Saturday, July 30, 2011

Girnar Mountain Ropeway Project - still not starting because another clearance pending

Junagadh City Girnar Parvat project was cleared by central Environment and Forest ministry in last February, but basic works of building the ropeway have yet not started because the company Usha Breco is now waiting for one more clearance – the last of all clearances – from the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) formed by the Supreme Court of India.

It’s expecting clearance for its proposal to build Girnar ropeway in three months time.

This clearance is must for starting construction activity in sanctuary area.

If someone goes to appeal against the ropeway project, the clearance process may delay.

It was in the background of the tremendous pressure on forests and the unsustainable removals and the real threat of massive destruction of wildlife habitat that the Supreme Court of India intervened and constituted Central Empowered Committee on May 9th, 2002.

The CEC presently comprises of the following six members:

Mr. P. V. Jayakrishanan, Chairman
Mr. M.K. Jiwrajka, Member
Mr. Mahendra Vyas, Member
Mr. M.K. Muthoo, Member
Mr. S.K. Patnaik, Member
Mr. P.J. Dilip Kumar, DGF & SS, Member

Friday, July 29, 2011

Talala Gir Kesar Keri Mangoes – get Geographical Indication for GI Registry Chennai

Geographical Indication's Registry in Chennai gave geographical indication (GI) tag to Talala Sasan Gir Kesar Mangoes and Bhalia wheat from Gujarat.

Junagadh Agriculture University and Gujarat Agro Industries had applied for the tag on behalf of Junagadh farmers.

The new status would help prevent sale of ordinary Kesar mangoes, grown mostly in Junagadh and Amreli districts, as Gir Kesar.

The entire area around the Gir sanctuary would be home to this variety and only those grown in this area would be known as Gir Kesar.

Mangoes from other parts of the state would be called Kesar though.

The taste of Kesar Keri from the Gir area was different from the varieties grown elsewhere.
The fine ranges from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh under the Geographical Indication of Goods (registration and protection) Act, 1999.

Bhalia is a long grain of wheat grown without irrigation for centuries in the Bhal region of Gujarat.

The wheat has high protein content and has a sweet taste.

Bhal region is spread across Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad districts.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Asiatic Lions News 2011 – Vadodara Surat City get pure breed of them

As earlier I talked with my one of the best online friend and she is really Wildlife Lover, said that, Vadodara City Zoo which considered among the oldest in the country will for the first time be home to a pair of pure-breed Asiatic Lions. The three lions in the zoo are crossbreeds and there is not a single lioness.

With the Central Zoo Authority now giving a green signal to house the big cats, a team from Vadodara Municipal Corporation Zoo will soon head for Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh to take possession of the lion pair.

As per Latest Zoo In-charge C B Patel Interviews, he said that,

“We were contemplating on getting a pair of lions because one of the three lions has grown old and it is not advisable to keep him for public display. Talks were on with Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh and we have been allowed to take possession of a pair of Asiatic lions.”

Among the three lions in Vadodara Zoo, two were procured from Chandigarh while one was born in the zoo.

“The significance of getting this pair is that we will for the first time have a genuine Asiatic lion. All the three lions are crossbreeds, including the one which has grown old. Now we will be able to go for captive breeding of Asiatic lions. We are waiting for the rains. A low temperature is important for the transit of the big cats.”

Sakkarbaug Zoo Junagadh City Saurashtra Kathiyavad will also supply a pure breed Asiatic lion to Surat Zoo. The only lion in Surat Zoo is a crossbreed.

As per Latest Zoo Prafful Mehta Interviews, he said that,Our proposal has reached Sakkarbaug Zoo officials and the final nod from CZA is awaited. For long we have been demanding an Asiatic lion and if everything goes well we will soon get one in the near future.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Asiatic Lions Wildlife Gujarat - policy a roaring success

Gujarat is Animal friendly state in India.

While the number of any particular animal might have grown in some State or other, Gujarat is probably the only State where the populations of as many as four big wild animals have gone up.

While the rise in population of the Asiatic Lions in Sasan Gir, its last natural habitat, is well-known, the numbers of three other big animals, too, have grown in Gujarat during the past few years.

Apart from the Asiatic lions in Gir, the big wild animals whose populations in Gujarat have grown are leopards, wild ass and sloth bear.

The increase of Asiatic lions in Gir to 411 in 2010 from 359 in 2005 was well publicized, but around the same time, the State’s leopard count, too, rose to 1,160 from 1,070 in 2006 and the number of wild ass in the Little Rann of Kutch went up from 3,800 to 4,038 in 2009.

The sloth bear population, found mostly in the eastern tribal belt of the State, grew to 293 in 2011 compared to 270 in 2006.

As per Latest Pradeep Khanna Interviews who is Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) said that, “While the number of one particular animal might have grown in some State or other, Gujarat is probably the only State where the population of as many as four big wild animals have gone up.”

“People in Gujarat have a lot of respect for wildlife.”

Khanna attributed the phenomenon mainly to the “animal-friendly nature of the people and the local culture in Gujarat”.

