Thursday, September 30, 2010

Central team to assess damage in U'khand

Central government teams are here on Thursday to make an assessment of the damage caused by landslides, cloudbursts and floods following incessant rains in various parts of Uttarakhand this month.

Source:http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Quick-View/690758/

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Uttarakhand: HC to Hear PIL on Power Projects on Oct 22

The Uttarakhand High Court has fixed October 22 for hearing a Public Interest Litigation challenging the cancellation of allotment of 56 mini hydel projects in the state and urging a CBI inquiry into the entire process.

While admitting a PIL filed by Dilip Bist, a two-member bench comprising Justices Tarun Agrawal and V K Bist yesterday also sought court records related to similar cases filed after the cancellation of allotment of projects by the government.

"The court has accepted the PIL and would hear the case on October 22," said petitioner's counsel A K Tiwari.

The petitioner has challenged the decision of the state government on the ground that it was repeatedly maintaining that the allotment of hydropower projects was done in a transparent manner under the power policy of 2008 and then suddenly cancelled allotments which is wrong and against the interests of the hill state, he said.

Tiwari added that the petitioner has also urged the court to hand over the matter to CBI for investigation.

The issue of allotment of mini power projects to private developers had rocked the hill state earlier this year when the opposition led by Congress disrupted the Assembly proceedings alleging wide-spread corruption in the allotment.

Later, a PIL was filed in the High Court which issued notices to the parties concerned to file a reply.

The state government, however, cancelled the entire process of allotment of hydel projects under the self-identified route on July 15, claiming there were some flaws in the advertisement published for inviting bids from the companies.

The government also said a new advertisement would be published to invite fresh bids.

A day after, the High Court dismissed the PIL describing it as infructuous in the wake of latest developments.

Outlook

Uttarakhand: The Most Happening Industrial Destination

Gone are the days when Uttarakhand was just known as a tourist destination or a religious centre. Over the last one decade of its inception, the state has been gradually taking long strides towards becoming an ideal industrial destination as well. Ideal because of the conducive industrial, labour, social and administrative environment that has been created over all these years. Known for its peace loving people and warmth in hospitality, the region opened its arms to embrace the entrepreneurs from the rest of the country and even collaborators from abroad to be participants in the long march ahead on the path of development. The march has been inclusive in nature with everyone from the villager in the remote snow clad parts of the state to the top level official and the entrepreneur being an equal partner in the endeavor. The efforts undertaken together in the last decade have proved various myths about the possibility of industrial development in the region as futile. Not only has the industry sprouted here in the forms of different hubs, it has also excelled in terms of growth. The economic, social and emotional investments of the entrepreneurs has given them good dividends and the state can now proudly claim its place on the industrial map of India.

The growth of the state as a major educational and industrial hub has worked wonders as the two sectors have been acting as ideal characters complementary to each other. The industry on one side has been happy to recruit an ideally educated and professionally trained manpower in the different units thus providing ample scope of growth and employment to the local populace. On the other hand the educational institutions have mushroomed with the confidence that there is ample scope for their students in the widening employment opportunities being offered by the industry here. Gone are the days when the youth of the state had to meander along with the rivers to the plains to find their destination.

Uttarakhand as a state has lots to offer to the industry while playing a perfect host. The policy instruments in the offing are ideal for an entrepreneur to set shop here. The government has been moving towards providing single window clearances, information and facilitation. The district and state centres of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) are there to provide all that an entrepreneur can ask for.

It is amidst such an...

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Uttarakhand--The-Most-Happening-Industrial-Destination/690304/

Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand


Mukteshwar is a spectacular hill resort lying at an altitude of 2,286 m above the sea level in the Kumaon division of the state of Uttarakhand in northern India. Located 42 km from Haldwani, 51 km from Nainital and 395 km from Delhi – Mukteshwar is a beautiful destination which must be visited while holidaying at Uttaranchal. A tour to Mukteshwar will essentially feature an idyllic holiday at this secluded retreat endowed with pleasant weather and breathtaking views of the mighty Himalayas.

Associated with a legend of Lord Shiva who gifted immortality or “mukti” to a demon that he slew, Mukteshwar was a quiet mountain hamlet surrounded by fruit orchards and dense coniferous forests. The place gained prominence when the British developed the Indian Veterinary Research Institute here in 1893. Today, the land is a celebrated scenic destination, overlooking the snow-capped Himalayas.



While on tour to Mukteshwar, enjoy scenic vistas of the Himalayan peaks of the 6596m-high Neelkantha (Blue-throated Shiva), the 7120m Trishul (Shiva’s Trident), the 7817m Nanadadevi (Goddess of Bliss), 6310m Nanadaghunti (the Veil of the Goddess), and the Panchuli Group.


The Mukteshwar Temple lying atop a rock and dedicated to Lord Shiva is another important site on Tour to Mukteshwar. Located at an altitude of 2,315 m, the temple houses a lingam made of white marble and the main shrine can be reached by stone stairs.

Another destination worth visit is the Chauthi Jali – the site marked by rocks jutting out from the hill face at a bizarre angle. This place offers amazing views of eagles and other scavenger birds swooping down on prey.

Your tour to Mukteshwar may also introduce you to some enchanting wildlife like Rhesus monkeys and langurs, deer and birds, and some rare mountain leopard and Himalayan black bear.

How to Reach
Mukteshwar lies at about 350 km from Delhi, from where it can be reached by a drive of about 8-9 hours via Nainital. The nearest rail station is at Kathgodam - about 72 km away, from where buses and taxis can be availed to reach Mukteshwar.

laces of Interest :

Mukteshwar Temple :The Mukteshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated at an altitude of 2,315 m above sea level and is accessible by stone stairs. It has a marvelloous Shivlinga all in white marble. The idols of other God and Goddess Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, Ganesh, Nandi and Hanuman surround the Shivlinga.

Chauti Jaali: Near to Mukteshwar temple is Chauti Jaali, a natural latticework on the rock. There is a belief that women who cannot conceive are blessed with a child after touching this jaali.

Indian Veterinary Institute: Established in 1898, Indian Veterinary Institute comprises of a large campus with various departments like Research, Animal Nutrition, Genetics and Bacteriology.

Methodist Church: The Church lies on the narrow path that has been cut in rock and polished over the years by the people who walk over this place to visit the church. The church is homely keeping in line with the old colonial structures around the city.

Sitla 5 K from Mukteshwar Sitla Estate is located at a height of 7000 ft in the Kumoun region of the Himalayas Spread over 39 acres consisting of dense oak and pine trees, it has a British stone bungalow of over hundred years old, To have an enchanting view of the beautiful and reverberating majestic scenes of Himalayas, tourists come in the midst of verdant orchards in the Kumaon area close to Mukteshwar,many resort and hotel are avaliable in Sitla.

General Info :

Altitude :
2,315 m above sea level
Temperature
Maximum 27 Degree Minium 10 Degree
Distance :
Delhi 350 kms, Haldwani 60 Km ,Nainital 45 Kms
Established i1898 by the Britishers as research and education institute

Hill Stations in Uttarakhand

Carved out from 14 hilly districts of former Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand is the 27th state of India. A land blessed with celestial beauty and the grace of Gods, Uttarakhand is often referred as the “Land of Gods”. The state is nestled at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas in the northern part of India, and as a result, there are several hill stations dotting the landscape. Explore the Hill Stations in Uttarakhand to enjoy an offbeat vacation amidst unexplored hills.

Most of the northern parts of Uttarakhand are part of the Greater Himalaya Ranges, covered by mighty snow-capped peaks and glaciers. Nanda Devi, standing majestically in the district of Chamoli, at an altitude of 7,817m above sea level, marks the highest point in the state. The Hill Stations in Uttarakhand offer breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayan peaks.

Most popular among the Hill Stations in Uttarakhand are Nainital, Bhimtal, Ranikhet, Mussoorie, Almora and several others. Thousands of holiday makers flock to these hill resorts in order to relax and rejuvenate in the lap of nature. The picturesque hill stations in Uttarakhand are salubrious retreats from the heat and dust of the plains, and the clean and fresh air of these idyllic destinations would soothe your mind completely.

The beautiful green surroundings of the Hill Stations in Uttarakhand will transport you to a heavenly world of their own. The hotels and restaurants at these enchanting destinations offer the best in terms of comfort and luxury.

The Hill Stations in Uttarakhand are sure to throw various delightful options to you – you can relax in the cool environs prevailing here; wander through the wooded slopes; watch the mist rise above the snowy peaks; and breathe cool refreshing air on your delightful holidays.

The hill stations in Uttarakhand promise to be an ideal getaway, for those craving for an invigorating yet peaceful holiday, away from the mundane city life.

Visit the following links to get detailed information about the numerous Hill Stations in Uttarakhand.

Almora
Badrinath
Bageshwar
Bhimtal
Bhowali
Binsar
Chamba
Chamoli
Champawat
Chaukori
Harsil
Kausani
Kedarnath
Lansdowne
Lohaghat
Mukteshwar
Mussoorie
Nainital
Pauri
Pithoragarh
Ramgarh
Ranikhet
Rishikesh
Rudraprayag
Srinagar
Tehri
Uttarkashi

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Uttarakhand employees to get e-Health cards soon

Dehradun: After handing out health smart cards to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families of the state, the Uttarakhand government is now all set to deliver these cards to state government employees and pensioners.

