Saturday, February 27, 2010

Junagadh History Saurashtra Gujarat India

For hundreds of years now, this lion-faced state has been a natural abode of the
jungle king. Lions were hunted in large numbers in northern and western India in 19th century. Gir Jungle was their last refuge because the Gujaratis protected them.

It is on sound scientific counts that Gujarat is resisting Centre’s move to shift lions from Gir to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh. While the Nawab of Junagadh City was among the first to bring in regulations to protect lions in the 19th century, the idea first came from Ashoka the Great in 257 B.C.

Ashoka’s rock edict at Girnar Mountain talks about preservation over 2000 years back. If Gujarat had also killed the Asiatic Lions, the emblem of India would not have been those magestic four Asiatic lions, standing back to back. The symbol is taken from Sarnath, Ashoka capital. It’s a great work of art and a symbol of India’s pride, made possible only because Saurashtra protected the prides of lions in a corner of the peninsula.

After Gujarat was born in 1960, the government formed a lion Gir sanctuary in 1965. In 1975, Gujarat government conceived a special project for the protection of Gir Wildlife Forest area and declared it a national park.

But only with the support of local people, the number of lions has gone up. According to the 1968 census, there were 177 lions, which went up to 350-360 in 2005.

The Gujarat government formed a committee to tackle the menace of lion poaching and a Rs 40 crore five-year plan was chalked in 2007-08. Gujarat Inc too has pitched in with financial support.

Junagadh Videos – Girnar Hills waterfall

Above is Amazing Junagadh Video from Girnar Taleti Hills area, which I got from mine one of the best nature lover Kathiyavadi friend named is Ankit Shukla and currently living in Historical Junagadh City.

Want to thankful to him.Hope all blog visitors will like this video.

Jay Saurashtra

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Girnar Parvat Mountaineering Competition Junagadh City News Gujarat India

At 21st February 2010 morning, Girnar Mountaineering competition of climbing and coming down of mount Girnar, of the national level was hold and approximately 153 Competitors of India’s 10 States were participated from those 101 competitors are of Gujarat State itself.

Since last two years, there are two type of Girnar Parvat Climbing Competition has organized by Gujarat’s Department of Yuva Sports and Cultural Activities,

(1) Open Gujarat Level Competition
(2) National Level Competition

But on dated 21st February 2010, Shri Fakirbhai Waghela, the State’s Sports Minister will gave flag off at 7.30 a.m. to the competitors to march which was National level competition which live demonstrated by the means of about 12 C.C.

The entire process of the competition including climbing and coming down of the steps of the mountain, by the competitors will viewed face to face by the people with help of 22 digital cameras under VAIFAI system will be done from Garvo Gadh Girnar Parvat.

Government has arraigned to take insurance for all the competitors. The awards will be given as under :

(1) The competitor ranking first Rs. 40000

(2) The competitor ranking second Rs. 25000

(3) The competitor ranking third Rs. 15000

(4) The competitor ranking fourth Rs. 10000

(5) The competitor ranking fifth Rs. 5000

(6) The competitor six to ten Rs. 1000.

Moreover other prizes like trophy, shield, certificate, memento, T-shirts, etc. will be awarded to the competitors.

As Junagadh Tourism Development Point of View, above is one of the most important events for Junagadh City and for all Kathiyavadis from all around the world.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Junagadh Amreli Kutch Bhavnagar Surendranagar Districts Milk Unions News Gujarat

Over 11 lakh liters of milk per day on the lines of the Amul movement by over 2,500 village level milk unions in Saurashtra are collecting and strengthening agricultural economy of the region.

These unions came into being with the efforts of the milk producers following the closure of the Gujarat Dairy Development Corporation (GDDC) in 1991.
These unions are linked to the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the apex milk marketing body in the cooperative sector through their respective district unions under a three-tier system. They are now giving a better price to the milkmen in Junagadh District, Amreli District, Kutch District, Bhavnagar District and Surendranagar district.

Ramsinhbhai Bhetariya, the chairman of Junagadh District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited (JDCMPUL) said in a statement that the milkmen were being paid between Rs 325 and 335 per kg of fat for the milk supplied by them. The milkmen were not getting fair prices for their milk after the union set up under GDDC shut down due to financial crisis, he said.

Bhetariya said though the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) started operations in the region after an agreement with the state government, the milkmen did not benefit much because NDDB functioned more like a private company. It was due to this reason that some of the leading milkmen came forward and set up the cooperative milk unions with their own effort. Now, there are 2,503 unions, of which 1,519 are registered, he added.

