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SGNP officials nurse two abandoned leopard cubs

Officials at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) are currently nursing two- approximately month and half old abandoned leopard cubs, which were brought to the park by forest officials from Ahmednagar on December 20.As per forest officials it was a local farmer from Nandgaon village in Ahmednagar district who found two leopard cubs in his sugarcane farm on November 20, a decision was taken to send them to Manikdoh Rescue Center, in Junnar after several attempts to re-unite the cubs with the mother failed. However soon realising that the centre had no space to accommodate more leopards the cubs were sent to SGNP.According to Dr Shailesh Pethe, Veterinary Officer, SGNP the cubs might have been abandoned or separated from their mother and both-one male and another female were brought in quite a delicate condition.”The cubs that are separated from their mothers have very low immunity and hand raising them is not as simple as it sounds. They are currently coping up to the new environment and will require several weeks to settle down,” shared Pethe adding that a lot of precaution were being taken and they were even being monitored round the clock.As per the expert Vet, for the good health of these two cubs and to ensure that they do not catch any infection they have been kept in a restricted area and maximum precautions were being taken by not even allowing any visitors to see these cubs. “We are keeping them away as they are at a very vulnerable stage and only people involved in their care taking are allowed to go near them. “Anwar Ahmed, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) and Field Director for SGNP said, “These two cubs had to be brought to SGNP as Manikdoh Rescue Center, in Junnar has no space to take more leopards. Our team is taking good care of these cubs and at the moment they are in good health.”Forest officials from SGNP said that in the past that several leopards have been successfully hand raised and some have even unfortunately died few months after they were brought due to various infections resulting due to low immunity.NO REUNIONA local farmer from Nandgaon village in Ahmednagar district found two leopard cubs in his sugarcane farm on November 20. A decision was taken to send them to Manikdoh Rescue Center in Junnar after several attempts to re-unite the cubs with the mother failed. The centre had no space to accommodate more leopards

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MoEF panel turns down clearance for Rasuli iron mine in Chhattisgarh

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has not recommended forest clearance for the Rasuli iron ore mine of Navbharat Fuse Co Ltd in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, as the mine falls in very dense forest area in the Bailadila mountain range.FAC is an apex panel of the MoEF&CC that appraises projects that seek diversion of forests for non-forestry purposes. The mining project required diversion of 220 hectares of pristine forest land rich in biodiversity.During its meeting on December 20, the FAC noted that the state government, which had allotted the mine in 2009, had conveyed to the company its rejection of the proposal and even the ministry’s regional office did not recommend clearance upon site inspection. On these grounds, the FAC decided against recommending the project for clearance under Forest Conservation Act, minutes of the FAC meeting showed.The Rasuli iron ore mine was one among 10 leases that the state government had allotted to private companies in 2009. The mine had a reserve of 9.4 million tonnes of iron ore that was to be provided for captive use in the company’s sponge iron plant in Jagdalpur. The company had retained the mine under section 10A (2) (c) of the amended Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act.The FAC noted that the forest land proposed for diversion is part of a stand-alone hill range running north to south. “The overall landscape of the area indicates area proposed for lease constitutes the part of extension of Bailadila mountain range. The extension of the said mountain range runs over a distance of more than 100 km in Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker, Balod, and Rajnandgaon districts of Chhattisgarh…the area has high landscape integrity value,” the FAC minutes stated.The average density of the forest is approximately 0.7 to 0.8 SDI, and it is estimated that more than 90,000 trees stand across 220 hectares. “Removal of such a large number of trees over an area of 220 ha will certainly have an adverse impact on the local environment. The area proposed under the lease forms the immediate catchment of local nallah…opening of the area and removal of the trees will also disturb the existing water regime of the area,” the minutes added.Why not allowed The Rasuli iron ore mine of Navbharat Fuse Co Ltd in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, as the mine falls in very dense forest area in the Bailadila mountain range. The average density of the forest is approximately 0.7 to 0.8 SDI, and it is estimated that more than 90,000 trees stand across 220 hectares.

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West Bengal | To track big cats, Jaldapara National Park to put radio collars on 200 leopards

Authorities of Jaldapara National Park at Alipurduar district of West Bengal have decided to put radio collars on leopards to track their whereabouts. Frequent attacks of leopards who stray into human habitats have led them take such decision.There have been as many as 64 incidents of leopards entering villages this year, injuring 16 people. Forest officials said that there were about 200 leopards in Jaldapara National Park.As a pilot project, radio collars have been put on the leopard, which had entered Dalimpur village of Falakata area. It spread panic among villagers who were afraid of come out of their homes. Officials of the forest department were informed and once they arrived, they found the leopard, tranquilised it and put the collar on to it before setting it free in Jaldapara National Park.Such collars would also put on other leopards in phases. Officials said that it would be specially useful to locate these animals at night if they tried to enter villages stealthily.“It had been noticed that many leopards were entering human habitat at many villages of the vicinity and attacking people. We have put radio collars on these leopards to keep track on their movements so that other than studying these animals we can also take precautionary steps before they can cause any formidable damage,” said district forest officer Biman Biswas.

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MoEF defers clearance for Indo-Nepal project

After a Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change sub-committee raised issues regarding the project affected people and environmental impact assessment report of the Pancheshwar dam, an expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry has deferred green clearance of the project. Last month, the EAC on hydroelectric projects had asked a sub-committee to visit the site of the dam project in Uttarakhand. The sub-committee visited the project site on November 24 and found that issues regarding the modalities of rehabilitating displaced villages were unresolved and thus asked for more information from the project authority.The Pancheshwar multipurpose project is a joint venture of India and Nepal that involves construction of a 315-m tall rock-fill hydropower dam across Mahakali River, 2.5-kms downstream at the confluence of Mahakali and Saryu River. The project would have a total installed capacity of 5,040 MW with the inclusion of a smaller 240MW hydropower dam.After interacting with Champawat officials and project affected people, the sub-committee informed the EAC that a uniform criteria should be adopted for enumerating the project affected in holistic ways. It said that villagers staying below or at 680-m full reservoir level (FRL) shall be displaced and villages located just above at 681-m FRL shall not be displaced.Even as the sub-committee has said that there was no opposition to the project it made no mention of local protests during the statutory public hearings that posed questions on safety, employment and ecological concerns.The EAC also deliberated on objections of civil society. It played down concerns regarding seismic vulnerabilities faced by the region. “Observations such as “a seismically uncertain context” are alarmist because seismic activity is always uncertain. Nothing can be 100 per cent risk free,” the minutes of the meeting stated.

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Chhattisgarh: 55-year-old man trampled to death by wild elephant in forest

A 55-year-old man was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Chhattisagrh’s Jashpur district, police said on Sunday.55-year-old man, Prem Sai went inside Kudeldab forests to pick woods when he was attacked by the elephant.The incident occurred last evening in the forest adjacent to Dadpani village under Kansabel police station limits when Prem Sai was returning home from his field, a local police official told news agency. While returning, Sai went inside Kudeldab forests to pick woods when he was attacked by the elephant, he said.On getting the information, Forest and police personnel rushed to the spot and sent Sai’s body for postmortem, the official said.The kin of the deceased have been given an instant relief amount of Rs 25,000 by Forest department, he added.Thickly-forested northern Chhattisgarh, comprising Surguja, Korba, Raigarh, Jashpur and Korea districts, is notorious for human elephant conflicts.The region has witnessed several killings of tribals and widespread damage to houses and crops by rogue elephants in the past.

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Winter Session of Parliament: Govt convenes all-party meet tomorrow

The government has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow, ahead of the winter session of Parliament where the opposition is likely to raise the issue of a delay in calling the session.The parliamentary affairs ministry has sent out invites to the leaders of major political parties that have representatives in both Houses of Parliament for the meet.The winter session will be held from December 15 to January 5. There would be a total of 14 working days.Last year, the session began on 16 November and ended on 16 December, with 22 sittings.The opposition has claimed that the ruling BJP delayed the session fearing that it would raise various issues ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls government.The government has, however, maintained that there were precedents of session dates being changed in view of elections.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will also host a dinner for the leaders of all parties tomorrow.Two ordinances on insolvency code and amendment to the Forest Act have to be approved by Parliament in the winter session.

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Assam Shocker: Five elephants mowed down by train

Five elephants, including a pregnant one, were killed in the early hours on Sunday after a train hit a herd of seven tuskers at a tea garden in Sonitpur district, forest officials said.The incident took place at Bamgaon Tea Estate in the Chariduar police station area near Balipara at 1.30 am, they said.The herd was trying to cross railway tracks between the Rangapara and Dhalaibil stations when the Guwahati-Naharlagun Intercity Express hit them, Chief Conservator of Forest (Northern Range) P Shiv Kumar said.Four female elephants, including a pregnant one, and a male jumbo were killed on the spot, he said.The premature unborn calf came out from its mother’s belly due to the massive impact, Kumar said.Also readLet’s secure the future of India’s wild elephantsHe said forest officials were trying to locate the other two elephants, which were part of the herd.The dead elephants were cremated after post-mortem examination, Kumar said.Also read2 elephants electrocuted in Nilgiris districtWild elephants often come out of the nearby Nameri National Park in search of food, he said.In the last couple of days, a herd of around 70 elephants strayed into the area, near the accident site, a forest official said.

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Green clearance must for rail projects on forest land: MoEF&CC

Railway projects passing through forest lands, national parks and eco-sensitive zones will not be exempted from the forest clearance process, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) told the Railways Ministry and state forest departments. The Environment Ministry’s clarification on the matter comes after the Railways had argued that Railways Act, 1989, gives it the power to acquire land, including forests, falling in its right of way. MoEF&CC clarified its position on the issue after referring the matter to the Ministry of Law and Justice, who seconded the Environment Ministry’s opinion.DNA has reviewed the MoEF&CC letter to Railways Ministry and state forest departments.The MoEF&CC told Railways, that as per the Law Ministry, despite provisions of the Railways Act, 1989, allowing Railways to acquire any land for its projects, forest land falling in the right of way attract provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. MoEF&CC added that even if the forest land is under the possession of the Railways, it will need to seek forest clearance for non-forestry work. Further, projects passing through protected areas would need the approval of the National Board for Wildlife.“Railway projects passing through wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and tiger reserves amount to destruction of habitat within the meaning of various sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The need of seeking approval for railway projects passing through a wildlife sanctuary is in pursuance of Supreme Court order of 2002,” the MoEF&CC said.The Railways had raised the issue of applicability of Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, for its projects citing the upcoming conversion of Akola-Khandwa railway line from metre gauge to broad gauge. The railway line passes through a reserve forest, Wan sanctuary and the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Of the 176-km track, 40 km passes through forested areas and of that 18 km lies inside the tiger reserve. According to government documents, the project would require diversion of 160.94 hectares of forest from the critical tiger habitat of Wan Sanctuary, a part of Melghat Tiger Reserve.OVERRULEDThe Railways had argued that Railways Act, 1989, gives it the power to acquire land, including forests, falling in its right of way. MoEF&CC clarified that Railway projects passing through forest land, national parks, eco-sensitive zones will not be exempted from forest clearance process.

