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Date: 12 February 2019

No fresh snow, Auli unlikely to host games this year too and Other News

Uttarakhand News
News

Click on the links below for details

No fresh snow, Auli unlikely to host games this year too

15 step out of cars in Corbett Tiger Reserve, fined Rs. 5K each

Snowfall cripples life in remote Uttarkashi Villages

Pantnagar flight door opens mid air

Fresh Snowfall blocks over 12 roads in state

55k ha forest land diverted across country for development work

No fresh snow, Auli unlikely to host games this year too

Uttarakhand News


Repeated attempts by the state government to organize winter games in Auli have not borne fruit in the past. And this year as well, the ski destination seems unlikely to host the games as the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) has denied permission for the games at Auli, citing lack of infrastructure and no hopes of fresh snowfall.

A state government official said that WGFI has expressed concerns that the infrastructure in Auli is not good enough to host national and International players and the tracks can also accommodate only a few of the international level games.

The officials said that , "A meeting is scheduled with the officials of WGFI in Delhi on Monday but the games are unlikely to be held this year as chances of fresh snowfall in Auli are very low after this month." Auli has not held winter games for last four years. It hosted the National Skiing Championship in 2014-15 and the last international event was the South-Asian Skiing Championship in 2011-12.

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15 step out of cars in Corbett Tiger Reserve, fined Rs. 5K each

Uttarakhand News


The Corbett Tiger Reserve administration has slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 each on 15 tourists for stepping out of their vehicles in the reserve during a day safari and then walking back to the exit. The tourists, who hailed from Hisar and Panipat in Haryana had taken a day safari to the Jhirna zone of the reserve on Friday. Corbett Tiger Reserve director Rahul said, "The group complained to the administration that the guide and drivers had misbehaved with them."

He added, "We conducted an inquiry and found that the tourists had stepped out of the vehicles inside the protected area which had let to an altercation with the guide and the drivers. The tourists then walked back. Getting out of the vehicle inside the protected area is prohibited to ensure safety and security of wildlife and tourists."

He added that the fines for the group members had been imposed under section 28 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Speaking about the incident, Ram Singh, the tourist guide who accompanied the group, said, "The group did not listen to us when we told them not to get out of the vehicle. There are only a few designated spots where one is permitted to step out of the vehicle."

Meanwhile, Surinder Singh, a tourist from Panipat who was fined said that "We are not aware of the rules and therefore we did this thing in ignorance. We will ensure not to repeat this." Tourists have been fined by Corbett authorities for violating guidelines in the past as well, especially for flying drones in the restricted area.



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Snowfall cripples life in remote Uttarkashi Villages

Uttarakhand News


Heavy snowfall for two consecutive days has crippled routine life in nearly six dozen villages in Uttarkashi district. Residents said due to inclement weather, roads have been blocked and electricity, drinking water and communication facilities have also been affected.

Mori block in the district is the worst affected with nearly 42 villages situated in Govind National Park region loosing connect with the Uttarkashi district headquarters. Besides, heavy snowfall has also blocked roads connecting 20 other villages in Ganga and Yamuna Valleys.

According to a district disaster management report, half a dozen management roads, including Gangotri and Yamunotri national highways had been blocked due to snowfall. Besides, electricity supply to Doni, Bhitri, Sewa, Masri, Liwadi and Fitadi villages of Mori block had been disconnected.

Drinking water supply to four villages, including Pindki and Madesh of Barkot region had also been affected. Chain Singh Rawat, a villager in Mori region, said, "The region has received the heaviest snowfall in this season owing to which roads have been blocked. With no electricity and water supply, our lives are becoming very difficult here. There is no respite as we have also started facing shortage of ration."

Meanwhile, the district magistrate (DM) said that roads would be cleared soon. DM Ashish Chauhan said "I have called a meeting of all the concerning departments to review the overall situation of snow affected villages. Following this, we will take action in the matter. I have also directed the concerned departments to restore road connectivity, electricity and drinking water facilities at the earliest so that villagers are not inconvenienced."