He said the milk collection will increase further as plans are being finalized to set up bulk chilling centers in Kutch. The milk unions, Bhetariya said, provide subsidised cattle feed, artificial insemination and veterinary services, besides others to the milkmen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Agriculture Universities Gujarat India – Anand Dantiwada Junagadh Navsari City News

After the Gujarat State Government failed to implement UGC’s Chadha Committee recommendation on Sixth Pay Commission, approximately 1,500 lecturers and professors observed ‘pen-down’ protest on Saturday in all over Gujarat.

As Gujarat is well-known as one of the rich state in “Farming”, there are main four Agriculture Universities Gujarat India — Anand Agriculture University (AAU), Dantiwada Agriculture University(DAU), Navsari Agriculture University(NAU) and Junagadh Agriculture University(JAU).

But as the state government has taken no initiatives to upgrade the salary of teaching class, the Agriculture University Teachers Association (AUTA) has, however, decided to wait for the state government decision till February 23.

As I read the interview of AUTA president Y C Jhala at one of the famous news site, he said that, “It has been 10 months that the Indian Council of Agriculture Research too has suggested UGC Chadha Committee’s recommendations to the HRD ministry. However, the state government has not taken any steps to revise our salaries. There are thousands of students studying in our universities, which are specialised in one of the rarest fields such as dairy technology.

Navsari and Anand Agriculture University (AAU) vice-chancellors and agriculture universities action committee conducted the meeting in the evening and has asked AUTA to wait till February 23. We will be meeting state Agriculture minister Dilip Sanghani after we discuss the matter with the Gujarat State University Teachers Federation on Sunday.”

Today is 23th Feb.-2010 and we all means all Gujaratis have to wait for the Gujarat State Government’ Valuable Decision. Its mine kind request to all mine Kathiyavadis Blog Readers that “Please Keep in touch about this Latest Agriculture News Gujarat India

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kesar Mangoes Keri Talala Junagadh District News Gujarat India

In 1920, Gordhanbhai Sanghani was the first farmer to cultivate the Kesar Keri Variety in Talala town in Junagadh district, which is now known as the hub of one of the juiciest varieties of Kesar mangoes. Around a century later, his grandson Dayabhai has departed from the tradition and has begun cultivating cashewnuts — soon to be followed by other farmers.

Given the fact that this dry fruit fetches better returns than mangoes — with almost nil maintenance — it is fast catching up the attention of the other farmers. Little wonder, the land of juicy mangoes will soon be yielding cashew nuts.

“I have grown cashewnuts on 15 bighas and expecting the first yield. I plan to increase the cultivation area by 100 bighas,” said Dayabhai.

Jasmat Rola from Dhavagir village in Talala Taluka, has a similar story to tell. “I have grown cashewnut on 15 bigha that had turned almost barren. I got 600 saplings from the Konkan University,” he said.

Rola said many farmers have approached him for saplings and have decided to try the alternative to the kesar crop. “We at the Talala Marketing Yard are thinking seriously to set a systematic channel for marketing cashewnuts,” said Sardarsinh Chauhan, a member of the Talala Marketing Yard.

An official at the district horticulture department said the trend is picking up, but the crop cultivation is in the initial stage. The cashew trees yield fruits 10 years after the saplings are planted.

It was the frequent failure of the Kesar crop that forced the Talala farmers to look for an alternative.

“For more than a decade now, every alternate season, the mango cultivators have been facing problem of scanty yield due to unfavorable climatic conditions like less rains, unseasonal downpour or short winter season. Besides, maintaining a mango farm is an expensive affair. All these factors have forced farmers to look for other options,” said Chauhan.

“Growing cashew nuts is very different. The crop does not need plenty of water. Moreover, excessive heat or short winters do not affect it,” said Dayabhai.

But, cashew nuts cannot be an alternative for small-time farmers. “One needs to wait for at least 8 to 10 years to get the first yield. On the other hand, it can be cultivated even on barren type of land,” said Rola. Once the yield begins, a cultivator can expect at least 20 kg of cashew nuts per tree per season. As many as 40 trees can be grown on a bigha without much irrigation or use of pesticides or fertilizers.