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18th Sanctuary Wildlife Awards: From saving tigers to teaching wildlife conservation; know these green crusaders

From a Nagpur based lawyer whose legal acumen has helped in keeping poachers behind bars to a ‘bird nerd’ who became the first Indian to complete a ‘Big Year’ to a young wildlife biologist who has helped understand Mumbai’s leopards better-these are some of the environment protectors amongst others who will be felicitated for their exemplary and dedicated work towards protection and conservation of Indian wildlife by Sanctuary Nature Foundation on Friday.DNA lists some of the bravehearts and winners amongst the 13 who will be awarded the 18th Sanctuary Wildlife Awards who during a function at National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on December 8, 2017 in Mumbai.Valmik Thapar- Lifetime Service AwardHe hardly needs any introduction and has been leading the battle to save the Tigers. Thapar has spent almost four decades tracking and protecting the most enigmatic cat and has taken their story to across the globe through his books and photographs. He has also served on over 150 committees of both central and state governments. His influence has been expansive, and though today he works almost exclusively in Rajasthan, with the state government, he has been instrumental in the revitalisation of other parks such as Maharashtra’s beloved Tadoba Tiger Reserve. Author of 32 books, including four on Africa, presenter of 16 international documentary films, and an excellent orator, Valmik Thapar’s gruff genius is what it took for India and the world to sit up and acknowledge the tiger’s magnificence, its predicament, and the urgency for conservation. Jayachandran S- Wildlife Service AwardsJayachandran S. has been at the forefront of the fight to save the Nilgiri and Sathyamangalam landscape in Tamil Nadu’s Western Ghats for over three decades. It was in 1990 that he started the Tamil Nadu Green Movement and, ever since, this people-powered initiative has stemmed the onslaught of unscrupulous industries and the timber mafia on this global biodiversity hotspot. He is a scrappy fighter, yes. But he’s also a solutions provider. By establishing a web of intelligence networks, he has been instrumental in helping the Kerala and Tamil Nadu Forest Departments bust poaching rackets, make seizures and apprehend hardened poachers. He has inspired many poachers to turn over a new leaf by surrendering their arms and ensuring alternate livelihood opportunities for them. Many of these ex-poachers today help the Forest Departments in blowing the cover on the modus operandi and operations of active wildlife criminals. Jayachandran is a hero whose contributions it is impossible to justly chronicle. He is a man in whose steps we hope many more will follow.Kartik Shukul- Wildlife Service AwardsIt was in the year 2013 that he managed to convince the judiciary that just because poaching attracted a sentence of seven years, it did not mean that the accused should be granted bail immediately. His legal acumen helped changed the perspective that the crime of poaching should be judged on the basis of its impact and it has ensured that several poachers not only went behind bars but also stayed behind it.A special public prosecutor for the State of Maharshtra, Nagpur based Shukul has ensured that in the year 2017 itself there were six convictions in tiger poaching cases. Despite the tedious rigours of his work, Shukul also manages to devote many hours every month to building capacity within members of the lower judiciary, police officers, Forest Department, and fellow lawyers by teaching them how to effectively wield his weapon of choice – the Wild Life Protection Act. Kartik Shukul is a man of integrity and intelligence, whose resilience is taking out wildlife criminals one court case at a time.Ramesh Pratap Singh, (IFS (Retd.)- Wildlife Service AwardsAfter serving in the Indian Forestry Services for more than three decades, R P Singh has worked through every tangent of wildlife conservation required to enable the revival of some of India’s most visited tiger destinations. His profound understanding of wildlife conservation, forest management, administration and law and his sensitivity to local communities, led to landmark developments across various Protected Areas. From voluntary relocations to wildlife crime control, Singh displayed exemplary management capability. R P Singh, in the pursuit of the preservation and protection of his beloved wilds, has left an indelible mark in India’s history of forest management and conservation, inspiring a whole generation of young officers.Shashank Dalvi- Wildlife Service Awards While birding at Jamnagar on the evening of December 31, 2015, Mumbai based wildlife biologist Shashank Dalvi spotted a Common Ringed Plover just an hour before dusk. While for others it might have been an end of a typical birding day, but for him it meant being the first Indian to not only successfully complete the prestigious ‘Big Year’ (an informal competition initiated in the United States amongst birders to check who can record the maximum number of birds in a span of one calender year) challenge taken up by birders but also recording a whooping 1128 birds in a calender year. Infact in 2016 he along with a team of scientists found a new species of bird- Himalayan Forest Thrush, a new bird species to science, and only the fourth bird to be described from India since its independence and named it after Indian ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. In 2012, he was a member of the team that discovered the shocking Amur Falcon massacre in Doyang, Nagaland, which catalysed an International conservation movement. A self-professed ‘bird nerd’, his long-term goal is to pioneer a nation-wide conservation programme for birds outside Protected Areas.KS Smitha- Green Teacher AwardSmitha’s passion for the wild coalesced with her love for children in 1997, the year she chose teaching as her profession. Ever since, Smitha has been an affable pied-piper, leading her students to the tunes of conservation. Having built a green army, she spares no opportunity in taking her regiments of future green activists out of the classroom to explore and marvel at the beauty of nature. In order to fulfill her fundamental agenda of connecting children with nature, she has created multiple nature clubs for her school. Smitha, along with her students, has even lead an agitation against the Kolkata municipal corporation when it decided bulldoze dozens of trees for a road-widening project. She petitioned, rallied and took concrete steps to stop the rampage. Nikit Surve- Young Naturalist Awards Nikit is credited with conducting the first-ever official, scientific census of leopards in the urban wilderness known as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and has been able to showcase how the leopards are co-existing with humans. At 25, Nikit is a Research Associate with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and is working with dedication and passion on a complex and burning conservation issue – that of sharing space with our wild cat neighbours. Surve has also been helping the forest guards to understand more about leopards and engage them in understanding how camera trappings is carried out. He engages in impactful awareness campaigns based on his research findings that he conducts in schools, colleges and even in the remote sugarcane fields of Maharashtra, where communities live. Pandurang Pakhale- Special Sanctuary Tiger AwardsAn iron man of the Maharashtra Forest Department, he is presently posted at the Pench Tiger Reserve as a Range Forest Officer (RFO) of East Pench Range. He is responsible for the arrest of more than a dozen tiger poachers. He has continued investigations despite strong protests and police complaints – the result of political clout and support of fish mafia for the poachers. In January 2017, he took on pangolin traders and poachers whom he took to court and stood up to political leaders who demanded his arrest and transfer. He also busted monitor lizard poachers and arrested eight of them in June 2017.

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Double damages for tribals’ resettlement, tiger authority told

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In view of its directive in March asking states to halt settlement of tribal rights inside tiger reserves, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has sought detailed reports from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on the voluntary relocation and rehabilitation of tribals. The commission, senior officials said, wants to examine and verify on ground NTCA’s claims of ‘voluntary relocation.The reports were sought during a hearing NCST Secretary Raghav Chandra had held to examine NTCA’s March directive which said that pending formulation of guidelines to notify ‘critical wildlife habitats’, tiger bearing states should freeze settlement of tribal rights inside tiger reserves. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change was to formulate the guidelines in 2007.Chandra had informed NTCA during the hearing that its order was in violation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and should be kept in abeyance. Chandra also told NTCA that no tribal should be displaced till the guidelines are prepared.According to the minutes of the hearing, NTCA officials informed NCST that the compensation paid to tribals willing to move out of tiger reserves was being reworked with the concurrence of Ministry of Finance. NCST Secretary Raghav Chandra asked NTCA to consider raising the compensation to Rs 20 lakh per family from the existing Rs 10 lakh as the existing amount is insufficient. He said that CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) funds lying with the Centre could be used to settle tribals from the core or critical tiger habitats.As per law, tribals can either avail the cash compensation or they can be resettled and rehabilitated with the aid of the forest department.Chandra was also of the opinion that in case of relocation of tribal people from protected areas and tiger reserves, each tribal family should be provided land up to four hectares or area under occupation by tribals, whichever is less, adjoining the protected area, minutes of the hearing show. In case land of similar nature is not available, then double the area of occupation of eight hectares whichever is less should be provided for relocation and rehabilitation of tribals from protected areas and tiger reserves, the NCST secretary added.”The entire cost towards relocation or rehabilitation should be borne from CAMPA. This exercise of cash compensation should be carried out within a period of three years, failing which forest rights should be conferred immediately,” the minutes stated.The environment ministry had sought identification of critical wildlife habitats or inviolate forest areas when the Forest Rights Act (FRA) was passed, to maintain areas free of human interference. The FRA, meanwhile, mandates settling of the rights of forest dwelling communities living inside tiger reserves and even critical wildlife habitats. The relocation of tribals from such areas has to be done on a voluntary’ basis, only after settling their rights and taking their consent.WHAT FRA saysForest Rights Act (FRA) mandates relocation of tribals from tiger reserves and other critical wildlife habitats on a voluntary basis, after settling their rights and taking their consent.

Order freezing tribal rights in tiger reserves violates FRA, NCST tells tiger authority

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) controversial directive from March this year asking states to stop settlement of tribal rights inside tiger reserves violates the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and should be thus kept in abeyance, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) told NTCA in a meeting.The NTCA, under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), had said in the directive to 17 tiger bearing states that the rights settlement should be halted as the guidelines to notify ‘critical wildlife habitats’ were not formulated. This was the responsibility of MoEF&CC, and the guidelines that were to be prepared in 2007 are still pending.The NCST had taken cognizance of news reports on the NTCA directive and its secretary held a meeting with NTCA’s senior officials. It told the NTCA Member Secretary, Debabrata Swain, that a legal process cannot be halted because of the pending guidelines, and asked the authority to not displace tribals till they finalize the guidelines. The NCST chairman, Nand Kumar Sai, is also expected to convene a meeting on this issue in December.Critical wildlife habitats are essentially areas inside national parks and sanctuaries that have to be kept inviolate, free of human encumbrance. But, the Forest Rights Act (FRA) mandates settling of the rights of forest dwelling communities living inside tiger reserves, and even critical wildlife habitats. The relocation of tribals from such areas has to be done on a voluntary’ basis, only after settling their rights and taking their consent.According to official estimates, as many as 45,000 families still live in the core or critical tiger habitats.”We told them that they should not allow displacement until they have cleared the critical wildlife habitats guidelines with us. We informed them that this needs closer understanding and scrutiny and the commission has made it clear in discussions that this (directive) is in violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA),” said Raghav Chandra, Secretary, NCST.NTCA were directed to fast track the process of formulating the guidelines. According to NCST officials, NTCA sought two to three years of time to complete this process. This was outright rejected and NTCA was told that the settlement of rights of cannot be halted because of a pending matter and they would have to to prepare the guidelines in a time-bound manner. NTCA member secretary Debabrata Swain could not be reached for comment.