"These cards would be handed to them next month. This unique scheme covers around two lakh state government employees and pensioners and entitles them to cash free treatment,” a senior government official said.

Under this scheme, the government is providing cashless health smart cards to the employees for accessing hassle free medical facilities and the user does not have to worry about arranging money immediately for the check up and treatment.

The facility would be availed in the listed government and private hospitals across the country.

Till now, the state government employees are entitled to reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred on treatment and have to pay cash for treatment. A private firm— MP India —has been appointed as the technical partner for this initiative. The hospital bills would be paid from the treasury after being approved.

Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar expressed the hope that this would bring about a revolutionary change in the health care of the employees as they would not have to worry about money at any step of their treatment.

—iGovernment Bureau

Monday, September 27, 2010

Efforts to put U''khand on international tourism map

Dehradun, Sep 27 (PTI) The Uttarakhand government today said it wanted the hill state to be on the international tourism map in next five years. Speaking at a function on the World Tourism Day, Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal 'Nishank' said, "Uttarakhand has a vast potential of tourism and the government has fixed a target of establishing it on international tourism map as a model state in the next five years." Governor Margaret Alva, who inaugurated a tourism exhibition on the occasion, said the state with abundance of natural beauty has a potential to attract tourists in large numbers.

SIDCUL proposes to denotify its IT-SEZ

With private players not too keen to develop the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Uttarakhand, the State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL) is also likely to follow suit.

According to top officials, since the export scenario has still not improved considerably, the corporation is now in favour of establishing a new IT hub in Dehra Dun through the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) route claiming the scope of profitability is much better and also the companies have the option of selling products in the domestic market. SIDCUL is now sending a proposal to the board of approval for de-notifying its Sahastradhara IT-SEZ project. SIDCUL has already put a proposal to this effect before its own board.

SIDCUL has in its kitty nearly 37 acres of land near its Sahastradhara IT Park, which is also still in the process of development here. In this 37 acres area, SIDCUL initially wanted to develop an SEZ. After the downturn in 2008, SIDUCL found it difficult to go ahead with the SEZ plan.

It is also in possession of land at Sitarganj in Kumaon region for similar projects. But the government is yet to take a final decision regarding both Sahastradhara and Sitarganj projects. Parsvanath and other private players have also discarded their SEZ proposals in the state.

“There is an impressive growth of the software exports by the units registered under the STPI. The growth rate is also growing despite the downturn witnessed two years ago. So STPI is far better option now,” said the official.

Uttarakhand, which is lagging behind several states in terms of software exports, can take lead in case STPI concept gets the final nod from the government, the official added.


BS

Efforts on to find missing trekkers

KOLKATA: The Bengal tourists stranded in Uttarakhand due to bad weather have returned safely, but nine trekkers from the state who had gone to Kalindi Pass and Dhumdharkandi Pass are still missing.

A rescue team from the state is conducting search operations along with the Army. The government has blamed tour operators for "misguiding" the tourists, knowing well that weather conditions would be adverse.

Civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherjee, who had gone to take stock of the situation on the Uttarakhand-Himachal Pradesh border along with Sunderbans affairs minister Kanti Ganguly, returned on Sunday. "All the tourists have returned. However, the two teams that had gone to Kalindi Pass and Dhumdharkandi Pass are still missing," Mukherjee said.

Three of the eight-member team that had gone to kalindi Pass Anal Das, N P Rao and Arun Adak are from the state. All six members of the other team which has gone to Dhumdharkandi Pass are from Bengal. They are Sikha Das, Animesh Ghosh, Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Jayanta Ghosh, Amit Das and Pradip Bose.

TOI

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vehicular traffic resumes at Gangotri Uttar Kashi highway in Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand, vehicular traffic resumed today at Gangotri Uttar Kashi highway after the gap of ten days. According to District Magistrate Hem Lata Dhoundiyal, Yamunotri route may be also opened tomorrow provided favourable weather. Meanwhile, a rescue team has been sent in search of missing trackers of West Bengal. A Minister from Bengal is also on tour of the state in this connection. Met department has predicted that light rain may occur at higher riches and mainly dry weather in different parts of the state in next 24 hours.

HCC wins INR 660 crore hydel project contract in Uttarakhand

Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company said it has bagged INR 660 crore contract from GMR (Badrinath) Hydro Power Generation for setting up a 300 MW hydel project in Uttarakhand.

The project is a run of the river development on the Alaknanda River at Badrinath, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The company in a statement said that "HCC has been awarded contract of 300 MW (3X100) Alaknanda Hydroelectric Power Project by GMR (Badrinath) Hydro Power Generation.”

The project work is divided into two packages valued at INR 272.84 crore and INR 387.16 crore respectively.

While the first contract involves the main civil work for the dams, including diversion channels, barrages and power intakes, the second part comprises the main civil works package for MAT, a powerhouse complex, surge shaft, pressure shaft and pothead yard civil work packages for the power house complex.

The contracts are to be completed within 54 months from the date of issue of a formal notification of award. The company claimed that it has constructed over 25% of India's hydel power generation capacity, including several projects in the challenging Himalayan region.

It said that "HCC has constructed the head race tunnel and surge shaft for India's largest commissioned power generation project, the Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Electric Project (1,500 Mw), and the underground powerhouse and tunnel for the Chamera Hydro Electric Power Project, Stage I.”

The statement added that in addition, it is currently executing fourteen hydro electric power projects, including four in Jammu & Kashmir, three in Himachal Pradesh, two in Bhutan and one each in Uttarakhand, Sikkim, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Maharashtra.

(Sourced from PTI)


Health authorities issue high alert in flood-hit Uttarakhand

Apprehending outbreak of epidemic in natural disaster-hit areas, Uttarakhand health authorities have issued a high alert in the state, official sources said today.

Besides, the leaves of the medical employees have also been cancelled till further orders to deal with any problem that may come before the health department, they said.

Drinking water projects have been badly damaged due to landslides, cloudbursts and floods resulting in contamination of water and made the people vulnerable to water-borne diseases, they said.

The chief medical officers (CMOs) of all the 13 districts have been directed to remain vigilant and put their staff on alert in this regard. They have also been asked to keep sufficient stock of medicines at the district headquarters.

Over 600 tourists from West Bengal have been evacuated to safer places from remote destinations in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, even as eight person

Uttarkashi: Torrential rains in Uttarakhand have cut off large parts of the Himalayan state and pilgrims who were on the chaar dham yaatra have been stranded for days.

They don't have enough food or drinking water and most of them are forced to sleep by the roadside.

Thousands of them are stuck along the Bedi-Kedarnath and Gangotri-Yamunotri routes. They had reached Uttarakhand from different states for the holy chaar dham yaatra.

Uttarakhand floods: 600 Bengal tourists rescued; 8 still missing

Over 600 tourists from West Bengal have been evacuated to safer places from remote destinations in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, even as eight persons still remained missing.

"While 113 tourists were airlifted from Sangla to Shimla, 500 others from the state reached Haridwar via roads from Beroli this morning," West Bengal civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherjee said over phone from Haridwar.

There is, however, no news so far of the three trekkers, four porters and a guide who had gone on an expedition to Kalindi Peak and Pass in the upper reaches of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, said Mukherjee, who has gone to Uttarakhand along with another minister and senior officials to monitor rescue and safe return of tourists from the state.

"The Uttarakhand government has extended all help to the tourists in search and rescue operations and they have done everything they could in such trying circumstances," he said.

Meanwhile, the 500 tourists who reached Haridwar will be returning to Kolkata by tomorrow, Mukherjee said, adding that the Railways have updated the tickets of all these passengers and have accommodated them in the trains on priority basis.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Monsoon withdrawal from Sept 28, 29,2010

LUCKNOW: The withdrawal of monsoon from India is likely to start from September 28-29 from Rajasthan and adjoining areas. In UP, the withdrawal is expected to start between October 2-6. However, state will receive light to moderate rains between September 27 and October 2. The rainfall activity remained subdued in UP on Friday. The intensity of rains also came down in Uttarakhand. However, there will be no immediate relief from floods. All major rivers are still on the rise due to heavy rainfall in last few days in the west UP and Uttarakhand.

While flood situation in west and east UP remained grim, surging rivers also inundated several districts in the central UP, including Hardoi, Kanpur and Unnao. River Gomti was on the rise in Lucknow flooding low lying villages and localities in Itaunja, Bakshi Ka Talab and Sitapur road. The total rainfall recorded in the east UP from June 1 till date is 20% below normal but in the west it's 3% above normal. However, in the month of September so far, the west UP received almost the double of normal rainfall set for the period but in eastern parts of the state total rainfall remained 19% below normal.

The weatherman says that conditions are becoming favourable for the withdrawal of monsoon from parts of northwest India, which includes UP. The symptoms of monsoon withdrawal are cessation of rainfall activity over the area for continuous 5 days, creation of anti-cyclone in the lower troposphere and considerable reduction in moisture content in the atmosphere. Withdrawal of monsoon normally starts in the second week of September from India. It leaves UP by October first week. But this year monsoon arrived 30 days behind schedule in mid July, picked up pace in August and it rained heavily in September.