Cashew nuts are not a regular crop in the state except in some parts of south Gujarat.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Asiatic Lions Sasan Gir National Park Wildlife Junagadh District News

Here it’s really good news for all natural lovers especially from Gujarati of Garva Gujarat that, proposal of Union minister for forest and environment Jairam Ramesh's offer for tigers in lieu of lions likely to reject by Narendra Modi Gujarat Government.

Main reason was behind that the neighboring state Madhya Pradesh would walk away with all its tourists who come to Gujarat to see the Asiatic lions in and around Gir National Park.

Every year Gir Forest and Devalia national park visited by Over one lakh domestic and international visitors. Retired wildlife official GA Patel said that "Gujarat will have to strongly oppose the transfer on technical grounds.

The state has a strong point as tiger and lions cannot stay together". Sanat Chauhan, another wildlife veteran, said, "Tourism in Gujarat would be affected as MP just wants to create a small lion safari which would be a big draw."
Madhya Pradesh already has tigers in Kanha, Bandhavgarh and other sanctuaries.

If Gujarat Government accept this offer than as per mine opinion as one Kathiyavadi from Saurashtra, we surely have lost!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bhikhudan Gadhvi Sangeet Natak Akademi Award Junagadh News Gujarat India

Veteran folk tale artist 62-year-old Shri Bhikhudan Govindbhai Gadhvi

He will get the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2009. His is one of the 33 names and one and only name from Gujarat India announced by the General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi for year 2009’s Akademi Puraskar.

Born in Junagadh District’s Manekwadi village near Keshod Taluka, Shri Gadhvi is active on stage for last 41 years. He started narrating folk tales in public when he was just 20. Bhikhudhanbhai’s 350 audio cassettes including ‘Bhadanu Makan’, ‘Khandaninu Khamir’ are super hits in Saurashtra belt. He has given his programme in countries including America, Britain, and Indonesia among others.

Shri Gadhvi said, “I was informed by Academy yesterday via telegram about my inclusion for the prestigious award.”

When asked from where he learned the skill of folk literature, Shri Gadhvi said he used to read Shri Zaverchand Meghani and Shri Dula Bhaya Kag with great interest in his teen-age. When he grew up he started exploring the land of Saurashtra himself to learn more about the folk culture and treasure of folk literature. “This exploration went on for years and it’s still going on,” said Shri Gadhvi.

Shri Bhikhudanbhai will be receiving Shri Dula Bhaya Kag award at Shri Kag’s native village Majagar by Shri Morari Bapu on 18th February, anniversary of Shri Kag.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wildlife Lovers News about High-tech gadgets for Sasan Gir National Park Asiatic Lions

Below news really good news for Wildlife Lovers especially for Asiatic Lions (Sorath No Sinh) from Gujarat India because declination to give Gir Lions to Madhya Pradesh for their relocation in Kuno-Palpur sanctuary last week, Now Gujarat Government try their level best for better care of Asiatic Lions. Please continue to read this Sasan Gir Lions Samachar (news) from Junagadh District that,

Gujarat government is in the process of introduction of high-tech gadgets like GPS, automated sensor grid and night vision devices to make the jungles safe in an effort to strengthen Asiatic lion conservation at Gir National Park after poaching incidents of 2007.

"Based on the recommendations of the task force, we are in the process to introduce these high-tech gadgets in the Gir forest for the lion conservation. We have identified technology partners for the development of communication systems based on GPS “Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Pradeep Khanna said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sasan Gir Forest National Park - GIS for Asiatic Lions

In a first, the state Sasan Gir Forest Department will be using Geographical Information System (GIS) for census of Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest National Park from April 25 to 30.

Unlike in earlier methods, the department will not be using baits for the census this time.

Nearly 450 beat guards have been identified as enumerators for the upcoming census.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Pradeep Khanna said, “We are opting for GIS mapping to prevent redundancy and bring in more accuracy in counting.”

According to Khanna, in the last census, a total of approximately 360 lions were reported at the Gir sanctuary.

“We will not use baits this year. We have not used the system for two consecutive terms. We have trained our staff to follow simply the sighting system,” he said.

The preliminary survey for probable locations of sighting lions has already begun at the sanctuary.

Forest officials said, “We will also identify lions by their scars, which is a specific method for some animals that are found close to human habitats and those away from the area.”

Khanna said: “The GIS system will help the Forest department to do away with the tabular form of saving the Asiatic lion census data. It will also facilitate the department to bookmark Asiatic lions habitat including changing trends and seasonal patterns.”