Soon, take a walk through mangroves

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what would be a first of its kind initiative in Maharashtra, the State Mangrove Cell is planning to build a 2.8-kilometre boardwalk inside mangroves, which will be laid in a manner to resemble a flamingo.Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF), Mangrove Cell, N Vasudevan said that the boardwalk will be part of the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMCB) at Airoli, located within the 1,690 hectares of Thane Flamingo Sanctuary declared by Maharashtra government on August 6, 2015.Vasudevan informed that the boardwalk will lead into four different paths, while one will provide a view of migratory birds that flock the Thane creek during winter, others will showcase the mangroves, aquatic life as well as insects and reptiles dwelling inside the mangroves.The boardwalks will be made using environment-friendly materials and the path will have to be created ensuring that there is no damage to the mangroves. “A major challenge will be providing supports for the boardwalk, and hence it will take some time. We are hoping that it will be ready by early 2019,” said another senior official from the Mangrove Cell.In phase I, the Mangrove cell with the help of Indo-German project collaboration on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Marine Protected Areas has set up Maharashtra’s first state-of-the-art Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMCB) at Airoli, which has over 600 marine species displayed along with various interactive exhibits.

Forest department wants BMC to handle monkey menace

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forest department wants Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to play the lead role when it comes to dealing with the increasing monkey menace in Mumbai, citing its own staff crunch and the fact that across India it was the Municipal Corporations that were dealing with this issue.However BMC officials, DNA spoke to about this issue said that they lacked the skills to manage monkey issue in Mumbai and since the monkeys were coming from the forests and were also Schedule II animals, it was best that the forest department deals with the issue as even Fire brigade had its hand tied being an emergency service provider.In fact, the forest department’s emphasis that BMC takes up the responsibility also comes from the fact that the Thane territorial division has been in recent times flooded with calls from various areas complaining about monkey menace including Lower Parel where it took forest officials and Veterinarian Officer around eight days to trap a monkey.Meanwhile, animal welfare organisations claimed that despite receiving regular calls from citizens across Mumbai- dealing with stray monkey causing trouble in their area, BMC has been simply referring the citizens to contact the forest department, who in turn has been sending it staff or doling out numbers of private monkey catchers who at times even charge a hefty sum to trap these monkeys resulting in the problem not being addressed properly.“Monkeys are attracted due to improper garbage and people feeding them and this is a civic issue and just like BMC takes responsibility for dealing with stray dogs and even has a dedicated staff for it, now its time for them to have something similar for monkey or train the staff dealing with dogs in dealing with monkey’s,” said another forest official adding that they would be more than happy to even train the BMC staff and even pointed that BMC not only had several Veterinarians but also has a fully functional zoo that too can help.In fact citing example the forest official said that be it Delhi, Shimla or other important cities that are facing human-monkey conflict, its the local municipal corporation, which is managing the issue and are even looking at sterilization and other ways of birth control. “BMC can’t simply shun its responsibility,” said the official. According to Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Thane and president of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) it was the time that BMC showed its responsibility. “In other states, municipal corporations have taken responsibility and are even working towards managing the population of monkey and the monkey issue will only rise in the city in coming years and hence it was important that Forest department and BMC stop passing the buck and work out a solution,” he said adding that BMC has resources and should even consider setting up a rescue centre at the Zoo, which is under renovation.A senior BMC official said that the Forest department had never approached them to discuss this issue. “We will support the forest department in the best possible way but they should meet our top officials and take the issue up,” said the official.

Uttarakhand: Remains of animal resembling dinosaur found, authorities informed

Updated: Nov 19, 2017, 11:08 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Remains of an animal resembling a dinosaur have been recovered in Uttarakhand’s Jaspur city, said police on Sunday.According to the police, they received a call from the locals informing them about the remains of a dinosaur following which they rushed to the spot. “On reaching there, we found remains of an animal resembling dinosaur’s body, but it could be anything. We have informed relevant authorities who will establish what it is,” said a police officer.The remains were recovered while cleaning an old storage room of a power house, which had been lying closed for last 10 years. The police took the remains into their custody and after initial inquiry; the remains were handed over to the forest department. The remains will be sent to Dehradun lab for examination.

Green ministry panel defers nod for Indo-Nepal hydel project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The environmental clearance for the Rs 33,108-crore Pancheshwar hydroelectric dam project in Uttarakhand, proposed to be the world’s second tallest at 315 metres, has been deferred.The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in its meeting on October 24 that pending submission of supplementary impact studies wildlife and environment, the wildlife clearance and a site visit, decision on the project should be deferred, official minutes show.The project is a joint venture between India and Nepal conceived under the Mahakali treaty signed in 1996. It involves construction of a 315-metre tall rock-fill hydropower dam across Mahakali River, 2.5-km downstream of the confluence of Mahakali and Sarju River and would have a total installed capacity of 5,040 MW with the inclusion of a smaller 240MW hydropower dam.The project requires a total of 9,100 hectares of land and area of 7,600 hectares, while 31,023 families will lose their land. The EAC said it would require to study the environmental impact assessment report for the Nepal portion of the project to get a holistic view. It also directed the project proponent to obtain wildlife clearance as the project was located 300 metres from the Ascot Wildlife Sanctuary.

Monkey plays hide-and-seek game at L Parel stn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the past four days, a stray monkey has been troubling Lower Parel residents. The monkey has been raiding vegetables and fruits from vendors near the railway stations as well as nearby buildings and has also attacked a couple of people.With the monkey regularly visiting the platforms as well as the Foot Over Bridge (FOB) at Lower Parel railway station, the Railway officials on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the Thane forest department. A team of the department visited the station on Thursday and set up a trap cage near the Station Master’s cabin on platform number 1.Ankit Vyas, an animal rescuer from Kandivli who assisted the forest department in setting up the trap, said: “It’s an aggressive alpha male and has even attacked a couple of people, including one railway official. We tracked it for over an hour on Thursday but it kept giving us a miss as it was first on platform number 1 from where it took the FOB and went on to the east side, and then disappeared.”Vyas informed that they even spoke to several locals as well as shopkeepers outside the station and they all requested that the monkey be trapped. They claimed it kept snatching food and other things from people.”The monkey has regularly been visiting the railway station and moving on the FOB. We are worried about the safety our commuters as during peak hours there can be a stampede like situation on the FOB if the monkey attacks someone. Hence, we have requested the forest department to trap the monkey as soon as possible,” said a railway official.While the forest department has set up the trap with fruits kept as bait, they doubt that it will enter it. “We have already tried on Thursday, and seeing the size and alertness of the monkey, we doubt it will be trapped. We have spoken to the officials from Sanjay Gandhi National Park as well and if required we will dart the monkey on Friday to capture it,” said a senior forest official from Thane forest department.NOT AN EASY TASKWhile the forest department has set up the trap with fruits kept as bait, they doubt that it will enter it. “We have already tried on Thursday, and seeing the size and alertness of the monkey, we doubt it will be trapped. We have spoken to the officials from SGNP and if required we will dart the monkey on Friday to capture it,” said a senior forest official from Thane forest department.

J’khand irrigation project gets nod for felling over 3 L trees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhand that got a renewed push under the NDA government has got an in-principle forest clearance for felling of 3.44 lakh trees and submergence of 1,007.29 hectares of forest inside the Palamau Tiger Reserve. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended the in-principle approval with 14 general and standard conditions that included, among others, compensatory afforestation over double the diverted forest land and at least 1,000 plants per hectare. It also sought strengthening of wildlife corridors connected to the tiger reserve.The project has already received wildlife clearance from the National Board for Wildlife subject to specific conditions that include plans to mitigate adverse impact on wildlife and preparation of a wildlife management plan.The Palamau Tiger Reserve is the lone reserve in Jharkhand under Project Tiger and has seen its tiger population dwindle from 42 in 2005 to three in recent times. Local activists have raised concerns that the renewed push for completion of the project would lead to yet another round of displacement of tribals. Meanwhile, conservationists have cautioned that the submergence and loss of biodiversity could affect the long-term sustainability of the forest. According to official records, the Kutku range is currently home to wild boars, barking deer, golden jackals, elephants, bears and tigers that are seen there occasionally.Work on the irrigation project had first commenced in 1970s and got a fresh push from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Water Resources in 2015. The project was to originally submerge part of the tiger reserve’s core. But, in a meeting in August 2016 held under the chairmanship of PMO principal secretary Nripendra Misra and Jharkhand and Bihar governments, it was decided to reduce the project dam’s full reservoir level.The North Koel project was sanctioned at a cost of Rs 30 crore. Till now, Rs 780 crore has been spent to complete construction of a dam over North Koel river in Latehar district and a barrage in Palamu district. The project, though, is not yet fully operational as the dam gates have not been installed. At present, this partially completed project is irrigating 56,000 hectare of land in Bihar and Jharkhand during Kharif season.

Two fires hit Kota region, girl dies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Major fire broke out at two places of Kota region one in the orange field of Mayakhedi village of Jhalawar district and another in the forest area near Khadipur–Karondi village in Bundi district. The blaze began around noon in an area of 1.5 km as informed by the police official. 1 six-year-old toddler girl suffered several burns and later on succumbed to death. Someone is suspected to have thrown burning Bedi over the dry grass stored by the villagers in the forest land behind the residential areas of the Karondi village.The reason sighted behind the other fire incident which broke out at the orange field is believed to be broken out due to short circuit in the electric wiring from the water booster motor at the well in the field. Around 2000 to 2500 bamboos, piled up near the well in the field and were used to support the orange trees were turned to ashes in the fireThe loss and value of the bamboos, turned into ashes in the fire is yet to be estimated as the owner of the field has not submitted yet.

