Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Mussoorie Tourists will have to Pay Eco Tax


NAINITAL: It may not be good news for tourists but for Mussoorie it could literally mean a breath of fresh air. The Uttarakhand government has decided to introduce eco tax upon entry into the Queen of Hills with immediate effect, which is a first in the history of Mussoorie. It will be in line with the Naini lake tax charged from tourists in Nainital.

The tax of Rs 100 from heavy vehicles and Rs 30 from cars and jeeps — will be levied by Mussoorie Municipal Board either through its employees or contracted agents from motorists at Kolhukhet — Mussoorie’s entry point. Those planning to spend their holidays at Uttarakhand’s most pictureseque resort should now be ready to cough up ecological tax as their mite towards preserving the pristine greenery of the region.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, chairman of Mussoorie Municipal Board, O P Uniyal, said each private bus will be charged Rs 100 whereas the driver of a small vehicle will have to pay Rs 30 per entry. Two-wheelers will pay Rs 5.

“The decision has been taken. The government will strictly endorse these taxes with immediate effect,’’ said chairman Uniyal.

The objective is to collect revenue for preserving the town’s environment, its heritage, apart from maintaining its sanitation and cleanliness. The money will be spent on encouraging plantation and educating tourists against using plastic while in Mussoorie.

“We don’t know whether the new tax will get good response or not, but we have done this to help preserve Mussoorie’s beauty and eco-system without causing any setback to tourism,’’ said a senior IAS officer in Dehradun.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Uttarakhand Women Earn a Living Out of Forest Produce


Chamoli (Uttrakhand), Sep 8 (ANI): Women of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand are rolling out herbal incense sticks and coal under the guidance of the district's forest department.

They have formed various self-help groups to reap profits out of herbal environment friendly incense sticks and coal from leaves.

Aranyam, an eco and herbal centre in the district has appointed a few self-help groups to roll out these items.

The incense sticks are being prepared from lemongrass whereas the fallen leaves of Cheer Trees, which spreads fire in the forest are being utilised to making coal. Such attempt also helps in avoiding such fire related incidents in the forest area.

" Till this date, people were dependent only on agriculture but to improve our economic and living conditions, we have started such self help programs. Here we make coal and incense sticks," said Bina Rawat, woman belonging to a self-help group.

On a regular basis, these women prepare around 1000 packets of incense sticks. They claim to generate enough income.

"We have been benefited a lot as we earn enough money after selling the incense sticks and the coal," said Sunita Devi, another women.

Every woman earns almost 70 to 100 rupees in a day.

The forest department official of the district said that such centre has been established to provide employment opportunities to people by utilising the forest produces.

"This centre has been established while keeping in mind to provide employment opportunities to people through the forest produce," said Sanatan, District Forest Officer, Alaknanda forest department, Chamoli.

In a way, these herbal items benefit both the ecology and the people but it still awaits recognition by the government.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Uttarakhand Annual Plan size Fixed at Rs 5,574 Crore


The Planning Commission approved the annual plan outlay for Uttarakhand for the year 2009-10 at Rs 5,574.7 crore.

The plan was approved at a meeting between Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister R P Nishank at New Delhi. Last year, the plan size was Rs 4,775 crore.

This includes additional central assistance of Rs 400 crore for the Maha Kumbh Mela at Haridwar that will be held next year.

Commenting on the performance of the state, Ahluwalia said the growth rate was good and even plan expenditure was encouraging.

“Ahluwalia was very positive about Uttarakhand,” a top official here said.

Nishank said emphasis would continue on social sector and this was clearly reflected in both the Eleventh Plan and the Annual Plan proposals.

Nishank said that the Centre should supplement efforts to bring Uttarakhand at par with other developed states.

He said the tax holiday period should be extended up to 2020 to keep up the present pace of industrialisation in the state.