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Leopard killed near Nashik, activists cry foul

A leopard, alleged to have mauled seven people in Chalisgaon, near Nashik, was shot dead on Saturday night by a former hunter. While this gave politicians and locals a reason to cheer, wildlife experts and activists criticised the move to involve a marksman and raised doubts over whether the right animal had been shot.On Saturday, Hyderabad-based Nawab Shafath Ali Khan from the Wildlife Tranquil Force, shot the leopard at Varkhede village in Chailsgaon around 10 pm. In a surprising revelation, Khan, in a video said, even in the dark, he could sense the leopard would be a maneater, and so he shot it — a claim that has raised several eyebrows.Meanwhile, Unmesh Patil, the local BJP MLA from Chalisgaon, said Khan’s help was requested by the forest department after seeking special permission as the leopard had been wreaking havoc.”Forest department officials tried hard to trap it but in vain. This had been going on for the past two months, and in the process the leopard had killed seven people and injured another 20,” Patil said.Wildlife activists and experts aside, this move has also irked senior forest officials. Dr Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), said that there is an urgent need for the forest department to tackle such situations scientifically and they need to equip themselves and not involve sport hunters to eliminate carnivores. Another photographer and conservationist claimed that it was a surprising move for the forest department that has so many trained vets and experts.NOT A SMART MOVEExperts believe the forest department needs to tackle such situations scientifically. A photographer and conservationist claimed that the forest department need not have depended on a hunter who does not have any knowledge of carnivore biology.

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Six tigers electrocuted in Maharashtra in 1 year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There is a new danger lurking for Maharashtra’s tigers—that of death by electrocution. Between November 2016 to November 2017, the state lost six tigers due to poaching by electrocution.This includes Srinivas, who was electrocuted to death in Nagbhid range in April. In 2017, Maharashtra lost 15 tigers to various causes, of which five deaths are due to electrocution.”Patches around farms are electrified to kill herbivores, but it leads to the deaths of carnivores like tigers and also human beings,” said a senior forest department official. Sometimes, tigers are killed along with the herbivores when the two are electrocuted during the chase.He added that many put on electrified wires deliberately for poaching. “If these agriculturists want to protect their crops, they can use solar fencing as it has been done in the villages in a 2,500 hectare area around the Tadoba Andhari tiger reserve,” the official said.”The major problem is 11KV lines, which are illegally hooked. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MahaVitaran) should launch underground cabling and insulation of networks in these areas and also shift these poles to the main roads to prevent them from being tapped,” he noted.Dr Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) said that it was a grave situation as electrocution was killing more animals than organised poaching. “We got to know about tigers as two of them were even radio collared think about the numbers of leopards, wolves and other mammals killed due to electrocution and never reported,” he said.History speaksIn 2016, India lost 98 tigers — the highest since 2010. Of these Maharashtra accounted for 15 mortalities.In 2015, the deaths stood at 12, up from seven in 2014 and 10 in 2013.

SDMC, PWD indulge in blame game as Delhi’s drains overflow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Wednesday again blamed the AAP government’s Public Works Department (PWD) for the city being waterlogged with filthy water every other day it rains.The corporation’s Matiala ward Councillor had raised a short notice in the House meeting on the issue over the cleaning of PWD drains.South Delhi mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat claimed that most of the city’s roads get waterlogged for the drains falling under the jurisdiction of the PWD.”The PWD owns all the big drains of the city, including the Kushak Nallah and others. But the department does not clean the drains even during the monsoon, which leads to the overflowing of sewers,” the mayor said.While both the agencies – SDMC and PWD – claim that they have cleaned 90 per cent of the drains in their area, both blame each other regarding the de-silting of the choked drains resulting in waterlogging.”Even the state government has turned a blind eye towards issue while people suffer every monsoon. Though we have completed desilting at most of the major drains and roadside drains of four feet depth, the Delhi government has not even undertaken sewer cleaning in any part of the city. PWD has not taken care to ensure proper disposal of rain water at its vulnerable points,” she said.Drains up to 60 feet are under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation while 60 feet and above fall under the PWD.In order to enable citizens to lodge complaints of waterlogging, the Corporation had launched a 24X7 helpline last month.The LG had this year directed the PWD to install pumps and fix the major 60 waterlogging flash points in the city including Kashmere Gate, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, Mukarba Chowk and Andheria Mor, among others. However, waterlogging complaints are still pouring in from these areas.

Andheria Mor-Mahipalpur project sees no completion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The long-pending project to widen the stretch between south Delhi’s Andheria Mor and Mahipalpur to make it a smooth ride to the IGI airport is now going to take even longer.Four years after the work began on the project, under the Delhi government’s public works department (PWD), it may seem jinxed since, as it has again hit the same roadblock of acquiring permission for felling of trees on the way.In a status review of the project last week, the PWD has filed a fresh application to the forest department for felling of trees so that the work can pick up pace.The slow pace of work with uneven and dug up patches of road has been a hassle for commuters since work began on the first phase of the stretch in February 2013.The project had to be completed in three phases by mid 2016.”We have applied for a revalidation of permission to cut trees. The project has been under a number of litigations since it started. The forest department had granted permission to fell some trees but it lapsed, as the department didn’t initiate felling during that period. While there was no ‘stay’ on the work by the court, but the department waited for litigations to get over,” said a senior official.According to officials, the work has been pending, as even on the carriageway there are trees, which cause an obstruction to the movement of traffic.”The project is expected to pick up pace once we get the required clearances,” the official said.After work started on the first phase of the project in February 2013 — from Andheria Mor to Fortis Hospital, it landed into a number of litigations after the government’s contractor had felled several trees without prior approval of the forest department.The stretch which at present has four lanes will be widened to eight lanes, turning it into a fast link from south Delhi to IGI airport.A group of residents in the neighbouring Vasant Kunj had filed a case against the felling of trees in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and later in the High Court while another group of residents had filed a plea against the widening of the road itself, as there are residential colonies on either sides of the road.The work was stalled in February 2013. It started again in 2014 but the contractor walked out in 2015.The PWD had to call for fresh tenders and the work resumed in August last year.

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