The serene Avalanche

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Snow-capped peaks, landslides and loss of lives come to mind when you think of an avalanche. But ‘Avalanche’, the recently popularised eco-tourism site in the Nilgiris, is a vibrant reserve forest.Opened five years ago in 2012, entry to Avalanche is restricted because of ‘Maoists’, claim foresters. From Ooty to Avalanche check post, it’s a 25-kilometre scenic drive that takes you past villages, the famous Good Shepherd School, slope after slope of tea plantations, rows of trees, dipping valleys and the lovely Emerald Lake with open, blue skies.As private vehicles are not allowed beyond the check post, you have to park outside the forest department’s office and buy tickets for the tour. You can choose between a 26-seater bus or eight-seater jeep safari, both at Rs 150 per head. As you make your way inside, dense thickets stand tall alongside shrub-laden grasslands; just the kind of place you see in a National Geographic documentary, home to spectacular wildlife. And it is. We’re told it has over 2,000 birds. Lucky ones can spot tigers, panthers, gaur, sambar and sloth bear among others. But with an average of 100 tourists visiting per day during the week and 300 on weekends, the probability dwindles.The first stop is past the kaccha roads to a point from where you can view the sholas. Our driver tells us it’s appeal lies in the cauliflower-like appearance of the shola trees. Indeed, from a distance you feel like you’re seeing broccoli covered hills. Their ecological importance lies in the fact that they are evergreen, keep the water cycle alive and support a number of endemic plant and animal species.Completely deserted, except for us, the forest is so silent, you can hear the nearby waterfall even before you see it, bringing out the selfie-devils in us. A few kilometres ahead, we stop at Bhavani Amman temple. It is captivatingto watch the river Bhavani, Tamil Nadu’s second largest river and a major tributary of the Cauvery, gush down over large, smoothened rocks from its birth point Thalai Bhavani.Before revealing the final and main attraction – Lakkidi Lake – the safari gives you enough time to savour the fascinating landscape. If one slope is covered with barren trees, the next is dense with conifers and the one after has patches of delicate, flowering catci…Loosely called Avalanche Lake, Lakkidi, which forms the backwaters of the Upper Bhavani Dam, is a shimmering blue vision when the sun is high, surrounded by moss-covered slopes on one side, conifers on the other and lush hills meeting the sky far ahead. The water is as pure as it looks. This lake is just one of those gifts of nature that you can’t take your eyes off.But why is such a lush, sultry location called ‘Avalanche’ ? A forest officer has more answers than the internet that I surfed in vain. Apparently, around the time of the British rule, when the area was covered with snow from December to February, it had seen an avalanche. The forest officer informs us, “now it only snows in December, and not as much as it would have in the 1800s.” Is it open to tourists in winter as well? “We keep it closed on Mondays for maintenance and sometimes in June or July because when it rains too much, trees fall and block the road. Otherwise, it’s open all year round. Frankly, in the past three years, we haven’t received much rain.”Around the lake, he tells me, it’s so windy that placards fly away. Soon the forest department will install a new digital information screen to give curious travellers more insight – I’m hoping into Avalanche’s topography, wildlife and biodiversity. Many environmentalists, he says, are pushing the government to close Avalanche to the public. While only time will tell how that pans out, the forester wants the government to limit the number of visitors to 100 a day, as recommended by some, so that “we can control the crowd and maintain the place”. One hopes so too. It would be a terrible loss to have such a lovely place undergo the kind of degradation that most of our tourist-frequented sites do.Plan your tripThe tour starts at Avalanche check post and covers the cauliflower or shola forest view, Thalai Bhavani and Lakkidi lakeJeep Tour with 8 people: Rs 1,200Bus tour with 26 people: Rs150/per head Closed on Mondays for maintenance

UP: Tiger kills man near Maheshpur forest range

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 22-year-old man was mauled to death by a tiger near Maheshpur range forest area which comes under South Kheri forest division, an official said on Saturday.The incident took place in a sugarcane field where Lala Ram, a resident of Asharfiganj village, was working, District Forest Officer (South Kheri) Sameer Verma said.”Sugarcane-Tigers”, a term commonly used for big cats in the Terai forests, are mainly responsible for the man-animal conflict in the region as tigers see sugarcane fields as natural grasslands.Forest officials said that due to excessive human intervention, the tigers, especially those near the fringe areas, get increasingly restive leading to conflict.Man-animal conflict cases are on the rise in the Terai region, including areas of Pilibhit, Lakhimpur-Kheri and Bahraich districts, mostly due to encroachment and settlements in and around the forest areas.

Development Plan 2034 includes Water Port Development Zone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai Port Trust’s (MbPT) ambitious plan to develop the waterfront and related activities overcame a major hurdle as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation carved out Port’s Water Front Development Zone in the development plan 2034 and in the Development Control & Promotion Regulations. The proposed zone will spread over 112.85 hectares. BMC’s general body, which has recently cleared this proposal, has sent it for state government approval.MbPT will be entitled to develop the port and port-related activities with the prior approval of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). These activities include restaurants and hotels, rest houses, marina along with commercial activities, aquariums, maritime and naval museums, water sports, marine parks, cruises, and operational offices.A BMC officer told DNA, “The civic body will grant approval for development and redevelopment in the proposed zone only after the master layout plan incorporating all reservations ad designation. MbPT will prepare detail master plan of its area showing different land use sectors with basic infrastructure and social amenities in accordance with the proposed Development Control & Promotion Regulations 2034 and get the approval of the municipal commissioner (MC). MbPT will, however, be entitled to modify such layout subject to the MC’s nod.”MbPT will have the option to continue with the existing industrial activities in the proposed zone and will have the liberty to relocate the same within the zone or to convert them into activities conforming to the zone. Land use will be permissible in the industrial zone.BMC has proposed 1.33-floor space index in the Water Front Development Zone subject to other restrictions. However, MbPT will have to provide a separate area as per the state government’s directives for social housing, subject to the development control regulations. The redevelopment or retention of any existing area undertaken by the government, semi-government organisation, BMC, and Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA), will be permitted under these regulations.THE PROJECTMbPT will be entitled to develop the port and port-related activities with the prior approval of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).
BMC proposed 1.33-FSI in the Water Front Development Zone subject to other restrictions. However, MbPT will have to provide a separate area as per the state govt’s directives for social housing, subject to the development control regulations.

Man-eating Indian tiger faces ‘shoot-to-kill’ order

Forest officials are scrambling to catch the tigress responsible for killing four people.

LEDs to counter leopard attacks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the entire country is gradually switching over to LED lights as its known to consume lesser energy and increase savings, the forest department too is experimenting its role in keeping leopards at bay.In a unique experiment being carried out inside Aarey Milk Colony, which has recently seen several cases of human-leopard conflict, the forest department is distributing specialised red LEDs which keep blinking.In fact, across several parts of Maharashtra, the forest department has been trying this experiment and has even seen some success.”The human-leopard conflict in Aarey is a very serious concern and we are constantly trying to have a dialogue with locals from various tribal hamlets on things to be done to ensure the conflict can be avoided. It was during one such meeting we decided to try and replicate the LED-light model in Aarey,” said Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Thane territorial.He said the blinking will make the leopard think there is some activity. “A leopard is a very smart animal and research shows it does its best to avoid humans. We have, as of now, distributed 20 LED lights and will take feedback from locals,” he added.Meanwhile, locals said while this is still experimenta, they needed their hamlets to be well lit up.The incidentsMarch 22 3-year-old boy attacked at Chafyachapada, AareyMay 15 3-year-old boy injured after attack at Khadakpada, AareyMay 27 4-year-old boy from Royal Palms attackedJuly 22 Two-and-half-year-old boy died after being attacked near Film City

Illegal tree felling in Dang’s Purna Sanctuary: PIL

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of trees at the Purna Sanctuary in Dangs were illegally chopped between 2016 and 2017 and several Forest Department officials have even paid for the illegal activity, a former employee of the department alleged in a public interest litigation.The illegal chopping violates the Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Act, the petition says.Nathubhai Desai, who worked as an assistant conservator of Forest with the Dangs till 2014 said thousands of trees have been chopped in the sanctuary between 2014 and 2017.Desai had filed the report with the Deputy Conservator of forest and also informed his seniors in 2016. Neither any action was taken, nor a FIR was lodged.The petition was heard by the first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi on Friday. The court has adjourned the matter till November 28.However, the chief justice inquired that while serious allegations are made against two forest officers, why was no response made to the appeal? Petitioner’s advocate Vijay Nagesh assured the court that they will be joined as a party in the petition.According to Desai, around 455 trees were illegally cut and made into 1015 logs between January 2014 and 2015. However, Desai was informed under RTI that the forest department had paid Rs 2,93,000 for the work. The logs would worth Rs 1 crore in the market, sources said.The cutting of a dry tree is also illegal under Purna Wild Life Sanctuary Management Plan, the petition added. The tree cutting in wildlife sanctuary is in violation of Section 29, 35(6) of the Wild Life Protection Act.The petitioners pleaded the court that it should ask the state to inquire into his allegations and take action against the officials who had given permission for the felling of the trees.CHARGES MADENathubhai Desai, who worked as an assistant conservator of Forest with the Dangs till 2014 said thousands of trees have been chopped in the sanctuary between 2014 and 2017.
According to Desai, around 455 trees were illegally cut and made into 1015 logs. Forest department allegedly paid Rs 2,93,000 for the work.

Caught on camera: Fear grips housing societies in Mumbai’s Mulund after leopard spotted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A leopard killing a stray dog outside the housing society in Mumbai’s Mulund has instilled a fear among the residents after the incident was caught on camera, last week.The incident was captured on September 5, in a CCTV camera installed in a Teakwood society in Mulund, adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.A leopard can be seen walking into the well-lit street outside the building and then pouncing on a sleeping dog.”It’s really scary to note that the kill is happening so close to our society. Tomorrow, the leopards might even attack humans,” a resident of Teakwood society told Mumbai Mirror.”The leopards were last captured on CCTV in February.However, we have powerful lights and are following a strict curfew for children,’ said another resident.However, as the footage of the incident has gone viral, forest officials have started nightly patrolling in the area.”As leopard sightings are frequent here. We have now increased patrolling in the area and would like to request the residents to not panic,” Forest official told Mid-Day.

Govt resumes clearance of Saranda cases

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under a moratorium of sorts for the past four years, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has resumed appraisal and clearance of iron ore mining projects in the Saranda forest division, Jharkhand, home to rich Sal forests, vast reserves of iron ore and over 200 elephants.In light of the findings of Justice MB Shah inquiry commission on illegal mining in Saranda, MoEFCC had frozen the clearance process for mines in the region and even clearances granted prior to the commission’s findings. The findings also prompted the Central Bureau of Investigation to initiate a probe into the forest clearances granted for private mining companies.Based on Shah commission’s findings, MoEFCC commissioned two major studies, one to assess the carrying capacity of the forest for annual ore production and one on wildlife management.The ministry recently accepted recommendations from these studies and finalised a mining plan for the Saranda region, official documents confirmed. This plan does not include ‘go, no-go zones’ and appraisal of projects would be done on a case-to-case basis, Ajay Narayan Jha, secretary, MoEFCC told DNA.Following this plan’s approval, the ministry’s statutory expert body, Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), has already given an in-principal approval for Steel Authority of India’s (SAIL) Jhillingburu – I mine that will require 210.56 hectares of forest. The FAC has granted approval with general, standard and specific conditions including a condition to place the project before the National Board for Wildlife for a wildlife clearance as it is located in the core of Singhbum elephant reserve.”The state government shall ensure that various mines are worked in such a way that the required elephant corridors and vegetation zones are maintained without any disturbances,” one of the specific conditions said.