On Friday, many villages of Kanpur and Hardoi were inundated by Ganga which is on the rise due to release of water from Narora Barrage and Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand. The district administrations of both the cities claimed to have made adequate arrangements to tackle flood situation. People have been shifted to safer places. However, people complained about shortage of food and drinking water in the makeshift relief camps. The situation continued to be grim in Agra, Mathura and Baghpat where Yamuna was already flowing above the danger mark and was expected to flood more areas on Saturday and Sunday.

The district authorities in Bijnore, Rampur, Bareilly and Moradabad were taking help of army, provincial arms constabulary and para-military forces to reach out to people marooned in floods.

The National Highway 24 remained closed for the sixth consecutive day due to floods. However, other affected highways were partially opened for the heavy vehicles. A breach in Koteshwar barrage in Bijnore was being repaired. Road links to most villages have damaged, making relief operations difficult even in areas were flood water has receded. Food and vegetable prices have shot up in the flood affected districts.

TOI

Notification soon on Dhoni as honorary chief wildlife warden Read more: Notification soon on Dhoni as honorary chief wildlife warden - The Times of I

DEHRADUN: A notification on appointment of Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as honorary wildlife warden of Uttarakhand will be issued shortly, a state government official said.

Early this month, Dhoni came to Dehradun as part of "Save Tigers" campaign. Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank had then announced his nomination as the honorary wildlife warden of the state but the government did not issue the mandatory notification.

"A notification regarding appointment of Dhoni as chief wildlife warden of Uttarakhand would be issued in a day or two as we have already received approval from the Chief Minister in this regard," Additional Secretary, Forest, Sushant Patnaik said.

Meanwhile, the government is yet to grant extension to Brijendra Singh who has been the Wildlife Warden of the Jim Corbett National Park for the past four decades.

Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has, in a letter to Nishank, favoured reappointment of Singh.

"He is involved with Corbett for over 40 years and is perhaps the most knowledgeable person on Corbett," Ramesh said.

State BJP President Bishan Singh Chufal had also urged the Chief Minister to extend Singh's tenure.

TOI

Landslides, flash floods damage roads in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, Sep 23 (IANS) Widespread landslides and flash floods triggered by last week's torrential rains in Uttarakhand have cut off large parts of the Himalayan state and left hundreds of tourists and pilgrims stranded, including on the Mansarovar route.

The landslides and flash floods have claimed at least 68 lives since Sunday.

As many as 170 major and minor roads have been severely damaged, leading to complete disruption of traffic in the mountainous districts of Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Bageshwar, Nainital, Almora, Tehri Garhwal and Pithoragarh districts.

Even the main road connecting the plains to the popular hill station Nainital is closed to traffic, while the Delhi-Dehradun and Mussoorie route is also badly damaged.

Hundreds of tourists and pilgrims are stranded in different places including the Mansarovar route. 'Several Mansarovar tourists were halted in Pithoragarh and advised not to proceed further. A bus carrying foreign pilgrims on the 'char dham' yatra (four pilgrimages) was stranded in Uttarkashi for the past three days,' an official said.

However, there was some respite for a large number of villages downstream of Tehri dam on account of absence of any heavy downpour upstream since Monday. Earlier, the rising waters of the gigantic reservoir of Tehri dam had already submerged or inundated a large number of low-lying villages in Uttar Kashi district.

According to an official spokesman, 'despite no rain for the past four days, the level of the Tehri dam had not gone below the danger mark of 830 metres'.

While both power and drinking water supply was adversely affected in large parts of the hilly districts, extensive damage to crop was reported in the rich vast plains across Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar districts.

The state which draws lakhs of tourists every year from different corners of the country and abroad to the popular pilgrimage centres - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri - was now being avoided by them. 'Not a single tourist has been able to come to any of these places over the past one week since rains have caused deep cracks and washed away parts of key roads in the region,' a senior official of the state tourism department told IANS Thursday.

According to a spokesman of the state disaster management department, 'only three major roads functional at the moment are Dehradun-New Tehri, Pratap Nagar-Peepal Pani and Rishikesh-New Tehri.'

The scene in the interior and far-flung areas was much worse as disruption of movement on the roads had seriously affected the supply of essential commodities, including fuel, vegetables, and even bread.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has urged the central government to provide a special assistance package of Rs.21,000 crore to enable the flood-ravaged state to spring back to its feet.

As many as 172 people have been reported dead and 68 missing since the outbreak of the current monsoon in June.

Rescue & relief operation in full swing for flood hit Uttarakhand

(In Uttarkhand, rescue and relief operation is in full swing with the help of army and para military forces at various places of the state. Weather was clear in most of the places for the third consecutive day on Friday.

However relief work was affected in Pithoragarh following the rains. The operations for rescuing the group of 37 member Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in Gunji was again got delayed due to bad weather conditions.

The pilgrims were stranded following the collapse of the bridge in Gunji for last three days. Met department predicts isolated rain in the next 24 hours at few places.

Many roads including Badrinath-Rishikesh national highway have been opened for vehicular traffic on Friday which were blocked for the last one week.

Meanwhile, after the destruction, the relief operations were continued in the state on Friday as well. According to District Magistrate of Uttarkashi Hemlata Dhondiyal, about four hundred Yaatris were rescued from Chiniyalisaud by the National Disaster Relief Force.

Chief Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank accompanied by cabinet minister Prakash Pant has visited affected areas of Pithoragarh and Almora and directed the officials to gear up relief work.

350 pilgrims rescued from Tehri


A group of 350 pilgrims, who were stranded in Chiniyali Saur near Tehri district of Uttarakhand, have been safely rescued.

The group was on its way to the Chardham Yatra when they got trapped in Chiniyali due to rough weather, continuous rains and landslides in the region.

The state administration had launched operations to salvage them.

The pilgrims, who belong to Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and other states are now being brought to Tehri.

http://english.samaylive.com/regional/uttarakhand/676474133.html

3,000 pilgrims stuck in flood-hit Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi: Torrential rains in Uttarakhand have cut off large parts of the Himalayan state and pilgrims who were on the chaar dham yaatra have been stranded for days.

They don't have enough food or drinking water and most of them are forced to sleep by the roadside.

Thousands of them are stuck along the Bedi-Kedarnath and Gangotri-Yamunotri routes. They had reached Uttarakhand from different states for the holy chaar dham yaatra.

hat was when the landslides and flashfloods happened, leaving them beyond the immediate reach of relief teams. District Magistrate Hemlata said: “Tourists stranded will be rescued.”

Getting out of Uttarakhand is difficult for them as around 1,500 major and minor roads have been severely damaged. Even the 4 helicopters provided by Delhi are now used exclusively for transporting relief material.

With telecommunication lines also down, it's been a while since these stranded pilgrims heard from their family and friends.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Almora devastated by floods, 36 dead in district

Almora (Uttarakhand), Sep 23 (IANS) Deaths and devastation have cast a shadow on this beautiful Uttarakhand town where not even a single family has been left untouched by the havoc wreaked by the current floods and torrential rains that have claimed 36 lives here.

Heavy rains have triggered the worst floods that Uttarakhand has seen in recent times, claiming 80 lives acros the state so far. Authorities fear the toll may go up as relief workers are busy removing debris and trying to reach out to people trapped in far-off villages.

In Almora district alone, there are over 2,200 villages, of which 20 have been totally devastated.

'We have recovered 36 bodies till today. Our evacuation work is on,' District Magistrate Subardhan, working round the clock to carry out relief work, told IANS.

What has given the district officials hope is that for the first time in the past six days there was no rain Thursday. Also, the main road linking Almora to Haldwani was opened Thursday.

This news sent a wave of relief through the townspeople, most of whose houses have been destroyed by the rains. All essential commodities, including diesel and petrol, are being brought from Haldwani.

'The road opened today and trucks have started moving from Haldwani carrying diesel and petrol. They will reach here by this evening,' added Subardhan in Almora.

According to officials, 80 bodies have been recovered till Thursday noon in the state. Of these, 36 were from Almora district alone.

Giving details about the disaster, Subardhan said the maximum impact was in Balta village in Almora district where half the village disappeared on the night of Sep 17-18.

'We have recovered 13 bodies from this small village itself. They all died in their sleep. There was a landslide and the village was completely wiped out,' he added.

Subardhan said many of the schools and colleges, that have been closed for the past week, have been turned into relief camps. Around 500 people whose homes were washed away are living in the 44 relief camps set up across the town.

Although there has been no death in the main town, many of the government as well as private bungalows have suffered damage with huge cracks, or their roofs were blown off or were flooded. Most roads have got massive crevices or just got washed away.

Hema Rawat, a housewife who lives near the famed Lala Bazar here, is cheered by the fact that the road to Haldwani has finally opened.

'If the road had not opened, we would have faced major problems. We get our ration, gas cylinders and diesel and petrol from Haldwani. My major tension was about the gas cylinder. Thank god, the road is finally opening. We will be able to get food,' Rawat told IANS.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), set up in Uttarakhand's capital Dehradun, they have been able to finally reach out to more people trapped in far off places with the help of the army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and paramilitary forces.