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Pantnagar flight door opens mid air

Uttarakhand News


The Pantnagar-Pithoragarh flight made an emergency landing at Pantnagar airport just five minutes after take-off on Saturday afternoon. While officials claimed that the sudden landing was due to a technical snag, passengers on Ėboard the nine-seater aircraft said that the door o the plane opened mid air creating panic among the passengers.

Lokesh Bora, a passenger, said that "Just five minutes after the take-off around noon, the door of the aircraft suddenly burst open and air started gushing in. All of us were so panic stricken that we didnít know what to do. There were two children on-board who started crying profusely. I have taken so many flights but have never faced such a situation in my life."

He added "I was going to meet my mother in Pithoragarh. But now because of this incident, I had to cancel my plans. If the government wants more people to avail of flights on this sector which has been recently started, they should first ensure safety of passengers."

Echoing similar sentiments another passenger, Pankaj Chand said, "I was on board the flight with my family and it is a miracle that we are still alive. I am so shocked that I still canít forget the trauma." Confirming the snag, Pantnagar airport director SK Singh said, "The aircraft operated by Heritage Aviation made an emergency landing on Saturday die to some technical problem. We are looking into the matter. Meanwhile, all flights between February 10 and 12 have been cancelled."

He, however, denied claims of the aircraft door opening mid-air. Notably, since its inauguration on January 17, the much anticipated flight service, connecting the Garhwal and Kumaon regions has been marred in controversies due to frequent snags and resultant cancellations.



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Fresh Snowfall blocks over 12 roads in state

Uttarakhand News


Following the overnight spell of snowfall in the upper Himalayan region, over a dozen roads, including the Gangotri and Yamunotri national Highways, got blocked on Friday, 8 February 2019, impeding traffic movement at several places.

Efforts by Border Road Organizations (BRO), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Public Works Department (PWD) to clear the roads were hampered by the constant snowfall. According to disaster management department, heavy snow accumulated ahead of the Gangnani area slowing down the traffic movements at Gangotri highway. Commuters faced similar woes at the Yamunotri highway as well.

Over a dozen link roads, including Harsil-Mukhba, Gangnani-Bhangeli, Kamad-Ayarkhal, Badethi-Banchora, Kunwa-Kafnol, Arakot-Sirtoli also got blocked due to the heavy snowfall. Besides this, the electricity and drinking water supply has also got affected in the remote villages of Mori block bringing the daily life of the people in the region to a standstill. District disaster management officer Devendra Patwal said that, "Few roads were restored by BRO, NHAI and PWD on Friday morning."



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55k hectares forest land diverted across country for development work

Uttarakhand News


In the last five years, 54,648 hectares of forest land was diverted for over 2,988 development projects across the country. Of this, 2,850 hectares of forest land was diverted to 255 development projects in Uttarakhand in the period between January 1, 2015 and February 5, 2019.

The details were part of a parliamentary question answered by the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, Mahesh Sharma, in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The question was asked by Om Birla, BJP MP from Kota, who sought details of deforestation due to development projects. According to the ministerís response, the maximum forest land diverted was in Madhya Pradesh where 12,785 hectares was diverted to 241 development projects, followed by Telangana, with 9m420 hectares.

Among other states that witnessed huge forest land diversion were Andhra Pradesh with 3,474 hectares, Chhattisgarh with 3,793 hectares, Gujarat with 2,009 hectares, Maharashtra with 3,797 hectares, Odisha with 4,968 hectares, Punjab with 1,524 hectares and Rajasthan with 2,834 hectares.

Under the Forest Act, 1980, forest areas can be diverted by the environment ministry for non-forestry purposes like mining. In lieu of the land, money is collected by the government which is then used by the authorities for afforestation. Meanwhile, reacting to the deforestation done in Uttarakhand, which has over 70% forest cover, Dehradun based social activist Udit Ghildiyal said, "The land size allotted to the number of projects presents a grim picture of how development is taking a toll on the forest cover of our state. A simple calculation of five years tells us that every year; Uttarakhand lost around 570 hectares of forest land. "



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