Man arrested for smuggling rare Indian Star Tortoises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Forest Protection Squad in Tamil Nadu have confirmed the arrest of a person for keeping 2515 rare Indian Star tortoises for smuggling purposes. The tortoises were recovered from the residence of a person living in Avadi which is on the outskirts of Chennai. After the operation, it was found out that a group of people procured these animals from different parts of the country and smuggled them to countries like Sri Lanka. The arrested smuggler has admitted to smuggling more than 10,000 such turtles through the southern coast of Rameswaram. At the time of the seizure, the tortoises were found to be transported in cramped up spaces over long distances. They were sent back to Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai for further rehabilitation. The total value of the animals seized was approximately Rs. 25 lakhs. The Indian Star Tortoise is protected by Article IV of the Wildlife Protection Act and smuggling of this species is linked to illicit pet trade.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong protests shifting of Goa’s jurisdiction to NGT Del bench

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today protested the Union environment ministry’s decision to bring Goa under the jurisdiction of the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Delhi. The party has written to Union Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan against the recent notification shifting Goa’s jurisdiction from the Pune bench. “People of Goa are deeply hurt over the decision of the Ministry to bring Goa under the jurisdiction of the Principal bench of NGT,” state unit Congress president Shantaram Naik said in the letter. He said the notification issued on August 10 is “illogical and malicious” considering the distance between the two states as compared to the distance between Goa and Pune. NGT Pune was earlier empowered to entertain the cases filed from Goa. “Considering the international image of Goa, where certain sensitive environmental issues crop every now and then, the Ministry should have considered establishing an independent bench of NGT in Goa. But by shifting its jurisdiction, the Ministry has given a death blow to the state,” he said. Naik said the notification amounts to the “violation of human rights”. “We demand that steps be taken to withdraw the notification immediately,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC forms 3 member committee to examine male elephant calf

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madras High Court today constituted a three-member expert committee to examine a male elephant calf lodged in a kraal (wooden enclosure) in an elephant camp in Coimbatore district to take a decision on taming it. The committee, comprising Dr Rajiv, Head, Elephant center of Excellence, Mannuthy, Kerala, Dr Arun Zakaria, Wildlife veterinarian,Kerala Veterinary College and Ajay Desai,elephant scientist, should file a joint report on it’s health condition psychological state and possibility of rehabilitation,it said. The division bench, comprising Justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Sundar constituted the committee after going through the report filed by the forest department. Apart from this case, the committee should also come up with suggestions on framing Standard Operating Procedures/ protocols not only for treatment of such animals in future but also rehabilitating them, the bench said. “The state shall bear the cost to be incurred by the committee. The report shall be filed as early as possible and in any case not beyond four weeks.It is open to the counsel to make a mention if the report gets ready much earlier,”it said. The matter relates to a PIL filed by one Prema Veeraraghavan that the calf was only three years old, had not killed or attacked any human and that the Chief Wild Life Warden, whose duty it is to protect endangered wildlife, “has taken such a reckless decision” to capture and tame it. The petitioner submitted that the calf, from Mankarai forest, had strayed into a residential area at the foothills of Aththikadavu forest and was captured by forest officials. They should have helped it reunite with its herd, but had released it into Aththikadavu forest atop a hill 33 km away from Mankarai, Prema alleged. The petitioner submitted that the calf returned to the village as it could not locate its herd, that the officials captured it once again and shifted it to Varagaliar elephant camp in Coimbatore district. The petitioner filed the PIL on a April 23 2017 report in an English daily titled ‘Captured elephant calf lodged in kraal.” When the matter was taken up today, petitioner’s counsel alleged that the Forest Department ‘very much intented’ taming the calf and they captured it and sent it to forest. It was unable to locate its mother. The bench then orally observed that “there is a procedure on how to rehabilitate and treat abandoned animals and we will constitute an expert committee.” It then named those who would constitute the committee.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

58 tigers in Kerala’s two tiger reserves: Forest Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: A census conducted at Periyar and Parambikulam Tiger Reserves in Kerala in 2016 has confirmed the presence of 58 big cats in them, Forest Minister K Raju informed the state assembly today. There were 33 tigers in Periyar reserve and 25 in Parambikulam reserve respectively as per the census conducted at the regional level, Raju said adding it was determined through camera trapping method in 2016. As per a tiger census conducted at the national level in 2010, considered as authoritative figure, there were 38 tigers in Parambikulam spread over 643 sq feet area and 34 in Periyar that covers an area of 925 sq feet. A total of 21 wild animals including ten elephants, five monkeys and one leopard were killed due to electrocution in the past one year. With regard to man-animal conflict in the forest fringe areas in the state, he said ten persons were killed and 39 injured in different attack in Waynad district durng the past one year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Elephant electrocuted in Jharkhand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A full grown tusker today died when it came in contact with a high tension live wire at Haildajuri village in East Singhbhum district, Forest officials said. A herd of wild elephants were passing through under-construction canal when a tall pachyderm came in contact with a live high tension live wire and was electrocuted, said Divisional Forest Officer (Dalbhum), S Alam Ansari said. Owing to dumping at the construction site, Ansari said the gap between the ground and high tension wire shortened, which led to the incident. Following the post-mortem, he said forest department officials followed all standard operation procedure before the pachyderm was buried.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Odisha to release tigers in forests to increase population

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Odisha government has been planning to launch an ambitious project by releasing adult Royal Bengal Tigers in low tiger density forests to enhance the number of big cats. “We are planning to release a pair of tigers at the Satkosia tiger reserve in Angul district on a pilot basis. If the scheme is successful, the government may undertake similar efforts in other forests,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy said today. The tigers to be released would probably be brought from outside the state. Tripathy said the tiger relocation programmes had been successful at Sariska National Park of Maharashtra and Panna National Park of Madhya Pradesh. According to the 2016 tiger census, Odisha has only 40 Royal Bengal Tigers — 13 males, 24 females and three calves. There are only two big cats – one male and a female, at Satkosia forest division, forest officials said. Satkosia has been chosen on a pilot basis as food would not be major problem for the big there due to presence of large number of animals of different species there. “We have identified particular sites with proper habitat and prey for the tigers. If the programme yields fruitful results, it will be extended to other parts of the state,” he said. Stating that Odisha’s plan has been intimated to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Tripathy said a team of forest officials would soon visit Sariska and the Panna National Parks to gather information on the programme.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Encroachments in Delhi is a criminal act, says high court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on encroachments in the city, the Delhi High Court said, “What we have done to this city is a criminal act.The court strongly deplored alleged encroachments of forest land in Neb Sarai village in south Delhi.A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, said that encroachments could not be permitted in the ridge areas of the national capital as these were primary “natural features”.The bench said it was shocking that forest land fell prey to illegal constructions and encroachments.The remarks were made during hearing of an application by a Neb Sarai-based couple who have urged the court to direct the Delhi government’s forest department to provide space for entry and exit from their house.The couple have submitted that the space near their house did not come under forest area and if the court found it to the contrary, then they would willingly hand over the possession of the land in front of their house which has been allegedly encroached by the family. The bench in an interim order, has asked the forest department to give them space for entry and exit for now.The bench has observed that the law laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the statutory mandate ha. ve to be strictly complied with

Unemployment major challenge, but govt taking steps to address

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today termed unemployment in the state as a major challenge, but said her government is taking steps to overcome the problem. “Unemployment is a major challenge. (But) the government is taking many steps to tide over the challenge. The private sector is being encouraged to invest in the state and entrepreneurship is being promoted among the youth to generate more job avenues. This is in addition to development of sectors like tourism, handicrafts and horticulture which also have a high employability rate,” she said. Mehbooba was addressing a public gathering after distributing engagement orders under the Rehbar-e-Janglat (ReJ) scheme among the 534 forestry graduates. The chief minister asked them to use their professional qualification and expertise to undertake innovative means to ensure that depletion of green cover in the state is arrested. Mehbooba praised the Forest Department for planting a sizeable chunk of fruit trees in the forest areas to avoid wild animals from moving out in search of food, thus minimising the chances of man-animal conflict. The chief minister, on the occasion, also launched the online consent management and monitoring system of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). This would enable issuance of online permission certificates in favour of intending unit holders, she said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC deplores encroachments in Delhi, says it is a criminal act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”What we have done to this city is a criminal act,” an anguished Delhi High Court has said while strongly deploring alleged encroachments of forest land in Neb Sarai village in south Delhi. A bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, said that no encroachments could be permitted in the ridge areas of the national capital as these were primary “natural features”. It said it was shocking that forest land fell prey to illegal constructions and encroachments. “What we have done to this city is a criminal act. Delhi has become a mess,” the bench observed. The strong remarks came during hearing of an application by a Neb Sarai-based couple who have urged the court to direct the Delhi government’s forest department to provide space for entry and exit from their house. They have said that a boundary wall constructed near their house to protect the forest area, has obstructed access to their flat. The duo have submitted that the space near their house did not come under forest area and if the court found it to the contrary, then they would willingly hand over the possession of the land in front of their house which has been allegedly encroached by the family. “At least for the time being, entry and exit be allowed to them,” their counsel has submitted. The bench, in an interim order, has asked the forest department to give then couple five feet of space for entry and exit. It, however, has made clear that this right was not open to other residents of the area. The bench has observed that the law laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the statutory mandate have to be strictly complied with and should “brook no breach”. “Directions to this effect were passed in 1980 by the Supreme Court in several orders,” it has said, adding that “this order has to be strictly complied with”. “The forest land cannot be converted into a thoroughfare which is clearly beyond planned development under the Master Plan,” it has said. The court had earlier ordered construction of a boundary wall on a PIL by Delhi-resident Deepak Batra, who has sought a direction against alleged encroachments in forest areas near Neb Sarai in Indira Enclave. The petitioner had placed before the court the April 1966 notification issued by the revenue department of the Delhi government declaring the uncultivated land of the ‘gaon sabha’ as a ridge area. The counsel had also said that the lieutenant governor of Delhi in 1994 had declared such land as reserved forest. The petition has sought blocking of a road constructed in the forest area to provide access for emergency vehicles to reach Indira Enclave, an unauthorised colony, close to the posh Sainik Farms area which too has been in news over alleged illegal constructions there. The court had said, “This is more so in view of the imperative need for addressing environmental concerns on a war footing given the adverse impact of global warming.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

3 wild jumbos stray into human settlements

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three wild elephants, which strayed into human settlements on the border villages of Thrissur-Palakkad districts since the past two days are giving sleepless nights to the people, even as forest and police officials are trying to chase them back into the forest. The jumbos, including a tusker and a calf, were spotted in various areas in Thrissur-Palakkad districts. According to local people, the animals were first spotted in Mundur and Parali areas of Palakkad yesterday and later found in Thiruvilwamala and adjacent places in Thrissur. The elephants strayed into the densely populated areas after crossing the National Highway, Bharathapuzha river and railway lines in many parts, they said. Wildlife officials have been deployed in large numbers in the areas where the animals had been spotted. Alerts have been issued to the public to confine themselves in their homes and not to assemble in large numbers near the elephants and provoke them. The forest department also sought the help of trained persons to drive the pachyderms back to the forest. Animal rights campaigner V K Venkatachalam said the forest officials should have driven the elephants back to the same forest where they came from. “The elephants might have come out of forest in search of food and water and they might have lost their way back to forest. Though three elephants were spotted earlier, the calf among them is said to be missing now,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