He also cited the State’s conservation efforts and the “dedication of the Forest department field staff” for the flourishing wildlife population.

Though the growing number of wild animals raises the possibility of man-animal conflicts, Khanna said that there are ways to tackle such problems.

When the growing number of Asiatic lions started to stray out of the designated Gir National Park, the State Government quickly decided to notify new adjoining areas as sanctuaries.

Thus, Mitiyala and Girnar areas were notified as new sanctuaries in 2004 and 2008 respectively to accommodate the growing number of the big cats.

The rise in the number of wild ass in the Little Rann of Kutch led to these animals straying into fields with standing crops. “People had to be convinced not to poison them.

Similarly, cattle-lifting by lions led to confrontations with villagers.

“The compensation paid in such cases has been much less than the actual price of cattle killed. Villagers want more, but are tolerant enough not to harm the lions.”

The number of sloth bears is growing in the sanctuary areas of Surpaneswar (Narmada district), Jambugodha (Vadodara), Ratanmahal (Dahod), Balaram and Jessore (Banaskantha), primarily because these areas have been left unaffected by urbanization. “Good forest areas have not been diverted for industrial use.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Saurashtra Rainfall News - has got only 6% rainfall till now

5th July 2011, Tuesday - It rained in parts Districts of Saurashtra, including Rajkot, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Amreli and Bhavnagar.

Saurashtra region has received only 6.13 per cent of its average annual rainfall till July 5 according to the disaster management authority which is not enough to begin agricultural operations in the region.

Junagadh Districts and Porbandar Districts have received good rainfall in comparison with other districts.

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said that light to moderate rain or thundershowers would occur at few places in all the districts of Saurashtra region, Diu and isolated places in Kutch district.

Weather officials said rainfall activity would increase in the next two days.

The worst-hit districts are Bhavnagar and Surendranagar, which hardly received 11 mm rainfall till date in this season.

According to flood control room officials, on Wednesday, major rainfall was reported in Vanthali (22 mm), Savarkundla(12 mm), Visavadar (7 mm), Amreli (3 mm), Junagadh (3 mm). On Tuesday evening, the first showers lashed Rajkot city and 20 mm rainfall was recorded.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Junagadh Agriculture University vice Chancellor Interview about Crops Life with Rains

Rains give new lease of life to crops in Saurashtra region
As monsoons made their presence felt in Saurashtra this week, the farmers of the region were one happy lot as this rain has saved their crops.

Though bit delayed, the recent rainfall in the region has given a new lease of life to the groundnut and cotton crop.

During the last two days, Rajkot, Porbandar and Amreli districts of Saurashtra region witnessed rainfall and the meteorology department has predicted heavy rainfall in the coming two days across the region as well.

As per Latest Junagadh Agriculture University vice Chancellor N C Patel Interviews, he said that, "Rainfall is crucial for both the groundnut and cotton crop. If the rains had delayed further, it would have hit these two crops severely."

"The rains that were witnessed in the last two days have saved the early sowing of crops. But we need substantial rainfall for further sowing."

The sowing process will take some more time as these rains are not enough for new sowing.
As per the data provided by the district agriculture department, the sowing area is still below expectation. The total area of groundnut covered is 4, 64,860 hectares this year in and SaurashtraKutch, which is only 30 percent of the last year's total of 1, 5, 75, 819 hectares.

Similarly in cotton so far 3,20089 hectares sowing has been done which was 17,60,238 hectares last year and just 18 percent area has been covered in cotton in Saurashtra region.

Former President of Solvent extractors association of India (SEA) said that, "More Govindbhai Patelrainfall will definitely prove conducive for the sowing process. As the weather changes and the possibility of rain increases, sowing activity will increase in many parts of Saurashtra."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gujarat Tourism India - increase of 1 lakh tourists and Rs 1 crore incomes in a year

Sasan Gir National Park has witnessed a huge increase in number of travelers in recent months.

Amitabh Bachchan’s hugely publicized ads for Gujarat have been beneficial to the state in many ways, from which Gir seems to be benefiting the most.

According to the figures between June 2009 to May 2010 Gir National Park and Gir interpretation center of Devalia both were visited by 5166 foreign tourists and 200800 Indian tourists; which is a total of 205966 tourists.

From which the Gir interpretation center had 213 foreign and 134005 domestic tourists while the Gir Sanctuary had 4953 foreign and 66795 domestic tourists.

But this year the number has increased by 98,861 tourists.

According to forest department officials in Sasan Gir; 239 foreign tourists and 1, 70,350 domestic tourists, totally 1, 70,589 tourists have visited Gir interpretation center and 6061 foreign tourists and 1, 28,177 domestic tourists, totally 1, 34,238 tourists had visited Gir Sanctuary between June 2010 and May 2011.

Last year Gir Interpretation center made an income of Rs 1, 20, 46,155; whereas Gir sanctuary made Rs 87, 20,000. In total the forest department made an income of Rs 2, 16, 66,840.