According to officials, new methods will be a combination of the earlier ones. “The census will be done in three parts. First, it will be counting, followed by rest for the staff and lastly the collation of sightings,” said forest officers.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sasan Gir National Park Sanctuary Junagadh District News Gujarat India

The Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi government will not make any compromise when it comes to Asiatic lions found only in Gujarat's Gir reserve forest. Not even when it a friendly and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government's fervent request for relocating one or two prides of lions to Sheopur district.

Before the Supreme Court, the Modi government through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi on Thursday raised as many as six objections to the Centre's almost decade-old proposal to relocate some lions from Gir to a 300 sq km forest at Kunopalpur in Sheopur district of MP.

Though the Modi government virtually signalled burial of the plan, the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government would not mind giving a final try as its counsel senior advocate Soli J Sorabjee said both sides would sit down and try for a solution.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices B S Chauhan and C K Prasad gave four weeks time to report back about the outcome of the last ditch attempt to make the relocation project workable and even suggested taking out an insurance package for the lions.

The Centre's plan, devised to save lions from a potential future disaster that could wipe them off as all of them are concentrated in the Gir forest, involved relocating two prides of lions numbering between 12 and 16 to Madhya Pradesh.

Amicus curiae Raj Panjwani informed the Bench that residents of as many as 24 villages falling within the identified area have been relocated in 2003, but the plan mooted by the Wildlife Insitute of India and approved by the National Board for Wildlife was still hanging fire.

Rohtagi said the state's opposition to the plan was based not on political but on solid environmental grounds. He said even the wildlife experts feel that lions could not be relocated to experimental surroundings already habited by tigers.

He said the number of Asiatic lions was increasing in Gujarat because of comprehensive action against poachers and the friendly villagers in and around Gir who do not wreck vengeance even if a lion occassionally mauled a bovine animal. In contrast, the tiger population in the jungles of MP were dwindling fast because of poaching and shrinking habitat, he added.

Rohatgi also objected to the relocation project being continued for 20 years. "It is not a question of taking away one or two lions. What they want is a continuance of the exchange programme for 20 years, which is not feasible," Rohatgi said.

The study for the relocation of some of the Asiatic lions to MP took into account the disaster some years back in Seringeti forest in Africa where a disease -- canine distemper -- wiped out 80% of the lion population within a short span.

Rohatgi said this apprehension has been taken care of as the state has already started building a second home for the Asiatic lions at a safe reserve forest in Girnar Parvat area.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Somnath Temple Maha Shivaratri Festival Junagadh District News Gujarat India

Over one lakh devotees are expected to offer prayers at the famous Somnath temple in Junagadh district on the auspicious occasion of 'Maha Shivaratri Festival’, sources said.

"The darshan for devotees began early in the morning and nearly one lakh devotees are expected to offer prayer at the Somnath Mandir, which is one of the Jyotirling," sources in the Shree Somnath Trust, which manages the temple said.

Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who is the chairman of the Somnath Temple Trust, was among those who offered prayers, they said.

Meanwhile, a procession is to be taken out later this evening in Junagadh City, where a fair will also be held to mark the festival.

Sadhus from across the country will be participating in the procession before taking a dip in 'Mrug Kund Bhavnath Temple' in Junagadh Town, sources said.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mahuva Taluka Bhavnagar District Nirma Cement Plant News Gujarat India

Natural resources belong to people, govt only a trustee for future and present generations, allotment can be cancelled if industry violates environmental rules, says panel

Around 1,000 Saurashtra Villagers from across Gujarat participated in a public hearing on the issue of arbitrary land allotment by the state government to the industrial houses, at the Gujarat Vidyapith on Sunday.

A panel of experts at the hearing has made certain recommendations on the issue, which will be forwarded to the Centre and the Gujarat State Government. No invitee from the state government was present during the hearing though.

Villagers from Kutch District, Bhavnagar District, Junagadh District and elsewhere presented their concerns over the state government’s move to allot public and agricultural land to industrial houses. Some of the important issues, which were raised at the hearing, include the allotment of a substantial portion of land, which has been identified as a water body, to Nirma Company Ahmedabad City for a proposed cement plant in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar district.

The villagers also raised their concern over other such allotment for setting up mining, cement, nuclear plants and SEZ projects, before the panel. They explained how the arbitrary allotment of fertile agricultural land has, or can cause serious environmental, food security and employment related problems for them.