3 held for killing forest official in Tirunelveli district

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons have been arrested in connection with the killing of a forest official at his office in Sivagiri in this district, police said. The armed gang had attacked the forest official, Murugesan (33) yesterday when he was talking with some of his colleagues, they said. Though he tried to escape on seeing the trio on a two-wheeler, the men chased him and hacked him to death before escaping. The three were arrested midnight last and remanded to judicial custody this morning, police said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

MP: Suspected mining mafia opens fire on Forest personnel; one

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 40-year-old man, suspected to be involved in illegal stone mining, was injured during an exchange of fire between Forest personnel and unidentified people at Pahori village near here today, a police officer said. The incident occurred when some men were fleeing with a tractor-trolley, suspected to be laden with illegally mined stones, fired upon a flying squad of the forest personnel when they tried to intercept the tractor on Karah Road, some 17 km from the district headquarters. “Instead of stopping, the fleeing men dashed the vehicle of the forest personnel with their tractor and fired from a country-made pistol. They also hurled stones at the personnel,” said Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) Atmaram Sharma. He said the man, identified as Rajkumar Gurjar, sustained splinter injuries when the forest personnel returned the fire. Gurjar, a local resident, fled the spot soon after the incident. “We have registered a case against unidentified persons and efforts are on to arrest them,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Nag Panchami: ‘Zero Bite’ campaign launched to tackle snake bite incidents around SGNP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Animal organisations from Mumbai and Thane have joined hands to initiate a campaign called ‘Zero Bite’ on the Nag Panchami festival observed today, to reduce snake bite deaths in communities living in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).The initiative comes close on the heels of an incident on July 11, when Yashodha Kadu, a 20-year-old resident of Jivachapada- a tribal hamlet inside Aarey, lost her life after being bitten by a Cobra, while she was sleeping on the floor of her mud house along with her six-month old baby. A meeting was held last week, attended by representatives of various NGOs and experts, and it was decided to launch the campaign from a school at Aarey milk colony. “It has been decided that this initiative will not be limited to just creating awareness. We want to set up Emergency Response Teams (ERT) at every single tribal hamlet in Aarey for speedy transport and first aid to snakebite victims as well as strengthen the medical community around Aarey by providing them training in responding quickly to snake bite victims,” shared herpetologist Kedar Bhide who is the Founder President of the Reptile Rescue and Study Centre (RRSC). He is also mentoring the initiative and added that the Thane territorial forest is supporting the campaign. Sunish Subramaniam, honorary wildlife warden, Mumbai and President PAWS-Mumbai said that given the fact that Aarey is a forest, snakes are commonly spotted and since there is plenty of poultry as well as rats around the tribal hamlets, they are often attracted to these houses.“Under the campaign, teams will visit all the 28 tribal hamlets in Aarey and create awareness as well as provide information about basic do’s and don’t’s to avoid snake bites. There are also plans to visit schools and sensitise children about snakes. They need not kill them on simply spotting them, but must practice caution while walking or playing in the forest patches,” he said.Speaking about the importance of ERT, Pawan Sharma, Wildlife Warden for Thane and founder of RAWW said that the team would be formed after picking up selected residents from every hamlet. “The ERT will be trained by experts on precautions to be taken to avoid snake bites in their hamlet, how to react if there are snake bite incidents etc. The teams will be taught basic first aid and ways to handle the patient and transport them to the hospital,” he informed.Knowing fully well that doctors at the hospital have a very crucial role to play in saving the life of a snake bite victim, the team has also charted out plans to have training modules for the doctors. “We will be involving the nearest government hospitals, private nursing homes as well as general practitioners in and around Aarey and a team led by a medical practitioner expert in handling snake bite victims will train them on first aid and treatment protocols in case of snake bites as well as other animal emergencies,” informed Priyanka Kadam, founder of NGO Snakebite Healing and Education Society.Researcher and naturalist Rajesh Sanap who has been documenting the biodiversity of Aarey and is also a part of the Zero Bite- Aarey campaign said that they have set a target of three months to make the ERT functional. “We are already in contact with tribal leaders from Aarey as well as active members from various hamlets and will be organizing a meeting soon for setting up ERT. This will be a community led programme and the idea is that once the Aarey chapter become fully functional, the same model will be replicated in areas like SGNP- Borivali, Yeoor and other locations,” he said.Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) for Thane Territorial, Sunil Limaye called the campaign the need of the hour said that it will help bring about a complete change in the manner people look at snakes.Limaye said, “The tribals have been co-existing with snakes, but a conflict or fear of being bitten at times leads to angry mobs killing the snakes. The campaign will help empower the community to ensure that precious life is saved by taking the right steps at the right time.”

Delhi min seeks daily reports of sapling plantations during

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain today expressed concern over “ineffective” monitoring of plantation drives and sought daily progress reports of sapling plantations during the ongoing monsoon. He sought the constitution of an inter-departmental committee, comprising officers of different green agencies, to ensure independent monitoring of the tree plantation drives, an official statement said. The responsibility of erring officials should be fixed, a he said while reviewing the plantation drives conducted by various agencies including Horticulture wings of three municipal corporations, CPWD, PWD, DDA, Delhi Parks and Garden Society (DPGS) and Forest department. “The minister expressed concern over ineffective monitoring of plantation drives, and sought daily progress reports on new saplings planted during the Monsoon,” the statement said. The nodal officers should submit regular progress reports to the Forest and Wildlife department that will furnish a consolidated copy of the reports to him, the statement quoting Hussain as saying. He gave further instructions for constitution of an inter-departmental committee, comprising officers of different green agencies, to ensure independent monitoring of the tree plantation drive being organized by them in the monsoon season, it said. “The responsibility of erring officials in this regard should be fixed,” the minister was quoted as saying in the statement.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Odisha to make new law for protection of fishermen interest in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to protect the rights of traditional fishermen communities living in and around Chilika lake, Odisha government today decided to bring a proper legislation in this regard. A proposal in this regard submitted by the Forest and Environment department was approved at the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here. “The cabinet today decided to introduce Odisha Regulation of Fishing and Fisheries in Chilika Act, 2017 in the next session of the Assembly,” chief secretary A P Padhi told reporters. Stating that a legislation is necessary for regulating the fishery activities in a responsible and sustainable manner, Padhi said this will address the rights of the traditional fishermen earning their livelihood depending on Chilika. In regard to the provisions of the proposed law, Padhi said the act prohibits certain activities in Chilika which are detrimental to the long term interest of the stakeholders like fishing in eco-sensitive areas including outer channel, use of zero net, mantle nets and net box having mesh size less than 10 mm. It also include capture of some important species of fishes, prawn and crab below a particular size and mullet fishing during breeding seasons and aquaculture including pen, cage and gherries culture, he said. The proposed act also empowers the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) to discharge the functions like grant of sub-lease within the leasable area of Chilika and to impose/take action in the appropriate manner for contravention of the proposed legislation, Padhi said. Replying to a question, Padhi said the proposed legislative measures and the mandate of the act being very specific and neither covered under any other act not does this act infringe upon the provision of any other acts and rules. Forest and Environment secretary S C Mohapatra said the act has provision up to 7-years imprisonment for violation of the proposed act. The Cabinet today approved a total of 19 proposals including one policy for maintenance of the rural roads.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress demands probe on Chattisgarh minister’s land case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After a Chattisgarh Cabinet Minister?s wife was accused of acquiring a portion of the state?s forest land and building a resort on it, the Congress has spoken out against the minister and his wife and demanded A thorough investigation of the case. Speaking on the issue, Congress spokersperson R.P. Singh said that such a case wouldn?t have been possible without pressure from the minister and demanded a thorough investigation on the case. Singh said, ?We?ll take up this issue within our party and if they are found guilty, they?ll have to resign? Speaking to ANI on the same, forest authorities have said that a probe has been ordered for this case and that they will come up with the results really soon. Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) member Sanjay Srivastava believes that these allegations are false and the property belongs to the minister only. In addition to it, he said, ?If the land truly belongs to the state, then it must be returned? Earlier, Sarita Agrawal, wife of Chhattisgarh cabinet minister Brijmohan Agrawal, was accused of acquiring a portion of the state’s forest land and building a resort on it. As per the reports, Sarita is said to have acquired three ?khasras? ? 1.38, 1.37 and 1.37 hectares ? totaling 4.12 hectares on September 12, 2009 for Rs 5,30,600. According to official documents, the land originally belonged to Vishnu Ram Sahu who is a farmer, who had donated the land to the then Madhya Pradesh Water Resources department (WRD) in 1994 for Public welfare. Almost immediately, this plot, as part of a total of 61.729 hectares, was handed over to the Forest Department, in lieu of land submerged by a minor irrigation project. Records show that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests gave preliminary clearance to this transfer on May 2, 1994. The episode came under spotlight in March 2015 when Lalit Chandranahu of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (KMS) of Mahasamund district wrote to Mahasamund Collector Umesh Kumar Agrawal and the then Raipur Commissioner Ashok Agarwal alleging that while the plot was transferred to the government, revenue records did not show this. He wrote a second complaint in 2016. Barely four months later, another complaint was written and sent to the Prime Minister?s office. The PMO responded back by asking for an enquiry on January 13, 2017. On June 30 this year, the Collector again wrote to the Forest and Water Resources departments asking what action had been taken as a report also had to be sent to Chhattisgarh?s Economic Offences Wing and the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Ends SC NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

381 babus, including 24 IAS, punished:Personnel ministry to PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’Perform or perish’. This is one of the mantras of good governance being followed by the Modi government to make its workforce accountable, a senior personnel ministry official has said. The ministry has taken actions like premature retirement and cut in remuneration against 381 civil services officers, including 24 from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, for being non-performers and allegedly being involved in illegal activities, he said. It highlighted these measures in a booklet titled ‘3 years of sustained HR initiatives: Foundation for a new India’ and in a presentation made before Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. “To ensure accountability of bureaucracy, the government has made probity and performance the twin pillars on which good governance rests,” the booklet said. Strict action has also been initiated against officers on foreign postings who were continuing on such assignments beyond their approved tenures, it said. “These strict measures have gone a long way towards inculcating a sense of discipline and accountability in the bureaucracy and have sent a message to employees to either perform or perish, while having a positive impact on the performing workforce,” the ministry said. It said the records of 11,828 Group A officers, including 2,953 all India services like the IAS, the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), were reviewed. The service records of 19,714 Group B officers were also reviewed to eliminate the deadwood and the corrupt. In the presentation before the prime minister, the ministry said action was taken against 381 bureaucrats. A total of 25 Group A officers, including one IAS and two IPS, and 99 Group B officers were prematurely retired by the government, the ministry said. As many as 21 civil servants, including ten IAS officers, deemed to have resigned, it said. The penalties like dismissal, removal or compulsorily retirement and cut in pension was imposed on 37 Group A officers that included five from the IAS. In addition to this, 199 Group A officers, including eight from the IAS, were penalised on remuneration, it said. The ministry, while highlighting its initiatives, said there was “visible demonstration of the will of the State in punishing wrongdoers”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Forest officials worried over fourth leopard attack on a child

