IIT Roorkee commemorates its 173rd Foundation Day online


Dateline Roorkee: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee commemorated its  Foundation Day on 25th November through an online mode. Shri RS Pawar, Chairman, NIIT was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

The programme started with the kulgeet i.e. institute song of IIT Roorkee and a welcome address by Prof. BR Gurjar, Dean of Resources and Alumni Affairs (DORA). For the year 2020, three alumni have been conferred with the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award, whereas seven alumni were the recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director IIT Roorkee stated that on this day in 1847, the prospectus of the ‘Civil Engineering College at Roorkee’ was notified with the approval of James Thomason, the Lt. Governor of North-Western Provinces. This was also the day on which we became University of Roorkee in 1948.

Padma Bhushan Shri R. S. Pawar, Chief Guest&Chairman, NIIT, said “I extend my heartiest wishes to the entire IITR fraternity on the 173rd Foundation Day and congratulate distinguished alumnus awardees. This is the century of mind and IIT Roorkee’s faculty, students and alumni can play an important role to make significant contributions in it.”

Shri BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman BoG, IIT Roorkee said “ All of us are proud of the institute’s 173 years of a glorious heritage. We owe this to the amazing contributions of our students, faculty, administrators, and policymakers. Our teachers and researchers exhibit an unwavering commitment to their professions and devotion to academics. On this occasion, let us remember them and offer our gratitude.”

Distinguished Young Alumnus Awards

Ms. Aarti Gill (2008 – B.Tech. – Electronics & Communication Engineering)
Mr. Rahul Sharma (2012 – B.Tech. – Electrical Engineering)
Mr. Sachin Gupta (2012 – B.Tech. – Computer Science Engineering)

Distinguished Alumnus Awards

Prof. S. C. Handa (1966 – M.E. – Civil Engineering)
Mr. Raja Ram Singh Yadav (1975 – B.E. – Mechanical Engineering)
Mr. Naveen Jain (1979 – B.E. – Industrial Engineering)
Mr. Prakash Kumar Singh (1979 – B.E. – Metallurgical Engineering)
Prof. Ajay K. Agrawal (1980 – B.E. – Mechanical Engineering)
Prof. Pankaj Agarwal (1982 – B.E. – Electronics & Communication Engineering)
Mr. R. Mukundan (1988 – B.E. – Electrical Engineering)

The event concluded with the vote of thanks by Prof. Manoranjan Parida, Deputy Director, IIT Roorkee.

Bonding over art and craft


Dateline Mussoorie: In their early twenties, Mussoorie-bred siblings Kanika and Shripty Butola have been running successful social media handles showcasing handcrafted-recycled items and sketches that have won them accolades from friends and family.

Post-graduate in English, the older one Kanika Butola found her passion in clay work, tissue, recycling discarded bottles and even fry-pans. Kanika tells us, “We started handing out handmade crafts as gifts to family and friends on their birthdays and other occasions.” Encouraged by those around them, the sisters put on their thinking cap and showcased their home based art & craft creations on Facebook, Instagram and more recently on their YouTube channel ‘Kreative Kraft,’ with a sizeable number of repeat customers.

The younger one Shripty Butola is pursuing her final year M.Sc. During the lockdown Shripty found her true calling and embarked on a journey of charcoal/pencil sketching. A self-taught artist, Shripty has mastered the art of making stunning portraits of dogs, elephants and tigers. All she needs in a span of four to six hours a day at the most and a sight that inspires the artist in her. “I took a short course this summer to polish my basic sketching skills. Whenever I want to unwind, relax and take a break from my studies, I sketch,” she says.

From nature to landscape to human portraits, the young lady picks up paper, charcoal and pencils blending the two, making images that one is truly proud of. “As of now, I have no plans of taking up drawing or sketching as a profession,” adding, “I want to dedicate my time to my studies,” Shripty says without any qualms.

Though books are their priority for now, we can only hope that the Butola sisters continue to find time to create new items and charm us with their artistic skills.





Valley of Words 2020 goes virtual from 20-22nd November


Dateline Dehradun: Queenly Mussoorie is set to play the hostess to yet another edition of the Valley of Words. The three-day literary extravaganza from the 20th–22nd of November 2020 is a one-of-its-kind International Literature and Arts festival that turns four this year.