'There was no rain since morning, but the sky is overcast. Most of the national highways are still closed. Some pilgrims bound for Kailash-Mansarovar are stuck because of landslides so we are evacuating them. We will get air support by tomorrow,' said Piyush Rautela, NDMA executive director.

After Almora, Nanital is worst affected. Nineteen deaths have been from Nanital, followed by eight in Haldwani, five in Chamoli and three in Uttarkashi.

For many villagers, there is another worry.

'Most of our paddy crop has been washed away in the floods. We don't know what to do now,' said Ranjit Singh, who lives in Kalet, one-and-a-half kilometres from here.

He said they were able to rescue a family of seven trapped in a flooded house in the nick of time. 'Their house was near the river Kosi and it was swamped by the flood waters,' he said.

Uttarakhand's mining policy comes under scanner

The Uttarakhand government’s mining policy has come under scanner following its decision to issue licences to private players in the sector despite a ban in the eco-sensitive Himalayan zone.

At the centre of controversy is a Haldwani-based company which has been given a mining licence in the hilly Bageshwar district, considered to be highly fragile and prone to landslides.

The decision has led to a lot of resentment among the Opposition, which is now seeking a review of the whole policy. The issue also came up in the state assembly, which was adjourned today amid uproarious scenes with the Opposition members alleging that the private companies were being given licences for mining in the eco-sensitive areas in gross violation of stringent environmental norms and without any proper clearances from the Centre.

The Opposition members claimed that Haldwani-based Great Himalayan Minerals and Chemicals limited was issued the licence for mining in 14.5 sq km area in Kukroli area of Bageshwar district that too without calling any tender process.

Later, parliamentary affairs minister Prakash Pant denied any favouritism in the mining policy.

BUSINESS_STANDARD

Landslides, flash floods damage roads in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, Sep 23 (IANS) Widespread landslides and flash floods triggered by last week's torrential rains in Uttarakhand have cut off large parts of the Himalayan state and left hundreds of tourists and pilgrims stranded, including on the Mansarovar route.

The landslides and flash floods have claimed at least 68 lives since Sunday.

As many as 170 major and minor roads have been severely damaged, leading to complete disruption of traffic in the mountainous districts of Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Bageshwar, Nainital, Almora, Tehri Garhwal and Pithoragarh districts.

Even the main road connecting the plains to the popular hill station Nainital is closed to traffic, while the Delhi-Dehradun and Mussoorie route is also badly damaged.

Hundreds of tourists and pilgrims are stranded in different places including the Mansarovar route. 'Several Mansarovar tourists were halted in Pithoragarh and advised not to proceed further. A bus carrying foreign pilgrims on the 'char dham' yatra (four pilgrimages) was stranded in Uttarkashi for the past three days,' an official said.

However, there was some respite for a large number of villages downstream of Tehri dam on account of absence of any heavy downpour upstream since Monday. Earlier, the rising waters of the gigantic reservoir of Tehri dam had already submerged or inundated a large number of low-lying villages in Uttar Kashi district.

According to an official spokesman, 'despite no rain for the past four days, the level of the Tehri dam had not gone below the danger mark of 830 metres'.

While both power and drinking water supply was adversely affected in large parts of the hilly districts, extensive damage to crop was reported in the rich vast plains across Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar districts.

The state which draws lakhs of tourists every year from different corners of the country and abroad to the popular pilgrimage centres - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri - was now being avoided by them. 'Not a single tourist has been able to come to any of these places over the past one week since rains have caused deep cracks and washed away parts of key roads in the region,' a senior official of the state tourism department told IANS Thursday.

According to a spokesman of the state disaster management department, 'only three major roads functional at the moment are Dehradun-New Tehri, Pratap Nagar-Peepal Pani and Rishikesh-New Tehri.'

The scene in the interior and far-flung areas was much worse as disruption of movement on the roads had seriously affected the supply of essential commodities, including fuel, vegetables, and even bread.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has urged the central government to provide a special assistance package of Rs.21,000 crore to enable the flood-ravaged state to spring back to its feet.

As many as 172 people have been reported dead and 68 missing since the outbreak of the current monsoon in June.

IANS

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

140 pilgrims from state stranded in Uttarakhand

BANGALORE: At least 140 persons from Karnataka who went on a Chardham Yatra, a pilgrimage to holy places in the Himalayas, are stranded in Uttarakhand.

Bhavani Srinath, 45, who is part of the team, called her brother VN Murthy in Bangalore on Tuesday to inform them about it. Most of travellers are from Bangalore and Mangalore.

The earthquake which shook Afghanistan over the weekend had its impact on Uttarkashi and Uttarakhand, leading to landslides which have caused road blocks. The incessant rain has worsened the situation.

VN Murthy told TOI his sister and 38 others were stranded in Joshihara for the past five days. The team of 140 people left Bangalore for Delhi on September 14 and hired four buses there to visit the holy places. From Delhi, they had moved to Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Uttarkashi. "Only 36 people are traceable now and three buses are inaccessible. It's believed they may be stranded between Yamunotri and Gangotri," he said.

Murthy said: "My sister said the roads were blocked due to landslides and the situation has been worsened by incessant rain. They haven't got any help and the food they have may last them only another day or two. We've been trying to contact them for the past six days," he said.

Murthy said those stranded should be evacuated to safer places. "We have contacted the central and state governments. We expect they'll start rescue work on a war footing," he said. As per the original schedule, they were expected to return on September 29.

TOI

Rain fury in Uttarakhand: 200 villages washed away

Dehra Dun: Rain fury continues to wreak havoc in Uttarakhand. The state, where the situation has been grim since a cloudburst on September 17, has witnessed many deaths and widespread devastation.

On Wednesday, the water level at Tehri dam breached the danger mark of 831 feet.

Nearly 200 villages and 1500 roads have been damaged by rains and landslides. Boats and jawans are trying to provide relief to those affected.

In Haridwar, one of the worst affected districts, life is slowly returning to normal. But barely 30 km away lies Sherpur Bela - one of the 40 villages that has been completel.

Relief teams have been distributing food, candles and medicines for several days. But the flood water has brought health problems too.

"People are suffering from fever, malaria like symptoms and dysentery. So we are giving Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and other medicines," said Dr Rajesh Goyal.

In Almora, efforts are still on to find the hundreds who reportedly went missing since the cloudburst.

Thousands of pilgrims are stranded in Uttarkashi, but lack of machines to clear up the roads is slowing down the rescue.

Meanwhile in Delhi, due to the continuous release of water from the Hathnikund dam in Haryana, the Yamuna is flowing at 207.05 - three metres above the danger level and the highest this year.

All trains from the Old Delhi railway station have been affected; 27 trains have been cancelled and 65 diverted.


Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com

Floods cause large-scale damage to apple crops in Uttarakhand

Floods and cloudbursts have ruined over 30 per cent of the apple crop in Uttarakhand, much to the disappointment of cultivators of the popular fruit.

"Over 30 per cent of the apple crops have been damaged in the flood and cloudbursts that have brought miseries in Uttarakhand," State Horticulture Department Director B P Nautiyal told PTI.

In monetary terms, the damage to the apple crops has been estimated at between Rs 22-25 crore, he added.

Apples are grown in 31,662 hectares areas in the upper reaches of the hill districts of Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Tehri, Chamoli and Uttarkashi in the state, which have been hit badly by floods and landslides.

The state produces about 32,254 tonnes of apples per annum on average. Prominent varieties of apples grown in the state are 'Sper', 'Red Delicious' and 'Golden Delicious'.

Uttarakhand ranks much below neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in terms of apple production. The latter two states account for almost 99 per cent of production of the fruit in the country. However, apples still feature among the prominent produce of Uttarakhand.

Nautiyal said over 10 per cent of the apples grown in the current crop year were lost in flood water, while 20 per cent were damaged due to landslides that hampered transportation of the fruit.

In New Delhi, Chamber of Azadpur Fruit & Vegetable Traders President Metharam Kriplani told PTI that arrival of apples from Uttarakhand at Asia's biggest fruit and vegetable market have stopped after flood and landslides in the hill state.

"Till August-end, 4-5 trucks (each carrying 10 tonnes) of apple used to come to Azadpur from Uttarakhand. The arrival is zero nowadays due to the natural calamity there," he added.

BS

PM announces Rs.500 crore flood aid for Uttarakhand

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday announced aid of Rs.500 crore for the flood-hit Uttarakhand and decided to send an inter-ministerial team to assess the damages.

The advance ad hoc assistance of Rs.500 crore would be in addition to funds given Tuesday from the State Disaster Response Fund.

An inter-ministerial Central team has been constituted for visiting the state to make an on-the-spot assessment of the damages, and will make its visit as soon as the state government is ready to receive it, the prime minister's office said.

Based on the assessment of the central team, further assistance would be considered, said the PMO.

The aid was announced a day after ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi spoke to Manmohan Singh, requesting a liberal package for the state after conducting an aerial survey of the worst flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Over 60 people have died and thousands were rendered homeless in the devastating floods in Uttarakhand.