Dr Syeda Hameed, a member of the National Planning Commission and a member of the panel said: “There is a lot of merit on the representations made by the villagers at the hearing which have to be heard by the authorities with the utmost urgency.”

For the absence of the invitees from the state government at the hearing, she said it is very disappointing that nobody is present to hear the people’s concern at the hearing.

Among other things, the panel has recommended that Gauchar and wasteland are common village property that cannot be allotted to any private body or a company, and that it should be restored to the gram sabha.

The panel also recommended that the allotment of land should be cancelled if the industrial house has been found violating environmental and other rules.

The panel also held that natural resources belong to the people. Under the doctrine of public trust the government is only a trustee for the future and present generations. As such these resources should be protected.

Other members of the panel were nuclear physicist Dr Surendra Gadekar, Gandhi Peace Foundation Chair person Radha Bhatt, Gujarat Vidyapith VC Dr Sudarshan Iyengar and senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Parikh.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bhavnath Temple Mela Fair Shivratri Festival Junagadh City News Gujarat India

This year at, Bhavnath Mela, Cultural events to add excitement.

Government of Gujarat has organized variety of events during Maha Shivratri Festival Fair 2010 of Bhavnath Mandir in Junagadh City this month.

The cultural programmes will be kicked off in the evening of 8th February. Shree Hariom Pancholi group will present a Shiv Tandav Natika.

On 9th February evening, shri Kirtidan Gadhvi, Rasik Bagthariya and Haji Ramakdu will present Alakh Ni Aradhana programme. On 10th February Shri Dhirubhai Sarvaiya will present laughter programme. On same day shree Bharatdanbhai Gadhvi will present folk tales.

On 11th February, Shri Hardev Raval, Manjulaben Goswami and Mansuridas Desai will present Lok Dayro.

Meanwhile Junagadh District Administration has fixed rickshaw fair during Bhavnath Temple Fair.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kesar Mango Keri Talala Junagadh District News Gujarat India

Unlike last year, when poor flowering of mango trees had reduced the fruit’s crop in the state, growers in Gujarat are expecting a bumper mango crop this summer. The flowering season of mango trees is at its peak and, according to horticulturists, mango trees in the state have flowered satisfactorily. In fact, the flowering has been so timely that nearly 80% of the crop has already started budding.

Kesar Mango growers are confident that even if the weather turns hostile for a short period, the size and quality of the crop will not be adversely affected. Last year, bad weather had spoiled the prospects of the mango crop from the very beginning, making the fruit very expensive for ordinary people.

“As nearly 80% of the flowering has already taken place, we believe we will have a good mango crop this year,” said DP Patel, a horticulture officer in Valsad. It is worth mentioning that Valsad City is the heartland of Alphonso (Hafoos) production. Alphonso is the most sought after mango variety of the state.

Mango growers, however, say that the first two weeks of February will be very crucial. If the weather does not deteriorate, mangoes will be available this year in abundance and at affordable prices.

Ajit Desai is chairman managing director of Desai Fruits and Vegetables, a leading fruit exporter of Navsari. He said the problem with the mango crop last year started with the flowering.

“There was only 20% to 25% flowering last year,” he said “But this time it looks normal. Therefore, we expect the volume and quality of the mango crop this year to be fine.” Desai, too, said that everything depends on the weather conditions in the next 2-3 weeks.

“The crop of the local and exotic varieties of mangoes in the state will also be good this summer,” said MC Varshneya, vice-chancellor of Anand Agricultural University. “Good weather conditions for the mango crop prevailed in December. That has helped a lot.”Even in Saurashtra, where Kesar Keris are grown on a large scale, growers of the fruit are expecting a good crop this season.

Kesar growers in Junagadh and Talala, too, are optimistic. “If the weather continues to cooperate, you can expect Kesar from Junagadh and Talala Taluka to arrive in the markets in May,” said Dhirubhai Bhakhar, president of Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Junagadh District. “But we can’t say anything about prices at this juncture.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Velavadar Black Buck National Park Bhavnagar Junagadh District News Gujarat India

Wildlife lovers have a reason to cheer. For, a recent population count of blackbucks in Velavadar Black Buck National Park (BBNP) has reported a 10 per cent increase in its number, which was once down to as low as 200 in the region.

The population estimation of the majestic wild animal -- one of the schedule I endangered species in the country -- was conducted on January 30-31 by forest department.