Courtesy: Sunil Silwal

The Valley of Words a.k.a VoW as it is popularly known, has gained popularity over the years as it celebrates creative expression across all genres. Honorary Curator of the event, Sanjeev Chopra, IAS explains: “In its 4th edition, the Festival will be held in a hybrid mode with both onsite and online sessions. For the past three years and counting, Valley of Words is a celebration of life, literature and all art forms. It is a very intense immersion in the world of books, philosophy and contemporary India, that is the purpose of the festival!

Despite the pandemic, VoW 2020 has gone phygital bringing together over a hundred writers, publishers, research scholars, critics, poets, artists, photographers, policy makers and academicians, philatelists from across the globe, virtually. This great line-up will share scintillating conversations with their listeners through a continuous relay of online sessions over a period of three days with a few ‘live-sessions’ thrown in as well.

Multiple sessions on Military History and Strategy, which focus on India’s borders, defence politics, international relations and artificial intelligence, the effect of COVID on society’s health and economy, World of Publishing, Wildlife, Poetry sessions, virtual book launches along with exhibitions will be a prime component of the multi-lingual and multi-genre festival.

His Holiness Dalai Lama in his blessings to the VoW festival wrote in saying, “It is good to see that in your past programs you have focused on different aspect of the Indian life and culture. I am sure, that this year, too, you will promote awareness of the rich cultural heritage of India.

Kofuku: Short film shot in Mussoorie


Dateline Mussoorie: Lights! Camera! Action! These words recently resounded in Mussoorie after a long, long time when a film crew from Mumbai shot their short film, ‘Kofuku,’ here.

Starring talented Bollywood actors Adah Sharma of 1920, Commando 3 fame and Jatin Sarna from 83, Sacred Games fame in lead roles, ‘Kofuku,’ derives its title from Japanese  for ‘happiness.’ “ The title of the movie lends its name to the theme of the movie which was shot in different locations of the hill-station over a period of two days,” says Pradeep Nagar, the Producer of the film.

Whenever I visited my friends in Mussoorie, it would make me feel rejuvenated and happy. And that is exactly what I have tried to recreate in my short film, a sense of happiness,” adds Pradeep who at present is busy with the post-production.

The 17-minute Kofuku has been shot entirely in Mussoorie, with the magical Winterline captured on camera. From the busy Mall road to the quieter and greener Char Dukan, Lal Tibba to the scenic George Everest, the crew has covered the entire length and breadth of town. A maiden venture under the banner of Suman Talkies Pvt Limited, Kofuku is slated for a Netflix release in January 2021.

For lead actor Jatin Sarna, who had visited Mussoorie in the past, the charm of the hill-station left him with wonderful memories to recall, “The sunrise and the sunsets were magical. Its environ, the people, the heritage and nature in all its glory held my attention. I felt calmer, more creative and at peace with myself as we explored new locations.”

Completely taken in by the location, the locals and its picturesque locations, Pradeep Nagar and team is already thinking of working on a Web-series and a possible feature film too, to be shot in Uttarakhand in the months to come.

Mussoorie: Let the buyer beware


Dateline Mussoorie: Long after I got my law degree, the concept of contract always remained with me. ‘Caveat Emptor’ is Latin for the principle that lays out: “Let the buyer beware.” It has stayed with me long after I have forgotten that I have a law degree.

Of recent, I have come across numberless non-Mussooriewalas who have been conned by unscrupulous carpet – baggers. It’s a lethal combination of property dealers- builders- contractors, who come together selling you a dream house or cottage.

Post the pandemic period has been witness to hordes descending upon the hill station looking for the safety of a home here. Their desperation is like honey to flies, and our dream merchants are ready to take you for a ride.

Often, you are shown forestland and are left convinced that felling trees is no big, deal. Others sell the same plot over and over again. Rest assured that you shall never have any valid water or electricity connection. With no ground water in the hills, you shall find yourself literally, a mile high in the sky.

So ‘Caveat Emptor’ is the bedrock on which you lean before you come up the hill in search of a dream place. Please do your homework before you buy anything up here. Basic due diligence will save you from later grief for sure.

Here’s a brief listing:

  • Check if there is a commercial license if you want to pick up a commercial built up
  • Check if residential plots are sanctioned or not.
  • Check if the plot is within the Mussoorie Municipality limits.
  • Remember always that the 1976, ‘Tree Protection Act,’ (Forest) Conservation Act secures the States green cover. You could end up in jail for any violations.

Caveat Emptor continues to be in operation in the State of Uttarakhand. Before you sign your agreement, check, double check and then check again. Don’t let the carpetbaggers run off with your hard earned money. Do have a look at the State SIT which functions with IG range office who had taken out a list of instruction for buyers to check before they purchased. Often the gold at the end of the rainbow is Fool’s gold. So be warned, for those haring up the hill to snap up a place, your time begins now.