While this year with 98,861 more tourists, Gir sanctuary has made Rs 1, 66, 49,950; whereas Gir Sanctuary made Rs 1, 56, 91,726. In total the forest department made an income of Rs 3, 23, 41,676 which is Rs 1, 06, 74,836 more than previous year.

Apart from that the hotels and other hospitality resources near the National Park are benefiting from the increase in the number of tourists. Take an example of local car operators.

While one Gipsy car driver was getting 70-80 tourist trips of Gir sanctuary in 2009-10, in year 2010-11 the same driver got 120-150 trips.

But the real hospitality the tourists will never forget is the one offered by the small farm owners in the villages nearby, the tourists feasted on delicious Kathiyavadi Food like Bajra No Rotlo, Kadhi, Khichdi and Olo.

The Lion King has not only blessed the forest department but also the small scale cottage industry and numerous individuals who depend on them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sasan Gir National Park - 836 crore assistance for Lions

For the Unique Ring Road to surround Sasan Gir Sanctuary and Gir National Park which will help in minimizing the man-animal clash and human activity in the region and for Lion conservation, Gujarat State Government has demanded Rs.836.17 crore central assistance from the Government of India.

The Gujarat State Government in a formal communication wrote to the Ministry of Forest & Environment (MOEF) that, As per 2010 estimation Greater Gir area had about 411 Asiatic Lions.

The only home of Asiatic Lion – Sasan Gir - needs to be intensively protected and managed with all out efforts in conservation of them.

In spite of successful conservation efforts over last four decades registering sustained increasing population trend the Asiatic Lion is still critically endangered on account of its total population being only about 411.

Therefore the long-term attention for conservation of Asiatic Lion is required.

In the recent times poaching of large cats for international market has imposed a serious threat to lions also.

“The Government of Gujarat is taking utmost possible steps. Considering the need for additional resources and contribution of Government of India, the Government of Gujarat has submitted a proposal of “THE LONG TERM CONSERVATION OF ASIATIC LIONS IN BRHUHAD GIR.”

The project cost was Rs.262.36 Crore with Government of India’s share Rs.236.17 Crores and Government of Gujarat share of Rs. 26.19 Crore.

The cost included the cost of relocation and rehabilitation of resident people and Gir Maldharis.

The proposal includes strengthening protection, habitat development, and wild life health care and mitigating man-wild animal conflict situation, use of modern technology, eco development works, public awareness, eco tourism, wrote the state Government to the MOEF.

The MOEF has provided only Rs.120.46 lakh as financial and technical assistance to the State Government for protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions in Gir forest in last four years.
Gir National Park and sanctuary area is 1412.13 Sq. Km.

Six State Highways and some minor roads pass through the Sanctuary and used by the local people.

Existing Highways passing though the sanctuary affect movement of animals and Forest cover, increase Wildlife mortality with the volume of traffic and increase possibility of poaching. To reduce this traffic a project of “Garland/Ring road” around Gir forest has been proposed.

The State Government wrote to the MOEF that, “The proposed garland/ring road is estimated to be a length of 269 Km. The estimated cost of project is about Rs.600.00 Crores.

The said project has been duly recommended by State Board of Wild life and is sent to Union Government on 2-06-2009 for consideration.

The ring road proposed 14 over passes and 16 under passes on specific migratory path locations for safe passages to wild life while crossing Highways and immunize the protected area from traffic playing through human interference.’’

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sasan Gir National Park – Closed doors on tourists this monsoon

As I read before few days ago, Sasan Gir National Park - located at Sasan in Junagadh district, is only home to pure Asiatic lions and attracts a large number of Indian as well as foreign tourists closed for tourists during the monsoon season owing to the breeding of wild cats and conservation efforts being undertaken at the sanctuary.

As per online Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary Divisional Forest Officer Sandeep Kumar Interviews, he said that, “Its (Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary) closing is being done to provide some privacy to wild animals like lions, leopards and birds like peacocks etc during their mating season as the four months of monsoon period are considered the best for their breeding season.”

“Since we supervise the conservation efforts, we want to prevent any disturbance in the conservation activities, which could also be caused by the tourists. So we close the sanctuary,” Kumar said, adding that the park would be closed from June 16 and will reopen only in October after the monsoon season is over.

As per the 2010 census, the total number of lions in Gir sanctuary has risen to 411 from 359 in 2005. With a total area of 1,412 sq km (about 258 sq km for the national park and 1153 sq km for the sanctuary), the park is considered as safe haven for the lions and other species.

“It is also a natural habitat for leopards and antelopes like sambar, spotted deer, blue bull, black buck, and wild boar, jackal, hyena, langoors, porcupine, bear and crocodiles and over 250 species of birds.”

The officer also added that the roads in the park are kachcha and get damaged during monsoon. They need to be repaired before allowing tourists to visit (the park) after its closure period is over, he said.

“Not only that we have to monitor the movement of wild animals during rains and in case of heavy rain in the area, we have to chalk out a rescue plan and taking them to safer places.”

In addition, if big cats fall sick, we have to make arrangements for their treatment and that is why the closure of the park during monsoon season is required.

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