According to forest department officials, there were 3,950 blackbucks reported, which is 10 per cent higher than 2005's census figure of 3,590.

Conservator of forests, Junagadh Circle (Wildlife), MM Sharma told TOI, "The reason behind the increase in population is due to proper protection of wild animals and increased protected area."

Furthermore, it's noteworthy that among the 3,950 animals, 2,308 numbers have been reported from outside the national park area and in ecological zones. In the 2005 census, 2,183 were reported out of the national park.

"There are 22 ecological zones where there is significant presence of blackbucks. This time, we have included three new ecological zones, where these species have been found regularly. We consider these out of the park population in the ecological zones. They may visit frequently to these zones. However, we can't say that they have migrated from the park," said assistant conservator of forests, BBNP JS Solanki.

"Apart from the flagship species, that is the blackbuck; Indian grey wolf and striped hyena were also sighted here more than often. In this landscape, wolves are apex predators. Wolves rely primarily on blackbucks in this area for food, which constitute about 80 to 90 per cent of their diet. The park also supports good population of striped hyena. The hyenas are considered scavengers. The presence of these animals is the indicator of health of ecological system," Solanki said. In the current census, 13 wolves and six hyenas were sighted.

The BBNP at Velavadar is known across the globe for its largest concentration of blackbucks in one area. Once upon a time, the blackbuck population had reduced to just 200 due to various factors. Subsequently, 34.52 sq km area was declared as a national park in 1976 to conserve the species and its habitat.

"This rising number of blackbucks shows the protection of wild animal by forest department and good will from surrounding people as they are the one who help protect this magnificent animal," said Shivbhadrasinhji Gohil, a member of royal family of erstwhile princely Bhavnagar State and an ardent nature lover.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sakkarbaug Zoo Junagadh City News Samachar Gujarat India

Sakkarbaug Zoo Junagadh City, which has the distinction of housing two pairs of African Cheetahs, has removed the felines from public view due to illness.

The animals have been put under critical care for the second time since their arrival from Singapore in March 2009. Zoo officials said on Monday that three of the four cheetahs — a male and two females— have taken ill, and that the condition of one of them is critical.

Zoo Superintendent Y J Rana said the animals have developed infection in the respiratory system and swelling in the liver. Besides local veterinarians, an expert from Anand City Gujarat India has been called in. They are also in constant touch with experts from the Singapore Zoo.

Sources, meanwhile, said that two cheetahs have responded well to the treatment and have reportedly started taking food, while one has not taken food for the last two days.

The Gujarat State government had brought the four felines from Singapore in exchange of three Asiatic lions. To take proper care of the animals, zoo officials were imparted training in Africa and Singapore.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Junagadh Surendranagar tourism heritage Gujarat India

Should the Value Added Tax include a portion for effective heritage conservation? If not the sale of artifacts itself, why should the centuries-old heritage structures be opened for photography and documentary film-making to raise revenues for their conservation? Is it not about time the heritage structures be removed from the Public Works Department’s (PWD) jurisdiction?

These were amongst the several suggestions that emerged from the public consultation meeting of small towns held in Gandhinagar on Friday. Representatives and officials from 17 towns came for the meeting where members of the Gujarat state built heritage policy committee tried to understand the issues faced by them in heritage conservation and how they can be

“One of the biggest problems is that of creating alternative funding sources for heritage conservation. Including it in VAT was one of the options discussed, as it is a state subject. We are likely to include it in our recommendations to the government,” said a member of the committee, Ajay Chaudhary. Western countries have raised funds for heritage conservation through tax, he added.

Besides, corporate funding is emerging as a thrust area, along with government support. Another aspect discussed was opening up the heritage properties for photography and videography to international markets as there is great interest in studying these styles of architecture and design. Tourism is another option.

These can generate income, which when pooled up, could be enough to sustain the maintenance of the structures.

“Did you know that pictures of Junagadh Palace are a big hit? These generate income for the palace, which can be used to conserve it,” Chaudhary added.

“Most of these people (officials and representatives of towns) were very well aware of their heritage structures and had come with a comprehensive list.

The overall feeling was that the conservation of these precious assets should not be left to agencies like the PWD, as they only see a civil engineering solution to any problem. The structure will vanish before conservation will happen,” president of the committee, PK Ghosh said.

A positive outcome of the meeting might be an initiative by the heritage committee to take up a pilot project of restoring the Hawa Mahal in Surendranagar City.

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