Express News Service

Train speed reduced to save wildlifeThe Indian Railways has changed the timing and speed of at least 17 trains passing through areas with prolific movement of wildlife in the state. Rajendra Singh, PRO, Izzatnagar Railway Division, North Eastern Railway, said: “The decision has been taken keeping in mind the movement of wildlife. This decision will help safeguarding the wildlife.” The move comes after the death of several elephants while crossing railway lines. In August this year, death of a female elephant and her six-month-old calf on a railway track in Lalkuan had again sparked the debate over railways running through forest areas.

State urges HC to allow more Char Dham pilgrimsThe state government has filed an application in the Uttarakhand High Court requesting to allow more pilgrims at the Char Dham shrines — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Chandrashekhar Rawat, chief standing counsel of the state government, said: “The application has sought permission to increase the daily number of pilgrims. We are ensuring that all Covid-19 safety norms are followed.” The hearing has been scheduled on October 4. The government has requested permission to increase the number of daily pilgrims at Kedarnath and Badrinath to 3,000, at Gangotri to 1,000 and at Yamunotri to 700 pilgrims. The application also stated that instead of the current arrangement of giving one minute darshan time to three pilgrims, the number can be increased up to five. 

Pvt hospitals in hill districts to get subsidyThe state government will provide 40 per cent subsidy to enterprises, individuals opting to open private hospitals in the hill districts. Officials said the subsidy would be paid in advance after the project got approval. Dhan Singh Rawat, state health minister, said: “A meeting has been called to discuss the matter. Soon the details will be finalised. This will be proved a landmark decision in the state’s health infrastructure development.” The move is expected to give a boost to the medical infrastructure in remote hill areas of the Himalayan state. 

Salt, essentials cost high in border villagesImagine common salt, which normally costs Rs 20 per kg, being sold for over Rs 100 per kg. Well, it is a reality in some border villages of Pithoragarh district, where this essential item is being sold at prices as high as Rs 130 per kg. Three village panchayats,  which comprise 13 villages on the India-China border, are facing the issue. Gokarn Singh Pangti, gram pradhan of Milam said: “Prices of salt along with other items of daily usage such as sugar and soap have reached over eight times the normal price. This has become unbearable for many residents. We need help.” The situation has arisen due to the tough terrain and scarce supplies due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

vineet upadhyayOur correspondent in Dehradun