SC asks govt to allow fit taxis on Kothi-Rohtang route

The Supreme Court (SC) today passed an interim order diluting the ban on four-year-old taxis to ply on the Kothi-Rohtang route. A Bench comprising Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and PC Ghose directed the Himachal Pradesh government to test the fitness of the banned vehicles and allow them to ply if they complied with pollution and other norms.

The apex court passed the order on a petition filed by the Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union, Manali, challenging the HP High Court’s ban on commercial vehicles of more than four years’ old plying between Kothi and Rohtang.

Appearing for the union, senior counsel KV Viswanathan pleaded that instead having the age of the vehicles as the norm, the state government should prescribe the level of pollutants emitted by the taxis as the criterion for allowing them to ply. In several cases, a four-year-old taxi would not have done even 50,000 km and as such it was not fair to ban it, he contended.

The Bench said it would hear the case again after two weeks and asked the parties to file additional documents. It also asked the government to explore other options keeping in mind the interests of the taxi operators, commuters’ safety and environment.

The SC had issued notice to the state government on July 30 on the union’s petition contending that more than 75 per cent of the taxies numbering about 1,400 would go off the roads under the HC order.

The taxi owners had taken bank loans to buy the vehicles which they were still repaying and as such the HC decision would put them in a deep trouble, it was contended.

The HC had issued the order on the recommendations of the National Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), pointing out the fragile ecology in the high-altitude Rohtang area.

Source: The Tribune


Curfew in Kashmir’s Buddhist Town

Monday July 22nd, 2013 in India, News, Travel Tips | Be the first to Comment »

SRINAGAR: A curfew has been imposed in Zanskar town of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir following clashes between members of the majority Buddhist community and police.

The Buddhists are fuming over the elopement of a girl of their community with a Muslim boy.

The duo were captured by the police in Srinagar, nearly 200 kms away from their home.

Today, while the police took the girl back to Zanskar, a mob of around 500 people stopped the vehicle at Padam, demanding that she be handed over to them.

The police used force to disperse them. The girl was later handed over to her parents.

Later hundreds of protestors gathered at Phutang where they again clashed with the police. Two protesters were wounded, one of them having received a bullet.

Senior officers of the district administration have rushed to the town.

Tension has prevailed between the Buddhists and the minority Muslim community in Zanskar since a few Buddhist families converted to Islam last fall.

Source: Free Press Kashmir


Sunlight to be beamed onto Norwegian town square

Wednesday July 17th, 2013 in International, News | 1 Comment »

Rjukan (Norway), July 16 (IANS) Residents in Rjukan, a Norwegian industrial town nestled in a narrow valley in central Norway, will get some sunlight on the town square from this September, breaking a history of over 100 years of having no sunlight in winter.

If everything goes as planned, sunlight will be beamed onto the square in front of the town hall from the three mirrors erected 450 meters high on the mountainside, reported Xinhua.

The installation of the mirrors, which began July 1, 2013, has already been completed.

On Monday, workers and technicians were giving the five-million-kroner project a final touch.

For decades, residents of Rjukan, which is part of the Tinn municipality, the Telemark county, have being using the nearby cable car Krossobanen to get to the mountain top for sunshine in wintertime.

Karin Roe, chief of the Rjukan tourist office, said that people in the town will continue to use cable cars in winter although activities on the square are expected to increase.

The idea of building a huge mirror to reflect sunlight onto the town was almost as old as the town.

When he started to build the town in 1907, Sam Eyde, a co-founder of the Norwegian industrial giant Norsk Hydro, took to his heart the idea so that workers could have some sunlight in wintertime, saidRune Loedoeen, chief of the town.

“But at that time, we did not have the technology. So instead a cable car was built for the purpose,” said Loedoeen.

After five years of debate, the town council finally came up with a decision this year to invest 5 million Norwegian kroner ($823,000) to build the mirrors.

Source: Yahoo! News


Nine-seater chartered aircraft crashes in Faridabad

New Delhi: A nine-seater chartered aircraft flying from Delhi to Patna has crashed in Faridabad near New Delhi. Eyewitnesses say the plane has crashed in a residential colony in Faridabad.

Seven people, including five passengers and two crew members were said to be on board the plane. Reports also suggest there were critical patients on board.

Reports suggest the plane went off the radar at a distance of 16 nautical miles from Delhi when it was flying at a height of about 600 feet.

There are no details of casualties as yet.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/5-seater-chartered-aircraft-crashes-near-delhi-108197