Monday, September 27, 2010

Uttarakhand Landslides leave 3000 Tourists Stranded in Uttarkashi


Landslides triggered by flashfloods have left approximately three thousand tourists stranded in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi District.

The tourists from various states were on their way to "Char dham yatra" to the popular pilgrimage of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

The tourists said that they do not have enough food, drinking water and money left with them.

“We are stuck here for the last four to five days. There is no facility for food and we are in a lot of trouble. We have spent all our money. The train ticket has also been cancelled. We are wondering how will we go back home,” said Ram Swaroop, a tourist.

Uttarakhand government Officials have indicated that they are making arrangements for food.
“In our district, we have made teams for every block, in which we have taken the support of everyone. Along with the revenue staff, we have also included village heads and other well-known local volunteers of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation),” said Hem Lata Dodiyal, District Magistrate, Uttarkashi.

“This is because we are worried about the fact that if the road does not open in the next two to three days, then there may be a fear of food shortage. So, we have arranged for that before hand,” she added.

Heavy rains and landslides in the Uttaranchal region have damaged the roads severely, disconnecting the routes to nearby cities and towns.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dhoni nominated as Uttarakhand's first wildlife warden


DEHRADUN: India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Sunday nominated as Uttarakhand's first honorary wildlife warden as part of the hill state's tiger conservation campaign.

An announcement to this effect was made by Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank following a meeting with the cricketer, an official release said.

Nishank also declared Dhoni as the brand ambassador of the save tiger campaign in the state which houses two major national parks -- Jim Corbett and Rajaji, which are natural habitats for tigers.

Later Dhoni welcomed the move and thanked Chief Minister in this regard. "I am lending my support to the Aircel-NDTV 'Save our Tigers' campaign.

"Uttarakhand has some of the best forests in India. I have come specially to Dehradun to request the Chief Minister to do whatever is in his capacity to ensure a safe environment for tigers and to commend him on the work done on the tiger protection," Dhoni said.

"I look forward to the corridor of Corbett-Rajaji being widened and strengthened at the earliest. I am delighted to accept the honorary wildlife warden post which has been offered to me by the Uttarakhand Chief Minister," he added.

Earlier, Dhoni handed over a charter of demands 'tiger agenda' listing steps which should be taken for the protection of the tigers especially in Jim Corbett National Park of the state.

The tiger agenda has demanded that vast area of Jim Corbett Park, Ramnagar and Terai forests should be brought under the jurisdiction of a single Field Director.

Besides, the encroachments along the banks of Gola and Kosi rivers in Ramnagar and border areas of Jim Corbett and Rajaji Parks should be removed in order to protect wildlife.

The agenda has also demanded to rehabilitate villagers of Khand village on the periphery of Rajaji Park to elsewhere and raising a special tiger protection force in the state.

During the meeting, Nishank apprised Dhoni of various steps taken by the state government for protection of wildlife and particularly tigers. He said according to the latest statistics, there are 200 tigers in the state including 164 in Corbett National Park alone.

Stating that density of tigers in Corbett National Park is just double against the national average, Nishank said there is one tiger found in an area of five square kilometre in Corbett Park.

Besides, Nishank said the mortality rate of tigers in Uttarakhand is half as compared to the national average.

Regarding setting up of special tiger protection force, the Chief Minister said that the state government has already issued a notification in this regard.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

8000 pilgrims stranded in Uttarakhand


DEHRADUN: Over 8,000 pilgrims and tourists on the Chardham Yatra are stranded following heavy downpour and landslides on Rishikesh-Badrinath and Rishikesh-Gangotri national highways in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand since Friday.

Reports reaching Dehradun said yatris on 280km-long Rishikesh-Badrinath highway are stranded after a number of landslides, including one at Shivpuri and another at Rudraprayag, damaged the road. Efforts are on to clear the road but inclement weather is hampering work.

The 300km-long Rishikesh-Gangotri national highway is also blocked after landslips and rock-falls near Bhatwari town.

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