Kakao: Because love and warmth can never be manufactured!


Dateline Dehradun: For Doon born and brought up,  twenty-seven year old Pavanie Gandotra it was a dream come true! In the summer of 2017, on a personal visit to Dubai the young girl enrolled in a short course in making handmade chocolates. Three years down the line and Panavie is hooked onto the art of making handcrafted chocolate delights.

Looking back Panavie tells me, “For me, it was a childhood fantasy come true. Chocolate was my comfort food. It made any occasion brighter, better and sweeter. And whenever I make chocolates, I hope that these delights add the same magic to my clients celebrations as well.”

Today, her unique flavours from chocolate added to fresh seasonal fruits; dry fruits; peanut butter, caramel, crackle, coconut, lemongrass, mint, coffee, cardamom, Irish cream and her ‘best-seller’ rum and raisin, make the treats an instant hit with her growing number of customers from not only the Doon Valley but adjoining towns as well.

Cocoa, milk and butter! These three ingredients turn into magic in Pavanie Gandotra’s  hands,” shares a repeat customer from Mussoorie.

A trained teacher by profession, when books and students weren’t keeping her too busy, Pavanie the Chocolatier found time to launch her dream project, “Kakao.” Now she balances her two rolls, one that of a teacher and then a chocolatier with equal ease, love and dedication.

Kakao handcrafted treats aren’t only pocket-friendly, they are prepared hygienically and packaged atheistically keeping in mind the clients need, which make these baked-to-perfection treats for any season, reason or occasion, a must-buy.

With festive season around the corner, Pavanie is busy putting together customized chocolate hampers and bouquets for all those who wish to add more sweetness to their festivities and happy occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc.

To order:

Connect with Pavanie on her Instagram page @ChocolatesKakao

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 083949 64225

“Nayar Valley Adventure Festival” in November


Dateline Pauri: An hour from Lansdowne, close to two hours drive from Kotdwar and a four-hours drive from Dehradun takes you to Bilkhet at Satpuli, nestled in between Lansdowne and Pauri. The quaint town is situated at 534 meters on the banks of river Nayar that lends its name to the 1st “Nayar Valley Adventure Festival,” to be held in November this year.

For those who enjoy the adrenalin rush, the thrill and the pace do book your calendar slot. From 19th-22nd of November 2020, a four-day long festival is being organised by Pauri Administration, Uttarakhand Tourism and Team of Adventure Tourism Professionals like Himalayan Aero Sports Association and Himalayan Adventure Festival to lure bikers, camp organisers, pilots, para-gliders, runners and the likes to come together to promote adventure sports and highlight the possibility of Nayar Valley making its way as a destination on the map for Adventure Tourism.

This year, the National Paragliding Accuracy Competition will be held in Bilkhet during the festival itself. Along with sports such as Paragliding, Mountain Biking and Trail running, Kayaking, Ballooning, Camping and Angling, Tandem flights, Powered Gliders are just some of the thrills that those who come to the event will witness. Those who register at the counter set up at the venue, are promised Tandem Flights and Ballooning activities as well.

Keeping in view the pandemic, the participants, a little over a hundred of them, will be tested for Covid-19  on arrival at Kotdwar and then taken to the location to partake in the four-day event.

Vinay Singh, Coordinator, focuses on the idea behind the festival reiterating the fact, “We are trying to promote adventure tourism in our state and create local employment for our youth / locals who live within the vicinity of the place.

Responsible shopping and minimize waste this festive season


Dateline Dehradun: Doon based Social Development for Communities Foundation has launched a special campaign on the occasion of Diwali titled ‘Yeh Diwali Zimmedari Wali,‘ encouraging responsible shopping and minimizing waste generation.

The campaign encourages everyone to engage in practices of reusing and reducing the waste specially during the festive week. The campaign also highlights how COVID-19 has forced us to rethink the way we interact with nature and realign our lifestyles with the environment.

Major themes like plastic waste, food waste, cloth waste and rising consumerism, reuse, recycle, responsible purchasing during the festive season will be highlighted in the campaign.

COVID-19 has forced us to rethink and change our habits. This campaign is very basic yet extremely significant. It encourages all of us to make more sustainable choices in our lives. The food we are eating, the materials that we are purchasing and the waste we are generating; all of it has a carbon footprint and an impact on our local economy. Through this campaign we aim to educate people and empower them to make green choices and benefit the nature and local ecosystem“, said Anoop Nautiyal, Founder, SDC Foundation.

