में भू-धंसाव का संकट।

हिमपात व वर्षा के चलते लगातार बाधित हो रहा पुनर्निमाण कार्य।

Danik Jgaran

Uttarakhand withdraws its excise order

Ahead of the general elections in Uttarakhand, Bhartiya Janata Party scored a political victory when the state government withdrew its controversial order allegedly favouring two companies for the wholesale foreign liquor (FL-2) business in the hill state.

The BJP had last week approached the election commission against the Congress-led government for "quietly" changing the state excise policy in order to "generate election funds to the tune of crores of rupees" in the middle of the election code. Through this order, the BJP had alleged the government was trying to give the contract of the wholesale FL-2 business to only two companies.

"Following the BJP complaint, the government clarified that it has already cancelled the order on the excise policy," said Radha Raturi, the state's chief electoral officer.

On the other hand, the BJP was in jubilant mood. "This is our big victory which will be reflected in the election also," said Ajay Bhatt Leader of the opposition.

The government on March 29 issued the order stating that from June 2014, the wholesale foreign liquor (FL-2) would be sold only through two centres - one in Dehradun and other in Udhamsingh Nagar. Through this order, the government had tried to cancel the transparent wholesale liquor policy where all the big companies were entitled to open their depots in the state. But through this controversial order, the government had allegedly restricted the sale of foreign liquor through the two centres or companies only, alleged Ajay Bhatt.

"This has also meant that the government was making an under table agreement with some big liquor mafias on the lines of Uttar Pradesh," Bhatt had alleged. Bhatt further alleged the new policy would have also harmed the state's revenue in a big way as the government used to get license fees from over 40 companies through the original policy.

BS

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Notification issued for penultimate phase of Lok Sabha polls

 Notification was issued on Saturday for the penultimate phase of Lok Sabha elections to be held on May 7 in 64 constituencies spread across seven states.

A maximum of 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh will witness polling on that day. This is the first Lok Sabha election after a Bill to carve out Telangana from parts of Andhra Pradesh was passed by Parliament. The appointed date for the creation of Telangana is June 2.

Most of the parliamentary constituencies from the Seemandhra region of the state will go to polls in this phase.

Elections will also be held in 15 seats in Uttar Pradesh, including Amethi where Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is pitted against AAP candidate Kumar Vishwas and BJP’s Smriti Irani.

Seven seats in Bihar, four in Himachal Pradesh, two in Jammu and Kashmir, five in Uttarakhand and six in West Bengal will also go to polls on May 7.

Other key candidates in the contest in this phase are UP Congress chief Nirmal Khatri from Faizabad, BJP leader Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s wife Renuka from Haridwar.

Rawat had vacated the Haridwar seat after he became the Chief Minister of the hill state.

For the May 7 polls, candidates can file nominations till April 19 while scrutiny will take place on April 21. Those who wish to withdraw from the contest can do so by April 23.

The 9th and the last phase of general election will be held on on May 12 in which electorate of 41 constituencies spread across three states will exercise their franchise. The notification for the last phase will be issued on April 17.

The nine-phased polling exercise will end on May 12 and counting of votes will be held on May 16.

Indian Express