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खनन के खिलाफ आधी सदी का कामयाब मोर्चा

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चंबा (नई टिहरी)। जहां एक ओर माफिया ने अवैध खनन के जरिये उत्तराखंड के कई पहाड़ और नदियां खोद डाले हैं। ऐसे में गढ़वाल की हेंवलघाटी के लोगों के साहस को सलाम करना होगा जिन्होंने 1962 से लगातार खनन के खिलाफ आंदोलन चलाकर माफिया के मंसूबों को नेस्तनाबूद कर दिया है। मार्ग में बड़ी-बड़ी बाधाएं आईं, धनबल, बाहुबल का इस्तेमाल हुआ लेकिन आंदोलनकारी न टूटे, न झुके। खनन तो दूर क्या मजाल कभी कोई एक पत्थर भी उठा पाया हो। इस आंदोलन के कई अगुवा तो स्वर्ग भी सिधार गए हैं, लेकिन यह आंदोलन 2014 में भी पूरे जोश के साथ जारी है। कटाल्डी गांव में खनन का पट्टा सरकार ने दिया है। ग्रामीणों के विरोध के बाद बीते साल टिहरी के डीएम ने खनन को क्षेत्र के लिए नुकसानदेह बताकर अपनी रिपोर्ट शासन को भेजी थी। शासन स्तर से मामला अभी लंबित है। इस बाबत ग्रामीण एक बड़ी बैठक बुलाने की तैयारी कर रहे हैं। विस्तार से देखें..

सौजन्य से: अमरउजाला

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Four Gram Panchayats in Uttarakhand joined forces to oppose a cement plant.

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When Basanti Devi entered the village of Bachwadi in Uttarakhand’s Takula block on one of her routine visits, she knew that something was wrong. Instead of the normal hustle, groups of men stood about talking quietly. She asked them what the matter was.

Basanti and the Gram Panchayat
Basanti Devi was on a  secure enough footing with the men of the village to ask them what was troubling them. After all, for the last five years she had been visiting them regularly. Her visits enabled the creation of women’s groups, helped them open bank accounts and generally allowed them access to a better, more dignified life. Inspired by her, the women of the five villages in that gram panchayat had pledged to protect their forest and stringently applied measures to minimise lopping. As a result of this, today the once-degraded forest was coming back to life. This  also resurrected the once-diminished stream that issued from the forest. If this were not enough, Basanti-di’s entire life and her long association with the Lakshmi Ashram were proof that she could be relied upon. Read more..

Courtesy: India Water Portal

What you’ve read about the recent Vedanta hearing was wrong

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On 30 July, in the town of Lanjigarh in the district of Kalahandi, Odisha, district authorities and the Odisha State Pollution Control board organised a public hearing to discuss the potential expansion of an alumina-producing facility in the town. Sesa Sterlite, a subsidiary of the Vedanta group, was seeking environmental clearance to expand its 1 million tons per annum (MTPA) refinery to a capacity of 6 MTPA. The public hearing is a mandatory step in this process, and is the only formal space for local participation in a project’s clearance.

After the meeting, government authorities and company officials rushed to declare the hearing for the expansion “a success,” and told journalists that villagers supported the expansion. This was duly reported through news agencies, such as Reuters and PTI, and carried in leading papers, such as the Economic Times and the Business Standard, within hours of the hearing. A video news story uploaded to YouTube—on a channel called “Lanijigarh News,” where that video is the sole upload—a few days later reinforced this perception, asserting that the hearing had been a smooth affair. Read more..

Courtesy: The Caravan

Himachal’s Kinnaur to have solid waste management system

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SHIMLA: In a bid to save fragile ecology of tribal Kinnaur district located along China border, Kinnaur district administration has decided to launch door-to-door garbage collection scheme besides setting up a solid waste disposal plant. But before that a sensitization and awareness programme would be launched during which efforts would be made to know total garbage generation in the district.

Scientific disposal of garbage in remote areas of Himachal Pradesh is unheard of till date and now Kinnaur district is going to show the path. In this regard a beginning was made on Monday when a seminar for major stakeholders was held in district headquarter of Reckong Peo.

Solid waste management nowadays is highly advanced in developed world but it is still primitive in Himachal Pradesh and the advanced technology has not percolated in our state so far.