The campaign is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 12 which talks about “Responsible Consumption and Production”. Tips to reduce waste generation at the household level, reuse old articles, tips to minimize use of single use plastic and how to shop responsibly will be shared. Posters, videos, storytelling, polls and surveys will spread the word. The campaign offers a choice for transforming lifestyle into a more green and lean manner.

“We want people to do away with this modern times take, make and waste culture. We want people to do as much reuse and reduce as possible at their individual level. During festivals, we often indulge in unnecessary shopping. All of this has an impact on natural resources. So, the more we indulge in responsible shopping, less pressure will be on natural resources and the environment will be less polluted“, adds Rishabh Shrivastava, Lead – Public Policy and Communications, SDC Foundation.

What the Cards Say: Dr. Khushbu Gulati


Dateline Mussoorie: Dr. Khushbu Gulati, a resident of Roorkee found her true calling in Mussoorie. Away from the humdrum of the city life, she became a part of the community and has called this place ‘home’ for the past two years.

Her journey from a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences to teaching EVS to graduate and postgraduate students, involved in research projects, mentoring postgraduate students for their internship programs to a Tarot Card reader has been a long one.

Initially, Khushbu set out to teach at a reputed boarding school in the hill-station, but now, she strongly believes that the Universe had something better planned for her. Talking about Mussoorie, she says, “I fell in love with this beautiful place, in 2007. It was love at first sight that blossomed with time. I began frequent trips to Mussoorie and Landour with my mom.

In 2019, Khushbu turned to Tarot card reading as a hobby. “It began,” she tells me, “when I took personal readings from psychics and intuitive Tarot readers. Many things from the readings actually resonated with me.” Today Khusbhu has developed a strong client-base from all over the globe, “I think that each reader has their own way of processing and channeling messages.

For the past six months and we have just begun to count, Khushbu has been exacting the art of interpreting the imagery, symbolism and story behind the 78 cards. “I started my Tarot journey with my YouTube channel Tarot Divinations in which I started giving simple Tarot tutorials for beginners. Then I moved on to do interpreting Tarot for people as well.”

What do people actually ask about? I quiz her. “Questions mostly pertain to relationship and love life, finances and career. Sometimes I even get requests for health.” Adding, “The response that I have received from my clients is very heartening. The readings have resonated with them. It gives me utter joy when I am able to bond well with their aura and energies.”

Today Dr. Khushbu has a Facebook page and an Instagram account by the name ‘Tarot Divinations.’ Roorkee’s loss has been Mussoorie’s gain and anyone who wants to get a reading from Dr. Khushbu can DM her:


Mending lives: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme


Dateline Raiwala: For fifty-year-old Savita Devi, age was just a number. The child in her would impatiently wait for the mango season when this expert tree climber, would handpick mangoes for her family. But this year, Savita lost her balance and suffered serious injuries due to the fall.

Savita was admitted at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, in Jolly Grant. After her post –examination and an MRI, doctors informed about the seriousness of her injuries, which required urgent surgery.

Since lockdown, Savita’s husband, a security guard was earning half his usual salary, “We could not think of any way of arranging for the money,” her daughter-in-law recalls. Just when the family had given up all hope, they learnt about Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme (AB PM-JAY) and its benefits. Savita Devi’s son found out that his mother was a beneficiary, and within six days of being hospitalized, Savita was operated upon and relieved from the hospital, giving her a new lease of life.

For the likes of Preeti Negi, these miracles are a daily occurrence. An Arts graduate, Preeti turned ‘Arogya Mitra’ at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh. She never imagined that her job would bring her more than just financial independence. “I have grown so much as a person. There is something about seeing and helping people in adversity that puts all else in perspective,” she says with a smile.

In the past one year alone, the young girl has helped more than two thousand people by educating them about the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme. With her bright smile, she puts worry and anxiety at rest, informing patients about the scheme and guiding them through the process of availing the scheme.

Most people that I come across are so desperate that they can hardly believe that there is even a way out,” she says, adding, “I am so glad that I can bring hope to people who have none, with just a few words,” she signs off as Preeti moves on to her next person in need.

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) : Flagship scheme of Government of India provides a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 Crore poor and vulnerable families (about 53 crore beneficiaries).

To avail benefits: Call #14555 (toll-free). Check if your name is enlisted. If it is, then you can go to any CSC or empanelled hospitals and get your e-card. Post this, all transactions with regard to availing benefits are cashless and paperless.