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death of two-and-half-year-old Vihaan Garuda on Saturday has left not only forest officials, but also wildlife biologists, perturbed with this being the fourth incident since March this year in which children were attacked by a leopard in and around Aarey Colony, while three were injured one succumbed.Forest department officials are now investigating if the attacks are deliberate on children. “It’s difficult to understand if the leopard was indeed targeting children and the reasons for it. While we are cautious about not randomly trapping leopards, in this case if we find that there is a need, we will surely trap it,” said a forest official.Pune-based wildlife biologist and leopard expert, Dr Vidya Athreya, said that the animal needs to be trapped. “The biggest challenge will be ensuring that the right animal is trapped, hence the forest department and the team working in Aarey, which has been camera trapping leopards, need to work in coordination,” she said.Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Thane Territorial, said that intensive camera trapping has been initiated on the site since Sunday to find out the animal involved after which further action will be decided. “We have asked the security from Film City as well as Maharashtra Security Force to not allow anyone to go towards this forested trail on foot, especially tourists who come to Film City in buses. Apart from this, we have also decided to provide a training session for the security staff about avoiding conflict with the leopard,” he said.HUMAN-LEOPARD CONFLICTSMarch 22: Three-year-old boy attacked at Chafyachapada, Aarey Colony
May 15: Three-year-old boy severely injured after attack at Khadakpada, Aarey Colony
May 27: Four-year-old boy from Royal Palms attacked
July 22: Two-and-half-year-old boy died after being attacked near Film City

CBI arrests top bureaucrat in Chandigarh for accepting bribe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Birendra Chaudhary, who is also the member secretary Chandigarh pollution control committee, for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs one lakh. The CBI acted on a complaint that alleged a show cause notice was served to the complainant by Chaudhary regarding revoking of consent issued earlier to the complainant. Chaudhary demanded and accepted the bribe for not taking any adverse action. Searches were conducted at the premises of Chaudhary. He would be produced in the Competent Court at Chandigarh today. Ends MA/HB NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Dhumal welcomes CBI probe into Kotkhai rape, murder case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister P K Dhumal today welcomed the CBI probe into the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kotkhai, which, he said, was ordered under “mounting pressure” from the people. The leader of opposition said people of the state have lost confidence in the police and investigating agencies. “Ever since the Congress has come to power, the law-and- order situation in the state has deteriorated. Criminals and anti-social elements have no fear of the law,” Dhumal told reporters. He suggested that the government should have immediately accepted the demand of the victim’s family for the CBI probe. The former CM also demanded a CBI probe into the killing of forest guard Hoshiyar Singh. “How can a person consume poison and climb the tree in a forest?” he asked. Singh’s body was found hanging from a tree in the forest of Karsog area in Mandi district on June 9.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC fines Secretary of MoEF for unsatisfactory reply on wetland protection case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court on Thursday slapped a fine of Rs. 50, 000 on Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for his unsatisfactory reply in the wetland protection case. The bench of apex court headed by Justice Madan B. Lokur passed this verdict. Earlier in February, the top court directed the Centre to frame a policy to protect wetlands by June 30. This verdict was passed in order to preserve the ecologically crucial wetlands which is threatened to be encroached in many parts of the country which cover over 2 lakh wetlands across India. The policy was to be framed for preservation of wetlands to mitigate climate change and protect wide variety flora and fauna. A wetland is an area saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sagareshwar to be Maharashtra’s first completely-fenced sanctuary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While man-animal conflict is rising around forest areas, the State Forest Department will completely fence-off the Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Maharashtra to prevent animals from raiding human settlements and farms.Once this fencing of the 10.87 sq km-sanctuary gets over in the next four months, it will become Maharashtra’s first protected area to be completely enclosed. Located in Sangli district, Sagareshwar has another first to its name — it is the first man-made wildlife sanctuary.”We have chain-link fenced most of the sanctuary and will soon cover the remaining part. We will ensure 24X7 vigilance,” V Clement Ben, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) and Field Director of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve told DNA. He added that the move was initiated after repeated crop depredation by herbivores.”The sanctuary is surrounded by human settlements and agricultural fields. “We have no option but to fence off the area,” said Ben. Combined with watch-towers and protection huts, the fence will ensure the safety of the animals in the sanctuary.Work on parts of the fence commenced around five years ago in areas where the crop damage was huge.A forest official said the fence would be 7-feet tall to prevent animals from crossing over. “The sanctuary has an around 39 sq km boundary, of which just a 1.60 km patch is to be covered,” he said.Sagareshwar has herbivores like spotted deer, black bucks, sambar, wild boar, and nilgai, and birds like peacocks. Hyenas and fox are the main carnivores. Since the forest was created artificially, it isn’t linked to other forests or the Western Ghats.However, officials admit that fencing other forest areas similarly will impede animal movement and thus, the quality of the genetic stock.The Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary located in Sangli is the first man-made wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra.It was built by freedom fighter and environmentalist Dhondiram Mohite in 1975. Animals were introduced artificially.It is surrounded by agricultural fields in the Krishna basin and there have been instances of animals straying into these areas and destroying crops.The sanctuary will be fenced off to prevent this conflict.

Chhattisgarh Govt. makes changes in administration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Chhattisgarh Government on Tuesday reshuffled the positions of seven IAS officers, while other 11 IPS officers have been transferred. Principal Secretary of Revenue and Technical Education Renu G. Pillay has been transferred as OSD and Member of Board of Revenue, while member of Board of Revenue, N.K. Khakha has been transferred to the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management. Shahla Nigar has been given additional charge of Secretary of Skill Development and Technical Education, while Ritu Sen member of Hastshilp Vikas Board has been given additional charge of Managing Director of the CIDC. Shyam Lal Dhavde has been given additional charges of Managing Director of Hastshilp Vikas Board, while B.V. Uma Devi has been given relief from the additional charge of Director of Technical Education. Indian Forest Service officer Vivek Acharya, Indian Forest Service will be the new Director of Technical Education. Meanwhile, Additional Superintendent of Police of Durg, Vivek Shukla has been transferred to Korea and Additional SP, SIB, Dr. Lal Umed Singh has been transferred as SP of Kawardha. Rajnesh Singh from Economic Offences Wing has been transferred as SP of Dhamtari and Additional Superintendent of Police Crime, Azad Shatru will now serve as SP Crime. Anchal Kumar has been appointed as the new SP of Balarampur, while D. Ravishankar, SP of Kabirdham has been given the post of SP SIB. SP of Dhamtari Manish Sharma will now be the new SP of Economic Offences Wing and Sujit Kumar from SP Korea will take over as the AIG of CID. T. Ekka, SP Bemetara will now handle the 16th Battalion of Narayanpur, who was earlier handled by D.K. Gerg. D.K. Gerg will now hold the post of SP Bemetara and Sadanand Kumar, and SP Balarampur has been appointed as SP Police Academy Chandkhuri.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J&K: Infiltration bid foiled, three militants killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three militants were killed on Monday as the Army foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control (LoC) in Naugam sector of north Kashmir.”Suspicious movement was noticed along the LoC in Naugam sector last night and the terrorists were tracked till dawn, when they were challenged by own troops,” an Army official said.He said in the ensuing gunfight, three militants have been killed so far as the operation was still in progress.The official said combing operations were being carried out in the forest area to ensure no militant from the group has managed to sneak in.

Buy buffer zone, civic chief tells depts that seek distance from projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence, Forest and other departments that seek a buffer zone between construction activities might soon have to buy the land they want as the buffer, said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, while addressing the builder community earlier this week.Mehta was responding to a question raised by Mukesh Patel, Joint Treasurer of CREDAI-MCHI. “When the BMC comes up with a development plan, a developer keeps in mind all the rules laid down. However, there have been instances when Defence and others have asked for construction to be stopped because of the proximity to their establishments. This hampers growth,” said Patel. To this, Mehta replied, “If Forest and Defence need a buffer, then pay for it.”Later, Mehta said, “We respect the law and understand the importance of Defence and Environment, but one cannot take someone’s land.”Normally, a buffer zone means no construction is allowed up to 500 meters of the establishment or forest. According to Patel, in areas like Malad and Kandivali, the situation came up around 2011, when the Defence raised an objection. Thus affecting many redevelopment projects. “They protect all the 50,000 buildings in the city, but then why should only 500 buildings suffer. This move will help residents, tenants, developers and other citizens. Organisations asking for a buffer zone can buy the land at market value and compensate the affected party,” said Patel.Some builders are of the opinion that instead of asking for a buffer zone outside their boundary, the organisations should have a buffer zone inside their boundary thus not impacting the existing buildings in the city….& ANALYSISMany projects have been in the news for their proximity to defence establishments or forest areas.
This move means that residents will get compensation, however BMC will have to knock on various doors to make this ambitious suggestion a reality.

Elephant population study: Answer lies in the dung

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forest staffers and volunteers across India recently finished mammoth field studies to estimate elephant population, last done in an ad-hoc way in 2012. The secret of their numbers, though, lies in the dung of these gentle giants. For the first time, the Environment Ministry and State Forest Departments are carrying out a thorough scientific estimate, aided in chief by the ‘dung decay method’, which is used the world over.Officially called the ‘All India Synchronized Asian Elephant Population Estimation’, the field exercise, carried out by Project Elephant of the Environment Ministry, began in November last year and ended in May.At 35 locations in the country, beginning November, teams of foresters and volunteers sampled and recorded dung piles, during a space of 10-15 days each. This was used to assess dung density. After a gap of a few months, when the direct counting exercise began, the dung piles were revisited to assess their decay rate. After assessing dung density and its decay rate, the third element of elephant defecation rate comes into play.”As per studies, elephants defecate 15-16 times a day on an average and this data is used in the mathematical formula to estimate elephant density. The dung density figure is multiplied by its decay rate and divided by the normal defecation rate. This throws up the density of elephants in a sample size area of 5-6 sq.kms which is used to extrapolate density for a larger forest area,” said Raman Sukumar, Professor, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.THE MAMMOTH STUDYAs per the last study of 2012, the population of elephants is estimated to be between 29,000 and 30,711. Besides these wild elephants, around 3,500 elephants are in captivity.
Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh are home to nearly 40 per cent of the country’s jumbo population with more than 12,000 elephants.