The government of Uttarkhand has asked for over Rs.900 crore from the central government in its interim memorandum.

Sify.com

Rs. 500-crore relief for Uttarakhand

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday announced Rs.500 crore in assistance to the flood-affected Uttarakhand, a day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi sought a liberal package.

The interim assistance will be in addition to the money given on Tuesday to the State Disaster Response Fund, a release from the Prime Minister's Office said. An inter-ministerial team was constituted to visit the State to assess the damage. Based on its assessment, “further assistance would be considered,” the release said. — PTI

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Uttarakhand: Water level continues to rise in dams

New Delhi, Sep 21: 150 people were dead due to the cloudburst, flood, and landslide in Uttarakhand and water level in the Tehri dam continued to raise upto danger level on Sep 21.

In a memorandum to PM Manmohan Singh, a BJP party delegation demanded that Uttarakhand should be declared as disaster-struck region and a package of Rs 5,000 crore should be given to flood hit state.

Congress president, Sonia Gandhi reached Jolly Grant airport near Dehradun on Sep 21 to investigate the situation in flood affected districts in the state.

Uttarakhand CM Ramesh Pokhriyal also visited Tehri, Haridwar, Nainital and Almora region for an aerial survey on Sep 20.

However, Pokhriyal has already announced relief of one lakh rupees to families of those who lost their lives.

Rain system in Uttarakhand starts weakening

In some relief to the rain-battered Uttarakhand, the system that had created heavy rains in the hill state during the past few days has finally started weakening.

"Uttarakhand will now get rains only in very few areas," said Met Director Anand Sharma, a day after the rains wreaked havoc in the state where over 60 people were killed and thousands others rendered homeless due to floods, cloudbursts and landslides triggered by heavy rains during past few days.

The rains have also flooded most of the major rivers with the Ganga and Yamuna flowing 2 to 3 mt above the danger level.

According to Pauri district magistrate Dilip Jawalkar, more than 500 main and link roads in the district have been damaged by rains.

Houses on the banks of river Alaknanda, which has reached 536 mt, have been vacated, he said.

Monsoon rains also broke all time 44-year-old record in Dehradun yesterday by registering a 3000 mm of rainfall yesterday.

In Tehri, where the reservoir level crossed the danger 830 mt level, it has started receding as the water was being flown for the first time from the spillway of the 1000-Mw hydel project.

However, CMD of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC) R S T Sai said the dam is safe and 850 cumax of water is being released from the reservoir.

Sai also said the construction work of 400 Mw Koteshwar dam has also been stopped due to the rise in water level of Bhagirathi river.

Tehri district magistrate Radhika Jha said she had held meetings with top officials of the THDC and a high alert had already been issued for low lying areas near the dam.

After release of water from Tehri, the Ganga was flowing two to three mt above the danger level inundating scores of villages in Haridwar.

Chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank also took an aerial survey of the flood and disaster affected areas of the state.

Meanwhile, all schools today remained closed in the state.

http://www.dnaindia.com/

Overflowing Uttarkhand dams add to UP woes

LUCKNOW: Overall flood situation in UP worsened on Tuesday with nine more western and eastern districts being declared flood-hit. More bad news is in store for the state with Uttarakhand likely to release more water from Tehri dam.

Many stretches of highways connecting Lucknow to western UP and Delhi, meanwhile, remained under two to five feet water. With link roads to flood-affected areas remaining cut off, Bijnore and Bareilly authorities called Army for relief and rescue operations. Heavy rains coupled with release of a large volume of water from Kalagarh dam in Uttarakhand helped overflowing Ramganga to enter several residential areas and AIR and DD offices of Bareilly town.

AIR and DD have already suspended broadcast and telecast respectively.

The Bareilly-Badaun highway too has been flooded. After the flooding of NH 24, this NH was used for traffic coming from Delhi to Lucknow. Sources feared that this NH would also be closed, leaving only Delhi-Agra-Lucknow NH open for traffic between Delhi and Lucknow. With three more people dying on Tuesday, flood-related deaths rose to 125 on Tuesday. The ravaging rivers have affected a population of 21 lakh, besides causing extensive damage to crops over 16 lakh hectare. Besides ravaging Bijnore, the swollen Ganga has flooded over 100 villages in Badaun, Amroha and Shahabad. As boats could not reach several marooned villages, food packets have been air dropped for trapped people. However, it proved to be too little for thousands of people taking shelter on rooftops and high-rise embankments. In Moradabad, 1.7 lakh people have been affected after the release of excess water from Narora barrage and Tehri dam into the Ganga.


Read more: Overflowing Uttarkhand dams add to UP woes - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Overflowing-Uttarkhand-dams-add-to-UP-woes/articleshow/6604098.cms#ixzz10EBVwAs3LUCKNOW: Overall flood situation in UP worsened on Tuesday with nine more western and eastern districts being declared flood-hit. More bad news is in store for the state with Uttarakhand likely to release more water from Tehri dam.

Many stretches of highways connecting Lucknow to western UP and Delhi, meanwhile, remained under two to five feet water. With link roads to flood-affected areas remaining cut off, Bijnore and Bareilly authorities called Army for relief and rescue operations. Heavy rains coupled with release of a large volume of water from Kalagarh dam in Uttarakhand helped overflowing Ramganga to enter several residential areas and AIR and DD offices of Bareilly town.

AIR and DD have already suspended broadcast and telecast respectively.

The Bareilly-Badaun highway too has been flooded. After the flooding of NH 24, this NH was used for traffic coming from Delhi to Lucknow. Sources feared that this NH would also be closed, leaving only Delhi-Agra-Lucknow NH open for traffic between Delhi and Lucknow. With three more people dying on Tuesday, flood-related deaths rose to 125 on Tuesday. The ravaging rivers have affected a population of 21 lakh, besides causing extensive damage to crops over 16 lakh hectare. Besides ravaging Bijnore, the swollen Ganga has flooded over 100 villages in Badaun, Amroha and Shahabad. As boats could not reach several marooned villages, food packets have been air dropped for trapped people. However, it proved to be too little for thousands of people taking shelter on rooftops and high-rise embankments. In Moradabad, 1.7 lakh people have been affected after the release of excess water from Narora barrage and Tehri dam into the Ganga.


TOI

Sonia tours flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is on a tour of flood and cloudburst-hit areas of Uttarakhand, where 60 people have died and thousands rendered homeless in the past few days.

Accompanied by Defence Minister A.K. Antony and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, Ms. Gandhi arrived at Joly Grant Airport near here and took a helicopter to fly to the affected areas in Haridwar, Tehri and Kumaon.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had on Monday made an aerial survey of parts of the State hit by floods, landslides and cloudbursts and announced a relief of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the natural calamity.

Mr. Nishank had visited areas like Tehri, Haridwar, Nainital and Almora to asses the loss of lives and property.

At least 60 people have died and thousands rendered homeless due to incessant rains and floods during the past few days in the hill state. Mr. Nishank said a total of 412 families in 25 villages have been affected in Tehri and Uttarkashi districts by the rising waters of Tehri dam. He said over 8,000 people have been evacuated to safer areas due to floods in the state. He also demanded a package of Rs. 5,000 crore from the Centre to tackle the situation, an official statement said.


PTI

140 pilgrims from state stranded in Uttarakhand

BANGALORE: At least 140 persons from Karnataka who went on a Chardham Yatra, a pilgrimage to holy places in the Himalayas, are stranded in Uttarakhand.

Bhavani Srinath, 45, who is part of the team, called her brother VN Murthy in Bangalore on Tuesday to inform them about it. Most of travellers are from Bangalore and Mangalore.

The earthquake which shook Afghanistan over the weekend had its impact on Uttarkashi and Uttarakhand, leading to landslides which have caused road blocks. The incessant rain has worsened the situation.

VN Murthy told TOI his sister and 38 others were stranded in Joshihara for the past five days. The team of 140 people left Bangalore for Delhi on September 14 and hired four buses there to visit the holy places. From Delhi, they had moved to Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Uttarkashi. "Only 36 people are traceable now and three buses are inaccessible. It's believed they may be stranded between Yamunotri and Gangotri," he said.

Murthy said: "My sister said the roads were blocked due to landslides and the situation has been worsened by incessant rain. They haven't got any help and the food they have may last them only another day or two. We've been trying to contact them for the past six days," he said.

Murthy said those stranded should be evacuated to safer places. "We have contacted the central and state governments. We expect they'll start rescue work on a war footing," he said. As per the original schedule, they were expected to return on September 29.

TOI

More water released from Tehri dam

The Ganga today continued to rise above the danger mark, sounding more trouble for the low-lying areas of Uttarakhand and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, and damaging the under-construction Koteshwar dam.

With heavy rains pounding Uttarakhand in the past few days, the reservoir level at the Tehri dam has now crossed the danger mark of 831.45 metre, forcing the authorities to release nearly 1,200 cumax water. The state government has asked the dam authorities to release more water in order to bring down the level.

Although the Tehri dam authorities are claiming that they are releasing waters in a staggered manner, there is apprehension that the huge quantity of water from the reservoir is largely responsible for the floods in both Uttarakhand and UP.