According to sources Recong Peo town too is continuing with an outdated solid waste management system where in SADA has placed outdated steel dust bins at different locations of the town in an unplanned fashion. Read more

Courtesy: Times of India

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve to start community-based ecotourism

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CHANDRAPUR: More perks are in the offing for those who are planning for safari in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) this summer. After successfully opening two new tourist circuits in buffer area, the park management is now focused on launching community based ecotourism from Jhari and Jaiti Tukum villages of buffer.

These two villages will offer the facility of accommodation and food along with safari in core and buffer area of TATR from this tourist (summer) season. While entire tour to Tadoba (including safari, lodging and boarding) is quite costly if tourists opt for private tourist resorts, this community based ecotourism will offer all the facilities at very economical cost.

Tourists opting for this ecotourism package will get wild card entry into TATR and will face no disappointment for failure in securing entry tickets or advance booking for safari. Tadoba management will provide reservation in entry for certain number of vehicles operated by the villagers through ecotourism scheme.

“Each of the villages will offer four rooms, including two VIP suites, for accommodation at cost effective rates. Variety of delicacies, with advantage of regional and local cuisines, also at economical rates will available in the boarding facility. Canter-buses specifically meant for safari with reserved entry will be available for tourists opting for ecotourism package,” said deputy director (buffer), TATR, P Kalyankumar.

He claimed that tourists preferring only safari into TATR can also take a seat in bus service offered by the EDCs at cost effective rates. Community ecotourism of Jhari will operate from Jhari gate, while that of Jaiti Tukum will operate from Kolara gate of the tiger reserve.

Kalyankumar held that entire ecotourism operation will be handled by eco-development committees (EDC) of respective villages. “Entire earning through the scheme will go to respective EDCs and will be in turn utilized for development of the village. The move will also provide employment to the local people. This approach will boost the partnership between forest department and the EDC in protecting forest and wildlife,” he said.

He claimed that as Jhari village already has rooms that could be used for lodging facility; the ecotourism service from this village is likely to start in first week of March. Similar set-up in Jaiti Tukum will be ready and operational from April.

“The rooms available in Jhari are being renovated for tourist accommodation. Bus (Canter) for the safari will be purchased by pooling in eco-development funds of four neighbouring villages. Villagers will also be trained in cookery and hospitality through capacity building workshops,” he said.

Sports cycles for tourists

More adventures are on cards for the tourists in buffer area of TATR. Park management has plans to offer sports cycles on hire to the tourists staying at ecotourism facility at Jhari and Jaiti Tukum. They can amble around in the village and nearby places at their leisure time. Authorities also have plans to offer hiking adventure on game trail in buffer jungle, again through local EDCs in coming days. Similarly they are also contemplating to offer safari in the buffer forest on decorated bullock carts for tourists.

Costa Rica: Community-Based Tourism

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Upon stepping out of the airport, I walked into a sea of taxi drivers, scrambling to get the attention of tourists. I thought I should save a few bucks and commute by public transportation, but a similar group of drivers were enshrouding the bus stop.

I told them I was going to look around the surrounding shops and did not need a ride immediately. “Make sure you come find me later, remember to find me,” said a driver with a desperate look in his eye.

I ended up forgetting to find that same driver, but the driver I did leave with was not any wealthier. He was not a licensed taxi driver, working from a beat up, grayish-blue Toyota that had no meter.

It must be hard to make ends meet when your pay check is determined by how many tourists come by as you wait by sweltering bus stops day in and day out.

Yet, as we stopped at a red light, the driver rolled down his window and handed money to a beggar! It was the first, but not the last time that I was taken back by the kindness and sincerity of the locals.

A white crane hunts for fish at Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, on Jan.14. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

A white crane hunts for fish at Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, on Jan.14. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in this world that has managed to escape the plague of war over the centuries. Perhaps a peaceful history shapes altruistic traits in people.

Although Costa Rica is technically a third-world country, it is has one of the richest bucolic landscapes and well-preserved wild life.

The downside for most beautiful destinations, such as Honolulu or Cancun, is that they are heavily commercialized. Commercialization not only renders it difficult for visitors to experience anything authentic, but the native cultures and lifestyles also end up changing to meet the preference of tourists.

Certainly many parts of Costa Rica are commercialized, yet this small country the size of Delaware nurtures an initiative that most vacation spots do not—community-based rural tourism. This type of tourism allows visitors to adapt to the local lifestyle rather than the other way around.

A hang bridge at the Tenorio Volcano National Park rain forest on Jan. 18. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

A hang bridge at the Tenorio Volcano National Park rain forest on Jan. 18. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

Since it can be difficult to earn money in Costa Rica, community-based tourism allows you to not only take from a local experience but also give back to local economies and farmers.

