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CM Rawat requests Green Bonus for Uttarakhand

Dehradun : The Chief Minister Harish Rawat in a letter written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has requested him to award green bonus to the state of Uttrakhand. This was informed by the media incharge of the CM Surendra Kumar.

He in his letter Chief Minister Harish Rawat has said that the green cover also provides service to the whole world by sequestering Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 64.8% of the area of Uttarakhand is under such forest cover and grasslands and is managed by the forest department as well as participatory local bodies called the ‘Van Panchayats’.

He added that the Thirteenth Finance Commission has only sanctioned ` 51 crores this year for the management of forests as per working plan prescriptions and hence can nowhere be considered even close to a ‘green bonus’.
He added that the government has recently increased the ex-gratia payments  to victims of man-animal conflict. Now, the dependents of persons killed by wild animals can get an ex-gratia payment of 3 lakhs instead of the earlier 1 lakh. The rates of payments to owners of agriculture land depredated by wild animals have also been increased upto ten times the earlier rate. 
The government he has mentioned despite its limited resources is spending more on the forests than the direct revenue they get out of them. The Uttrakhand government also suo motto banned the commercial felling of green trees above 1000m altitude to protect our environment sacrificing huge revenue which could have been earned out of it. We raised this issue before the Planning Commission at the time of approval of Annual Plan 2012-13 and before National Development Council Meeting held on 27 December, 2012,” the CM has further added.

CM Rawat requested Union Railway Minister to expand rail services in Uttarakhand

Dehradun : Chief Minister Harish Rawat has asked Union Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda to expand rail services in Uttarakhand as it is an important state from the point of strategic and tourism points of view. In an extensive proposal sent in this regard to the minister, the CM has said that it was also of national importance. He has sought initiation of projects approved in the last Rail Budget and to clear new proposals.

He has stated in the proposal that Uttarakhand is an international pilgrimage and tourism destination. Tourists and pilgrims from India and abroad, amounting to twice the state’s population visited Uttarakhand. Strategically, it bordered China and Nepal. China had extended its rail, road and air network right up to the border, as such, expansion of Rail Project in Uttarakhand was most necessary.

The CM apprised the Railway Minister that Gairsen is being developed as the state’s summer capital. A rail track had been approved in the last budget between Ramnagar and Chaukhutia. This was important as it made Gairsen more accessible. It would also serve strategic purposes. Apart from this, land transfer was in the last stages for the Rishikesh-Karnprayag rail track. The Tanakpur-Bageshwar railway line had been approved under the National Plan. He said that after the state government’s payment of its share of land acquisition cost for the Kiccha-Khatima line (57.7 km), the Union Government needed to act speedily on implementation of the project. He particularly urged quick action with regard to the development of the Roorkee-Muzzafarnagar rail link.
Underlining the significance of a new Saharanpur-Dehradun rail line, he pointed out that, presently, all trains from Dehradun had to take a circuitous route to Saharanpur via Haridwar-Laksar-Roorkee. The survey on the Saharanpur-Dehradun route had been completed. This would pass through Herbertpur (Vikasnagar) and provide services to the people of the Yamuna Valley, tribals of Chakrata-Tyuni, as well as the tourists. It would relieve pressure on the Haridwar route.
Last year’s budget had approved a new rail track between Dehradun and Rishikesh, the survey for which had been completed. This required immediate implementation. Similarly, the twin-tracking of the Laksar-Roorkee-Haridwar rail line was extremely important, but remained pending. Because of this, the necessary electrification of the track was also hanging fire. The single track caused delay in running of trains.
The CM also reminded that an announcement had been made in the previous Railway Budget on the Haridwar-Kotdwar-Ramnagar direct link. The Railways had also completed the survey on the Kashipur-Najibabad via Dhampur rail line. In the public’s interest it was necessary to clear this project so that the line could be used to connect Tanakpur with Dehradun. Along with this, announcements had also been made on conducting surveys on the Rishikesh-Doiwala direct link, and Haldwani-Chorgaliya, Haldwani-Reetha Sahib, Piran Kaliyar-Roorkee/Haridwar, Dehradun-Purola (along the Yamuna), Dehradun-Kalsi and Tanakpur-Jauljivi railway lines, which ought to be implemented.
The CM disclosed that it took people two days to get from Kumaon Division’s Dharchula to Dehradun, and Garhwal Division’s Chamoli-Uttarkashi to Pithoragarh-Dharchula. As such, a rail connection between Kathgodam and Tanakpur, as well as Ramnagar via Kotdwar and Dehradun, was most necessary. For this, the Railway Ministry had approved the conversion of metre gauge track to broad gauge on the Lalkuan-Melani-Tanakpur-Pilibhit-Bhojipura-Bareilly section (101.79 km). The budget for this needed to be approved. It was the only link to the strategically important Bageshwar. A new rail line had been demanded for a very long time between Tanakpur and the famous pilgrimage site, Purnagiri, a 15-20 kilometre stretch.
The CM also sought non-stop express trains from Dehradun and Kathgodam/Ramnagar to New Delhi, as well as a direct train from Ramnagar to New Delhi.
CM Rawat recalled that a combined road show had been organised two years ago by Uttarakhand Tourism, Union Tourism Ministry and the Railway Ministry in Delhi, during which participants had sought direct trains from Dehradun and Kathgodam/Ramnagar to Mumbai. Similarly, there was need to consider a tourism circuit connecting Himachal Pradesh, UP, Delhi, Dehradun, Ramnagar, Kathgodam and Tanakpur via rail routes.
The CM pointed out that use of the Meerut-Mawana-Bijnor-Najibabad rail route to connect Kotdwar with Delhi would save 8 hours journey time, instead of the present Gajraula route. He sought introduction of additional first AC and AC chair cars on the Delhi-Dehradun Jan Shatabdi, Delhi-Kathgodam/Ramnagar Sampark Kranti and Anand Vihar-Kathgodam Shatabdi trains. He also wanted a first AC bogey or half 1st and 2nd AC bogey on the Ranikhet Express for Ramnagar.
He also wanted international level modernisation and upgradation of the Dehradun, Haridwar, Roorkee, Kotdwar, Ramnagar, Kathgodam and Rudrapur railway stations taking their tourism and pilgrimage importance into consideration.
Along with this, he wanted daily train services from Kathgodam/Ramnagar to Amritsar and Jammu Tawi to serve the historic pilgrim sites of Nanak Matta Gurudwar, Champwats’ Reetha-Meetha Sahib and Purnagiri Devi. He also sought a Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi express to connect Chandigarh/Amritsar with Kathgodam/Ramnagar.
He has pointed out that there was enormous pressure on the roads of Uttarakhand making it difficult for the public and businessmen of the urban areas to get from one place to another. To reduce this pressure, he suggested strengthening of railway shuttle services between Dehradun and Haridwar, Rishikesh, Roorkee, Kotdwar and Kathgodam, aswellas Lalkuan/Pantnagar/Rudrapur/Kashipur/ Ramnagar/Bazpur/Moradabad. He also wanted a high speed service between Dehradun,Kathgodam and Lucknow/Varanasi/Allahabad, as also upgradation of bogies being presently used. Better sanitation in the trains was also demanded.
Underlining the difficulties in improving the vastly crowded pilgrim and tourism routes connecting places like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Piran Kaliyar, pilgrim sites on the Ganga, etc., the CM suggested the implementation of major projects in PPP mode. An elevated railway line could be built in PPP mode on the Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh route, which would provide better services to tourists. It would prove profitable from the FDI point of view also.