With reservoir level still hovering around 831 metre mark this evening, the Uttarakhand government was in constant touch with top officials of the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) to discuss the threat situation posed by the reservoir. This has also raised fears in the plains regarding the safety aspect of Asia’s highest dam.

Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has already held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the rising reservoir level of Tehri dam. “Since the reservoir level has crossed 831 mark, it may create havoc in the low lying areas of Uttarakhand and UP,” a top official said.

However, THDC officials said there may not be any threat. “There is no danger to Tehri dam. It is safe. Secondly, our reservoir is meant to utilise stored water during the lean winter season,” said R S T Sai, CMD of THDC. Sai also said it is wrong to say that water from only Tehri dam has created floods in the plains and maintained that nearly 950 cumax of water is being currently released from the dam.

A high alert has already been sounded in the state. Currently, the flood waters have started flowing for the first time from the huge spillway of the Tehri dam which has already inundated the 400 Mw Koteshwar dam (which is under construction), which is the second phase of Tehri hydel project. “We are fearing huge losses as water has entered the power house of Koteshwar dam,” said D L Shah, GM of THDC.

BS

Bengal tourists get stuck in Uttarakhand floods

When Eastern Railway employee Sutirtha Mitra (34) had set out for Uttarakhand from his Howrah home about 10 days ago, he was looking forward to a trip full of fun and adventure. Little did he know that the trip will turn out to be one of the worst nightmares of his life. Along with seven friends, members of the Howrah District Trekkers’ and Mountaineers Association, Mitra had set out for a trekking expedition in Gangotri.

After the team reached Kalindi Pass near Basukital on September 16, two of the team members fell ill and five of the group retreated and reached Uttarakhand on the night of September 17. Since then, they have got stuck in Uttarkashi as all the national and state highways are closed because of incessant rains and landslides.

“Three members of our group Anal Das, team leader M P Rao and Arun Adak are still missing. A 3 km-stretch of road has been completely destroyed by the landslide. We have not been able to contact them since 16th. We have sent a letter to the district magistrate of Uttarkashi and the Disaster Management group of Dehradun. All of them have said the search teams will be sent tomorrow,” Mitra told The Indian Express from Uttarkashi on phone. His wife and six-year old son are anxiously waiting for him to return to his home at Dumurjola in Howrah.

Mitra is one of the 13 tourists from Bengal who have been stuck in different parts of Uttaranchal for last four days, since the state and national highways got closed because of rain and landslide. “We are trying to find a list of all the Bengal tourists who have gone missing. We are in constant touch with the UP government regarding those who are stuck or missing,” said A Bose, liaison officer of the West Bengal government in Delhi.

“The tourists are safe, no one is sick or injured. We are dropping food and medicines whenever and wherever required. There is no casualty. The primary and secondary schools are being used as shelters by the tourists,” Piyush Routela, the managing director of the Disaster Management board of the Uttarakhand government told The Indian Express from Dehradun. There is no mobile connectivity. Even landlines are not working at Chamoli district where Badrinath is located, he said.

http://www.indianexpress.com

Sonia seeks liberal Central package for flood-hit areas

New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday made an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and called for liberal assistance by the Centre to the people affected by inundation and cloudbursts in the two states.

Accompanied by defence minister A K Antony, she first reached Dehradun where Army officials briefed her about the extent of damage and the ongoing rescue operations after the landslide in Almora and some other areas of Uttarakhand.

Later on she surveyed the flood-ravaged districts of Bijnour, Muzaffarnagar, Rampur, Moradabad and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh before returning to Delhi.

As soon as she came back to the Capital, the Congress chief talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and suggested that the Centre assess the extent of damage in these areas and offer a liberal package to the two states to facilitate relief operations. The funds, she said, could be released through the National Calamity Relief Fund.

TOI

Monday, September 20, 2010

Centre sends six NDRF teams to Uttarakhand

Following flood havoc in Uttarakhand, the Central Government has sent six teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue and relief work to the State.

"Three teams comprising of 90 NDRF personnel along with 20 boats and other flood and rescue equipment have been deployed at Haridwar. Other three teams comprising of 101 personnel along with 25 boats and other flood and rescue equipment have been deployed at Rishikesh," an official release stated.

As on date, Rs 87.49 crore is available with the State Government in their Calamity Relief Fund/State Disaster Response Fund account.

In Bihar, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) consisting of 152 personnel along with 31 boats and equipments have been deployed in Gopalganj since Sep.16 for rescue and relief work. Additionally, two teams consisting of 66 NDRF personnel along with 12 OBM boats have been deployed in Gopalganj on Sep.19.

The Centre has informed that as on date, 1491.28 crore is available with the Bihar Government in their Calamity Relief Fund/State Disaster Response Fund account. However the final figures will be subject to reconciliation between the State Government and State Accountant General.

In Uttar Pradesh, a total of 79 NDRF personnel along with 11 boats have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh at Muradabad (39 personnel with 6 boats), Rampur (40 personnel with 5 boats). In addition, one team comprising of 40 NDRF personnel with five boats and other flood and rescue equipment have been deployed in Rampur on Sep.19.

As on date, Rs 667.04 crore is available with the State Government in their Calamity Relief Fund /State Disaster Response Fund account.

A total of over 500 NDRF personnel are presently deployed for flood Relief in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Ministry of Home Affairs is constantly monitoring the situation in close coordination with the concerned State Governments and nodal Central Ministries, the release further stated.(ANI)

http://sify.com/news/

U'khand CM Announces Rs 1 Lakh for Affected Families

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank today made an aerial survey of parts of Uttarakhand hit by floods, landslides and cloudbursts and announced a relief of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the natural calamity.

Nishank visited areas like Tehri, Haridwar, Nainital and Almora to asses the loss of lives and property.

At least 60 people have died and thousands others were rendered homeless due to incessant rains and floods during the past few days in the hill state.

Nishank said a total of 412 families in 25 villages have been affected in Tehri and Uttarkashi districts by the rising waters of Tehri dam.

He said over 8000 people have been evacuated to safer areas due to floods in the state. He also demanded a package of Rs 5000 crore from the Centre to tackle the situation, an official statement said.

Nishank directed the officials to make arrangements for reopening of all roads which have been blocked due to landslides. According to an estimate, nearly 1200 roads have been damaged so far.

He also directed the administration to provide all the essential commodities and said people should not suffer.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said army helicopters would be pressed into service to drop food packets in the affected areas of the state tomorrow.

Source:http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?694129

Tehri sparks flood scare in 1,200 villages downstream Ganga

DEHRADUN/LUCKNOW: Water levels at the Tehri dam rose menacingly following incessant rain in the hills of Uttrakhand, and the release of waters from its massive reservoir to avoid breaches threatened flooding of nearly 1,200 villages downstream along the Ganga.

But a threat of floods in the holy city of Haridwar passed, with Tehri authorities staggering flows to avoid a sudden surge. ``There is no threat to Haridwar and other nearby places. The water has started receding,'' said Haridwar district magistrate Minakshi Sundaram.

More than 55,000 cusec of water flowed into the Tehri reservoir on Monday and the release into the already swollen river systems that drain into the Ganga posed a threat to villages in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, where torrential rain has already left 180 people dead in floods and landslides.

Water has been released into the dam of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation from Bhagirathi and other rivers, raising its level to 830 feet, still 20ft short of the danger mark, THDC chief general manager AL Shah told TOI.

``But there is no imminent threat to the dam,'' he said. So far, residents of 50 villages near the dam have not been asked to shift, he said.

The flood situation remained grim in Moradabad, Bareilly and Rampur districts of western UP and also the districts of Haridwar, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar and Almora districts of Uttarakhand. Nineteen people died in UP on Monday, taking the toll to 120.

While five people died in Bareilly, four deaths were reported from Unnao and two each from Faizabad, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnore and Pilibhit, officials said. More than 500 villages are under water in the state -- most of these being in Bareilly and Moradabad divisions. Inclement weather prevented IAF helicopters, sent from Bareilly, from carrying out rescue operations in Bijnore and Uttarakhand.

Traffic on NH 24 connecting Delhi with Lucknow, which was closed on Saturday after a section near Moradabad division was flooded, remained suspended and the highway was expected to be shut until Wednesday. In Rampur, two lakh people have been affected.

About 30,000 people of Haridwar, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar and Almora districts of Uttarakhand were homeless after their houses collapsed in landslides, cloudbursts and incessant rain for the past three days.
More than 15,000 people of 335 villages in Hardwar districts are seeking shelters in nearby villages. ``We are facing real danger from the Ganga and its tributaries,'' said Mahesh Kumar, a resident of Bhagwanpur. In some villages, people are trapped inside their houses. ``Our life is in danger as we can neither stay indoors nor move out,'' said the 56-year-old resident.

The Delhi-Dehradun-Rishikesh highway been closed as roads have suffered damage near Patanjali Yogpeeth, Chutmalpur and Mohand. All link roads were also closed.

Residents of more than 100 villages in Almora district were living under the open sky after their houses were flattened by cloudbursts and landslides. Around 20,000 villagers are homeless after their houses were swept away by swirling waters of Kosi and Ramganga rivers. They are also running out of food, officials said.