There is an abundance of rural communities, natural reserves, and indigenous territories in Costa Rica that have not altered their way of life despite mass tourism. Instead of chain tourism companies, these tours are run by the locals.

Instead of the routine picture snapping stops at tourist sites, I went hiking with a local guide who showed me native greenery such as the sleeping mimosa, a plant that shrinks into a fold when it is touched.

The Two Playa Hermosa

The Playa Hermosa, which means “beautiful beaches” in Spanish, certainly lives up to their name. Although they are both lovely beaches, be careful not to confuse the northern Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste from the Playa Hermosa in Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

Bijagua de Upala, a small town on the volcanic mountain range of Northern Costa Rica on Jan. 18. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

Bijagua de Upala, a small town on the volcanic mountain range of Northern Costa Rica on Jan. 18. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

Costa Rica has put tremendous efforts into preserving its natural habitats. More than 25 percent of the country is under protection, either as national parks, indigenous reserves, forest reserves, or wildlife refuges.

The National Wildlife Refuge is very close to the Playa Hermosa in central Costa Rica. Green Turtles hatch eggs there from July to December.

Although there is no wildlife refuge at the northern Playa Hermosa, I still caught sight of a fair amount of animals that you would not typically see at beaches. At the far end of the beach, where there are less people, I watched a wild white crane hunting for fish by the shore as dusk was setting in.

Bijagua de Upala, a small town on the volcanic mountain range of Northern Costa Rica on Jan. 18. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

Bijagua de Upala, a small town on the volcanic mountain range of Northern Costa Rica on Jan. 18. (Amelia Pang/The Epoch Times)

The northern Playa Hermosa is a quiet, quaint beach, where the local restaurants close by 10 p.m. But its neighboring beach, Playas del Coco, is packed with souvenir markets and a lively nightlife.

Although Playas del Coco is flooded with tourists, again, at the far end of the beach, I got to swim next to sea pelicans as they bobbled in the waves, scooping fish.

Courtesy: The Epoch Times

Community-Based Care Reduces Readmissions, Cuts Costs, Study Finds

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A CMS pilot program aimed at leveraging community-based health care successfully lowered 30-day readmission rates and all-cause hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries over a two-year period, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationKaiser Health News‘ “Capsules” reports.

Study Details

For the project, health care providers, social service workers and other community members established flexible quality improvement organizations in 14 economically and demographically diverse communities (Rao, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 1/22).

The researchers compared their performance with 50 communities without QIOs before the community-based interventions were implemented — between 2006 and 2008 — and when implementation was in progress — between 2009 and 2010 (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 1/22).

Study Findings

The study found that 30-day hospital readmission rates declined by 5.7% over a two-year period (“Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 1/22). Specifically, mean 30-day readmission rates per 1,000 beneficiaries fell from 15.21 in 2006 through 2008 to 14.43 in 2009 and 2010, while rates in the 50 comparison communities declined from 15.03 to 14.72 during the same periods (Modern Healthcare, 1/22).

The researchers noted that community-based transition care prevented 1,800 readmissions over 18 months, as well as an additional 6,800 new hospital admissions among those beneficiaries after 30 days (Booth, Denver Post, 1/22).

Meanwhile, community-based transition care also reduced all-cause hospitalizations by an average of 5.74%, compared with a 3.17% average decrease in the 50 comparison communities (Modern Healthcare, 1/23).

Overall, the researchers wrote that in an average community with 50,000 beneficiaries, Medicare could save $4 million annually on hospital readmission costs for every $1 million spent on community-based interventions.

Study co-authors Jane Brock — a coordinator at the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care’s Medicare QIO — and Joanne Lynn — a director at the Altarum Institute’s Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness — noted that unlike most research projects, which maintain the same set of evidence-based practices and protocols throughout the study period, the pilot communities were able to modify their programs as they worked to meet their specific community needs (Kenen, Politico, 1/23).

Proportion of Hospital Readmissions Remains Steady

Despite the declines, the researchers noted that there was no change in the rate of 30-day readmissions as a percentage of hospital discharges (Modern Healthcare, 1/22). Lynn said that the proportion of readmissions remained the same because the program lowered both 30-day readmissions and Medicare hospital visits.

According to Politico, this could pose a problem for quality and incentive programs that are based specifically on measuring readmission rates, such as those being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (Politico, 1/23). Link detail

Courtesy: California Healthline

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