The Geological Survey of India has recommended the demolition of whatever buildings remain standing near the Kedarnath temple after last summer’s flash floods and landslides. The recommendation in the GSI’s stability analysis report, aimed at protecting the temple, brings relief to the government. The Kedar Tirth Purohit Samaj had been urging the government to allow reconstruction of damaged buildings near the temple. With the KTPS enjoying the indirect support of the BJP, besides a following of its own in three assembly constituencies, its demands had put the government under pressure, but the recommendation gives it a ground against reconstruction. The GSI has recommended relocation of the existing Kedarnath town by about 1 km south of the temple.
CMs who’D be MPs
Three former chief ministers, B C Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank”, could become BJP candidates for the Lok Sabha. Aware of the possibility, Khanduri has started spending time in Pauri Lok Sabha constituency, currently held by Congress leader Satpal Maharaj. The BJP is considering Nishank as its candidate from Haridwar while Koshyari’s name is under consideration for Nainital. One argument for fielding all three is that it would preempt infighting among their loyalists in the faction-ridden party.
Uttarakhand will get a new principal chief conservator of forests next month. The incumbent, R B S Rawat, retires on January 31 and the primary contender is a 1979-batch IFS officer, S S Sharma, who is next on the seniority list. Since more than 70 per cent of Uttarakhand comprises forest areas, the post of PCCF is considered a politically important one in the state government. Uttarakhand has seven sanctuaries, six national parks and three conservator reserves. Sharma himself is due to retire in 2015.
The forest department has started preparing a detailed project for conservation of snow leopards, which are found in Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi. Officials said snow leopards were first caught on a camera installed at Nanda Devi Biosphere back in 1990 and there are fresh indications about their being present at high altitudes in several districts of the state. The primary concern of the forest department is to save them from poachers, a source in the department said. “We are concerned about poachers, who have international links,” the source said.