Source:ET

Total devastation in Uttarakhand

There has been no respite for people in Uttarakhand on Tuesday (September 21) as the flood threat still looms large on them. While the loss of lives owing to floods in Uttarakhand stands at 65, there is possibiity of more damage as the water level in tehri dam has already crossed the danger mark. Areas like Almora, Khamoli, nainital and uttarakashi have suffered the most owing to these floods.

Around 8000 people have been evacuated from Uttarakhand as the national disaster response force moved into the flood hit areas, The Uttarakhand CM is also visting the affected areas today.

The water level of major rivers continue to rise in Uttarakhand even as most parts of the state experienced a bright sunshine, giving some relief to the region where heavy rains in the past few days had wreaked havoc killing over 60 people and rendering thousands homeless.

In Haridwar, Ganga is flowing above the danger level and has breached its embankment at Bishanpur Kundi villageinundating scores of areas like Luxor, Rayasi and Gangadaspur.

According to Haridwar District Magistrate R Meenakshi Sundaram, nearly 500 people from Gangadaspur village were rescued with the help of Army. National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel have already reached Haridwar for relief and rescue operations.

The Haridwar-New Delhi national highway has been closed for traffic at Roorkee area as landslides struck Roorkee-Haridwar road. The movement of nearly half a dozen trains on Dehra Dun- Haridwar route has been disrupted as debris from Mansadevi hills continued to fall on the railway track, Railways officials said.

The Yamuna is flowing above the danger level in Vikasnagar, prompting the authorities to issue a high alert in the area.

In Tehri, the reservoir level reached 831.05 meter and heavy discharge is being made from the 1000 MW hydel project.

The construction work of 400 MW Koteshwar dam has been stopped due to rise in the water level of Bhagirathi river, Tehri Hydro Development Corporation CMD R S T Sai said.

A high alert has been issued in low-lying areas in Tehri.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank today made an aerial survey of parts of Uttarakhand hit by floods, landslides and cloudbursts and announced a relief of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the natural calamity.

Nishank visited areas like Tehri, Haridwar, Nainital and Almora to asses the loss of lives and property.

At least 60 people have died and thousands others were rendered homeless due to incessant rains and floods during the past few days in the hill state.

Nishank said a total of 412 families in 25 villages have been affected in Tehri and Uttarkashi districts by the rising waters of Tehri dam. He said over 8000 people have been evacuated to safer areas due to floods in the state. He also demanded a package of Rs 5000 crore from the Centre to tackle the situation, an official statement said.

Nishank directed the officials to make arrangements for reopening of all roads which have been blocked due to landslides. According to an estimate, nearly 1200 roads have been damaged so far. He also directed the administration to provide all the essential commodities and said people should not suffer.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said army helicopters would be pressed into service to drop food packets in the affected areas of the state by today.

Source:http://www.timesnow.tv/Total-devastation-in-Uttarakhand/articleshow/4354277.cms

Centre likely to give Rs 60-cr flood assistance to Uttarakhand

New Delhi: A day after Uttarakhand chief minister raised alarm bells over overflowing Tehri reservoir, the Union Cabinet secretary on Monday took stock of the situation during a high level meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee.

The committee is learnt to have asked concerned central government agencies to provide all possible help to the Uttarakhand administration to tackle the flood situation in the flood-affected region. Sources said that government is likely to provide about Rs 60 crore assistance to the state for immediate relief works in the flood affected regions.

While there was no threat to the Tehri dam, which has the capacity to discharge about 13,200 cumec (cibic meter per second), the situation alarmed Uttarakhand authorities in the wake of reservoir level touching 830.8 metres as against the full reservoir level of 830 metres resulting into water spilling downstream through automatic spillway. The levels rose because of th controlled discharge of water to protect any damages to downstream 400 mw Koteshwar hydel project.

Apart from the flooding downstream, another reason for alarm was the threat to under construction Koteshwar hydel project downstream because of the uncontrolled water flowing downstream through spillway after the water level crossed 830-m mark.

Before the overflowing, the water discharge from the Tehri dam was controlled to the tune of 800-900 cumecs to avoid any damage to Koteshwar project. This additional flow through the spillway posed challenge as higher flows could delay the project beyond the planned commissioning of project which is currently slated for within next six months.

While Tehri was undertaking controlled discharge, the situation was compounded by the fact that Tehri reservoir was witnessing about 2,000 cumec inflow from upstream. However, the meeting today was informed that the situation has abated in the wake of declining trend in the inflow to the Tehri reservoir, which had dropped from 1,400 cumecs inflow in the Monday morning to about 1,100 cumecs by the afternoon.

In the wake of declining inflow into the Tehri reservoir, the committee on Monday asked the concerned authroties to disharge the water from the reservoir in such a way to bring the water levels below the full reservoir level to allow controlled discharge to ensure safety of under construction Koteshwar hydel project.

Soruce:http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Centre-likely-to-give-Rs-60-cr-flood-assistance-to-Uttarakhand/684760/

BJP asks for Rs 5,000-crore package

NEW DELHI: With heavy incessant rains and landslides wreaking havoc in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand, a senior BJP delegation, led by NDA working chairman L K Advani called on the Prime Minister on Monday.

Demanding immediate help from the Centre, the BJP leaders asked the Prime Minister to declare Uttarakhand as a disaster-struck State and the release of a Rs 5,000-crore package for the state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, stated one of the members from the BJP delegation Tarun Vijay, was ‘very responsive.’ Going beyond politics, he extended full support and all possible help in the meeting, which lasted for about half-an-hour. He directed the Cabinet Secretary to be in touch with the state authorities.

In the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, the BJP said that Uttarakhand had been struck by an unprecedented disaster with incessant rains.

In the last 24 hours, more than 61 people had died from Almora to Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Nainital and other far-flung areas.

It said that in the last one month massive landslides, floods, water logging, flash floods and cloud burst had resulted in the loss of 150 human lives and the damaging of private and public properties worth Rs 5,000 crore. In August, 18 children died in a cloud burst rendering hundreds homeless in Pithorgarh.

The delegation urged that the Western Command of IAF be directed to provide four helicopters - 2 Chetak and 2 MI 17 - to Uttarakhand government for a fortnight for food, medical and other relief-related aid.

The delegation apprised the Prime Minister of the threat from the Tehri dam, which had attained its maximum permissible level and incessant rains in the upstream of river Bhagirathi and Bhilangana presenting a serious threat.

In the downstream areas, the river Ganga had already crossed the danger level while other major rivers in the state such as Yamuna, Gomti, Kosi and Saryu, all flowing above danger level.

Besides the financial assistance of Rs 5,000 crore, the BJP leaders sought additional support to strengthen and reinforce the Border Road Organisation and also the NHAI.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Floods threaten Uttarakhand: At least 72 dead

Haridwar: At least 72 people are dead and 15 missing in Uttarakhand as heavy rain for the past five days has led to a flood-like situation.

Almora, Chamauli, Uttarkashi and Nainital are worst hit more than 25 homes washed away. Many tourist resorts near the Corbett National Park are damaged. Power and communication lines have snapped. The government has ordered schools to be shut till Tuesday.

Rising water can be seen in Rishikesh and Haridwar, as water was released from the Tehri dam. The water level of Ganga at Haridwar is almost two meters above the danger mark.

"If it breaches the 830 feet mark, there could be a deluge. The Teri dam has the capacity to hold water up to 830 feet. The Koteshwar dam will overflow as a result. Massive damage is feared in parts of Rishikesh, Haridwar and western Uttar Pradesh," said Ramesh Pokherial Nishank, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand.

The National Disaster Management Authority is sending in men and resources to rescue the marooned villagers.

100 Jawans with 20 boats from the National Disaster Response Force have been sent to Haridwar, another batch of 125 jawans and 25 boats of have been sent to Rishikesh.

With the weathermen warning of scattered rain and thundershowers in Uttarakhand, there will be little respite for a day or two.

For NDTV

Five of family killed in house collapse in Uttarakhand

Five members of a family, including four children, were buried alive and two others injured in a house collapse as heavy rains lashed many parts of Uttarakhand throwing life out of gear. The incident of house collapse took place early on Saturday when the family was asleep at Ibrahimpur village.

While Ashish (15), Shubham (11), Shashi (10), Kamal (3) and their mother Sanyogita (35) were killed on the spot, their father Kaliram (42) and sister Anjali (12) were seriously injured in the incident, officials of Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre said in Dehra Dun on Saturday.

The injured have been referred to Doon Hospital.

Meanwhile, most parts of the hill state received heavy rains with Sitarganj getting a maximum of 193 mm of rainfall in the state followed by Haldwani 160 mm, Pantnagar 116.2 mm, Nainital 108 mm, Tehri 107.8 mm, Mukteshwar 102 mm, Roorkee 97 mm and Almora 89 mm since yesterday, the Met office said.

Met Director Anand Sharma said more rains are expected to lash the hill state in the next 36 hours with the department issuing a warning for heavy rains at some places that might also trigger landslides.

The widespread rains have also broken the 39-year-old record for Dehra Dun which has so far received 2810 mm of rainfall since June 1 this year, he said.

In 1971, Dehra Dun had recorded 2763 mm of rains.

The incessant rains since yesterday have also disrupted the annual Chardham pilgrimage with national highways and roads linking them being hit by landslides at a number of places.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Munsiyari Hill Station


Munsiyari is situated in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state at an elevation of 11500 ft. The aloofness is around 120 kms from Pithoragarh. It’s not much famed tourist spot but ideal and quiet well for tourism in Uttarakhand . Once you reach there you will see a panoramic vision of high peaks like Nandakot, Nandaghungti, Rambha, Shiplakot and Panchachuli. You can take pleasure in trekking to nearby places Khalia top 10 kms, Darkot 10 kms north of Munsiyari and Birthi falls (31 kms) is a 500 metre trek from the main road leading to Munsiyari. It’s a magnificent place to visit for trekking.

The entire Johari Population of Munsiyari would drift to their summer settlements to slot in trade with the arrival of spring. Although, Johars still deal in woollens and herbs, there are a number of Johars who have turned to agriculture and horticulture. Nonetheless they all are restricted to Munsiyari alone.

Munsiyari nestles at an altitude of 2135 metres. And the whole region is known as Johar valley.

Munsiyari is a stand for treks to Milam and Namik glaciers. The trek from Munsiyari to Milam Glacier, the source for Goriganga river is intriguing. Around Munsiyari are alpine lakes of Maheshwari Kund and Thamri Kund. Munsiyari Bugyal, an alpine meadow full of wild flowers is enchanting. Khalia Top and Betulidhar are suitable for skiing.
Besides housing the tehsil head office, Munsiyari is the centre as well as the gate way of the Johar constituency.

Season: Round the year.

Altitude: 2135 mts.

Places appeal watching:

Khaliya Top & Betuli Dhar: High elevation moderate slope meadows to be found at a distance of 7 kms, from Munsiyari. Ultimate site for skiing and adventure sports. Betuli Dhar is about 5 kms, from the Munsiyari.

Madkot:
Madkot is 22 kms, from Munsiyari. Madkot has hot water springs which cures rheumatism, aching pains, skin eruptions etc.

Birthi Fall:
Birthi fall is 19 kms, from Tejarn on the Munsiyari vehicle road. Birthi Falls are moderately fabulous for its waterfalls. Wayside facilities and fast food centre is also available.
Flora and Fauna (Munsiyari)

The inferior ranges come alive at some point in spring with birds and blossoms. At lower elevation we see Jays, the whistling thrush, finches, wagtails, the hawk Cuckoo, multi-coloured Cuckoo, the Lammergier, wild Hens ,Teetar Pheasants, at higher levels the magnificent surpant eagle, the Falcon, the exquisite Monal. Leopards, Panthers. Mountain Bears and the elusive Musk Deer found only in Munsiyari region make spottingwild life. The forest are abundant mix of Pine, Deodar, Oaks, Spruce, Cypress and the flowering Rhododendrons, lots of uncommon herbs and also the Morcilla.

Source:http://uttaranchal-tourism.com/munsiyari-hill-station.html

Top 5 'Offbeat' Hill Stations in India (Photo Munsiyari Uttarkhand)


The best part about staying in India is, it’s surrounded by mountains.

Whether it’s Himalayas in the north, Sahyadri in the west (which runs till the south), The Eastern Ghats or Vindhya ranges in centre, the mesmerising landscapes of our country can serve anyone a quick getaway no matter which part of India they’re located in.

Since everyone knows about Shimla, Darjeeling, Ooty, Coorg et al, we decided to list Top 5 Offbeat Hill Stations in India, which you may want to explore: Munsiyari (Uttarakhand), Chikaldhara Hill Station (Maharashtra), Yercaud (Tamil Nadu), Anantagiri (Andhra Pradesh), Tabo Hill Station (Himachal Pradesh).

Source:http://idiva.com//http://idiva.com/photogallery-entertainment/top-5-offbeat-hill-stations-in-india/1810

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Uttarakhand mulls action against Tehri Hydro

The controversial 1,000 Mw Tehri hydel project is back in news after the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) decided to raise the reservoir level (RL) to 830 meters.

With the RL hovering around 825 meters, several villages in Chinyalisaur area of Uttrarkashi district have been inundated with the state government contemplating a move to take action against the THDC for raising the water level.

Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who took stock of the situation around the flooded areas yesterday, said the government has already sent notices to THDC in this regard. The District Magistrate of Tehri, Radhika Jha has now sought permission from the government to take action against THDC.

The government is of the view that the THDC did not take prior permission before raising the level from 810 meter to 820 meters.

On the other hand, THDC officials said the water level went to 825 meter level due to heavy rains in the catchment area of Bhagirathi river during the past one-two months.

The officials however admitted that the project was currently producing 1,060 Mw of power which is 60 Mw more than its capacity. During the lean season especially during winter, the project produces only 250-500 Mw of peaking power.

Faced with acute shortage of power, the state government has already set its eyes on the mega hydel project asking the centre to transfer the 25 per cent share of Uttar Pradesh in the dam to the hill state.

The main contention of the Chief Minister is that since the Tehri project lies in Uttarakhand, the equity of Uttar Pradesh should be transferred to the hill state. Under the provision of the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000, there is a clause under section 47(3), under which investments made before the creation of Uttarakhand should go to the state where the project is located.

Significantly, Uttar Pradesh is 25 per cent partner of the Tehri project where the centre’s share is 75 per cent.

In case, the Uttar Pradesh’s equity is transferred, Uttarakhand would get nearly 250 Mw of additional power since the Tehri dam has the current capacity of producing 1,000 Mw which has been constructed with a total investment of nearly Rs 9,000-10,000 crore. Uttarakhand currently gets 12.5 per cent of free power from Tehri dam.

Tehri dam comprises a 260.5 high earth and rock-fill dam which is one of the highest in the world. Under the first phase, all the four turbines (250 Mw each) of the project are in operation. Besides providing much needed power to the northern grid, the project has started imparting benefits of additional irrigation facility to 2,70,000 hectares of land. It is also providing drinking water for 40 lakhs people in Delhi and 30 lakh people in Uttar Pradesh.

In the second and third phases, the THDC is implementing 400 Mw Koteshwar dam and 1,000 Mw Tehri pump storage (PSP) plant.

BS

Dehradun breaks its rain record

The monsoon rainfall this year has broken a 37-year-old record in Dehradun and is headed to break the 39-year-old record as well, officials said today.

The city has so far received 2678 mm of rainfall since June 1 and is just short of 85 mm from the 1971's record when 2763 mm of rainfall was received by the Doon valley from June 1 to September 30.

"Still a fortnight of September is left and monsoon is active, the possibility of breaking the 39-year-old record seems very high," said Anand Sharma, Director of Met department here.

Significantly Dehradun is among the top cities of India which receive maximum rainfall during the monsoon season.

Nine of the total 13 districts of Uttarakhand have so far received excess rainfall this monsoon season.

Chamoli district received the maximum 92 per cent more rainfall than the average followed by Champawat (56 per cent), Bageshwar (49 per cent), Dehradun, Udhamsingh Nagar, Uttarkashi and Nainital (37 per cent), Almora 21 per cent and Tehri 20 per cent, Met office said.

Heavy rains this season have already claimed more than 110 lives and rendered thousands homeless in the state.

http://www.indianexpress.com

Uttarakhand clears new industrial proposals

After a long wait, the Uttarakhand government has quietly cleared 25-26 proposals from the industries for the purpose of expansions and new manufacturing facilities in the state.

State Industries Minister Bansidhar Bhagat confirmed the development and said the state would receive an investment of over Rs 400-500 crore through these proposals Initially, the government had received over 60 proposals from industries to set up new units or go for substantial expansion in the state. But after the expiry of cent percent excise duty exemption, a key component of the concessional industrial package (CIP) 2003 in March, the response to buy land reduced considerably. “Less than 50 per cent of the applicants finally showed interest in buying industrial plots,” a source close to the development said.

ITC was the main beneficiary under the new allotment as it got nearly 8-9 acres of land at the industrial estate of Haridwar. The sources said barring ITC, most of the other industries are not so prominent.

These industries had submitted proposals to the State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL), a nodal agency for industrial development, to buy land at industrial estates of Pantnagar and Haridwar as well as at Pharma City and Sigaddi Growth Centre at Kotdwar. All these industrial estates have been developed by SIDCUL where over 1,500 industries including top companies like Tata Motors, Nestle and HUL had set up units during the past few years with an investment entailing more than '16,000 crores.

Most of these industries had got land between 300 sq meter to 1,000 sq meter in the four industrial areas. The main rush was for Haridwar and Pantnagar where 32 acres and 75 acres of land was vacant. But most of the new proposals are only for Haridwar. For the rest of the industrial estates, there was hardly any interest shown by the industries.

Technically, the proposals should have been put before the empowered committee headed by the Industries Minister, who is its chairman. But since all the files related to these proposals were lying in the office of Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank for clearance, Bhagat was finding it difficult to make any intervention.

But following a lot of pressure from certain quarters, the government finally cleared the new proposals without making any announcement.

BS