Green loss is highway project’s gain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the proposed 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway is expected to boost the state’s economy, the draft environmental impact assessment report (EIA) prepared by the executing agency, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), states that 5,309 trees will have to be felled for the construction of the Expressway on the 155-km stretch between Jalna district in Marathwada to Aurangabad.The number of trees expected to be felled does not even amount to half of the total proposed construction of the Expressway. The EIA report also states that 26.8 hectares of forest land will have to be diverted to make way for the Expressway’s construction.However, MSRDC said the afforestation effort will surpass the loss caused by deforestation. “For every tree axed, three tree will be planted in its place,” said an MSRDC official.The draft EIA report for the 155-km stretch between Jalna and Aurangabad, which has been accessed by DNA, also states, “The key negative, permanent and irreversible impact will occur along the proposed alignment. There will be a loss of forest land of about 26.8 hectares”.”There will also be a loss of 5,309 trees, of which 399 are in the forest area and 4,910 belong to the non-forest area.”Between Bhiwandi and Nagpur, 84 per cent of the required land for the Expressway construction is prime agricultural land, while 13 per cent is uncultivated land. The remaining 1.92 per cent is forest land.The report further states that the construction of the highway will also have an impact on water bodies as well as air quality and noise levels.Deterioration of air quality due to fugitive dust emission from construction activities like excavation, backfilling and concreting, the report reads.However, the report has also suggested mitigation measure for every negative impact on the environment. The draft EIA report prepared by MSRDC is a part of the detailed project report (DPR) of the Expressway. The EIA report reveals the impact of the project on environment and also suggests mitigatory measures that could be taken in order to have minimum impact on environment.A public hearing will be conducted by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) before the draft is converted into a final report.The Rs 46,000-crore Expressway project is expected to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur to 10 hours from the current 15-17 hours. Land acquisition for the project has been mired in controversy as farmers, along with opposition parties including ally Shiv Sena, have been opposing the acquisition of 20,000 hectares for the Expressway, a dream project of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.Paving the wayAround 5,309 trees will have to be felled for the stretch between Jalna and Aurangabad. Also, 6.8 hectares of forest land will be diverted.

Ensure ban on "illegal" sand mining: NGT tells Uttarakhand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal today directed the Uttarakhand government to ensure there is no “illegal” sand mining being carried out on the floodplains of river Ganga in the state. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar asked the Trivendra Singh Rawat government to take necessary steps in this regard on a plea filed by an NGO seeking a stay on mining of minor minerals on the bed of river Ganga in Haridwar. “The counsel appearing for the Uttarakhand government and the state pollution control board submit that they will take all requisite steps to ensure that there is no illegal mining in the state and there are no stone crushers which pollute the environment,” the bench noted. During the hearing, the Uttarakhand government and the state pollution control board told the tribunal that they have taken action against 30 stone crushers. The direction came while disposing a plea, filed by NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), which had alleged that illegal mining of sand and boulders is being carried out in villages Bishanpur, Goghpur and Kandabhagamal on the bank of Ganga in Uttarakhand. “The act of illegal mining is not only endangering environment but is also in non-compliance of enactments listed in Schedule I of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010,” it had said. The plea had also submitted photographs showing large- scale illegal mining of minerals and contends that mining in these areas is not only damaging the environment and ecology of the river but also affecting the movement of wildlife. According to the plea, a state-level committee, comprising officials of the Environment ministry, had also suggested that the “state government should be asked to stop all illegal mining in the Ganga immediately to avoid any further adverse impact on surrounding environment.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UNESCO urges Poland to halt logging in ancient Bialowieza forest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The United Nations’ cultural body UNESCO has called on Poland to halt logging in its ancient Bialowieza Forest, saying it could otherwise decide to place it on its list of world heritage sites in danger. Bialowieza Forest, which straddles Poland’s border with Belarus, is one of the last and largest remaining tracts of primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. At a gathering in Krakow, southern Poland, UNESCO delegates called for a halt to logging in the oldest parts of the forest. “Let’s hope this fresh warning will stop the illegal logging before Europe’s oldest forest is irreversibly damaged,” Agata Szafranska, lawyer at ClientEarth non-government organisation was quoted as saying in a statement. Poland’s environment minister argues that beetles pose a threat to the forest and that logging will help protect the trees. The conservative government has tripled the quota of wood that can be harvested. The decision has prompted protests from environmentalist groups and divided Polish society. It has also raised concerns in the European Commission, which stepped up legal action over the logging earlier this year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

C’garh: Elderly man trampled to death by wild elephant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 75-year-old man was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Kartala forests range of Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, officials said today. Two persons have died in attacks by tuskers in the past six day days in the region. Devcharan Rathiya came face-to-face with the elephant last night at his village Pidia under Korba forest division, said Forest Range Officer (Kartala Range) Amir Khan. After having dinner at his house, Rathiya was heading towards his relative’s place in the village along with other villagers when the tusker stormed there. He tried to escape from the spot but the pachyderm held him by its trunk and slammed him several times on the ground, resulting in his death, he said. However, other villagers somehow managed to escape and saved their lives. Forest officials and police team reached the village this morning. The kin of the deceased have been given relief amount of Rs 25,000, the officer said adding the remaining compensation of Rs 3.75 lakh will be disbursed soon after completing the necessary process. On June 30, a villager Ramcharan was killed by elephants near Botli village in the same Kartala area of Korba. The thick forested northern Chhattisgarh, comprising Surguja, Korba, Raigarh, Jashpur and Korea districts, are notorious for human-elephant conflict incidents. The region has witnessed several killings of tribals and widespread damages to houses and crops by rogue elephant in past years.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai: Two men arrested with 200 star tortoises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An intelligence tip-off not only helped nab a father-son duo from Karnataka on Monday, but also rescued 200 star tortoises. The duo had stuffed the tortoises in a shoulder bag and had brought them to Mumbai, with the intention of selling in the illegal pet market.According to M Maranko, Regional Deputy Director, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Western Regional office, a close watch was being kept on the network of men selling star tortoises and other turtles that have a huge demand in the market. On Monday, they acted when they had specific information about two people.“Our team along with Thane Forest’s anti-poaching unit reached Kalyan station and as soon as they saw Vijay (27) and Sagiram (40) in the parking area, they apprehended them. After a search, two bags full of star tortoises were found kept in the shoulder bag,” he said, adding that both the men were arrested and were produced before the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Kalyan. The WCCB has got custody of them for three days.Maranko informed that both the men hailed from Balegowdanahalle village of Karnataka. “Earlier too, we had arrested few men hailing from this village and during interrogation we got information that several men from the village enter the forest and collect star tortoises and once the number is substantial, they were packed and sent to various cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and other places.”Star tortoises are a species protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and are one of the highest and most popular selling tortoises in the illegal pet markets of Mumbai as people consider them lucky and a harbinger of good fortune, according to myths as well as principles of feng shui.

FEATURE-Drought-hit Ethiopia moves to protect its dwindling forests

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By Elias Gebreselassie CHILIMO, Ethiopia, July 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Ethiopia is enlisting the cooperation of people in and around its forests to manage woodland better, hoping to protect the country from the effects of climate change while boosting development prospects for its population of 100 million. The government of Africa’s second most populous country has set an ambitious aim of reducing poverty and becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2025, in part by transforming the way rural landscapes are managed. Its Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy aims to meet half of its target reduction in carbon emissions by adding 5 million hectares (12.4 million acres) of forests by 2020 – just three years from now – and restoring 22 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030. The government sees adding forests as a key way to both curb climate change and help the country adapt to and deal with strong climate change impacts, including droughts, said Yitbetu Moges, the national representative for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Forestry, Environment and Climate Change. With water resources under ever greater stress due to the country’s rising population, forests are important to maintaining stable rainfall and building drought resilience, while the carbon they store reduces emissions to the environment, Moges said. STARTING IN OROMIA According to the ministry, the biggest forest conservation programmes are taking place in Oromia, which is home to a third of the country’s population. The 10-year Oromia Forested Landscape Programme (OFLP), which is getting underway this year, is a community-centered programme for sustainable forest management. The project, with an initial $18 million of funding from the World Bank, aims to reduce deforestation and lower net greenhouse gas emissions resulting from land use. The programme’s first pilot project launched in early May in the Chilimo Forest Reserve, one of the last remnants of a dry, mountainous forest that once covered Ethiopia’s central plateau. Located 90 km (56 miles) west of Addis Ababa, the forest currently covers about 5,000 hectares (12,300 acres), down from 12,000 hectares (29,600 acres) in the 1980s, mainly as a result of logging in the early 1990s, officials say. Under the programme, local community cooperatives have been given the right to protect and manage the forest, which faces encroaching population pressure and illegal logging, and decide on how to use the benefits accrued from it. The programme encourages cooperative members to harvest stalks and other crop residue from fields for fuel, instead of using wood, and cultivate wild honey and crops like green pepper, onion and potatoes, which can be grown within the forest limits without requiring significant deforestation. Communities are also urged to plant fast-growing, non-native trees such as eucalyptus to harvest for timber or medicinal purposes as a way of generating income. Degu Woldegiorgis, a local community leader, is a member of one of 12 forest associations, representing 3,000 residents around Chilimo, that will participate in managing the forest. He said the community’s decision to help preserve the Chilimo reserve is the result of seeing the problems other communities have faced after destroying their forests. “The forest is our life. We get many benefits from the forest,” he said. Woldegiorgis said his community has committed to planting three tree seedlings per community member on deforested land each year. BENEFITS DOWNSTREAM Stephen Danyo, an expert in natural resources management with the World Bank’s Ethiopia office, said the forestry management scheme aims not just to secure incomes for local communities but to protect water resources for downstream communities as well. “Forest is worth protecting and expanding because forest not only provides jobs and livelihoods, it provides water security, it provides food security, it provides climate security,” he said. Moges said protecting forests would also help ensure more stable harvests by protecting water supplies – a major concern in a country where the government says 7.8 million Ethiopians face food shortages as a result of climate change-related drought and land degradation. “Agriculture will benefit as it will be less impacted by climate change shocks, creating climate stability, in addition to the forest’s well-known touristic benefits,” he said. The government estimates that about 15.5 percent of Ethiopia is covered in forests – but the country is losing 92,000 hectares (227,000 acres) of forest annually, and only 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) are being replanted, Moges said. He said that to protect more forests young Ethiopians need to learn about the value of forest conservation in school, from primary level onward. Woldegiorgis, on the other hand, thinks tougher punishments for illegal loggers in the Chilimo Forest Reserve are needed. He said that loggers caught by his organisation and handed over to the authorities have received what he sees as lenient prison sentences of only a few months. POPULATION PRESSURE Moges also thinks some of Ethiopia’s rural population needs to move to its cities to better protect forests and other land as the country’s population expands. More than 80 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas, adding to the pressure on forests, he said. “National planning is needed with regards to population pressure to relieve pressure on land. But we also have to ensure today’s children can migrate to cities, learn in good schools, be employed in industries, and open up business,” he said. Danyo said such strategies need to start working soon, or Ethiopia may struggle to hold onto its remaining forests as population pressures grow. “There’s not much left in Ethiopia of the old, native, original forest. It’s disappearing quickly,” he said. “Protecting forests is not just because people love trees and forests but because it’s important for poverty reduction, jobs, water security energy and agriculture.” Moges said he sees protecting forests as critical to the country’s future success. “A prosperous Ethiopia is one that protects its forest resources. Preserving forests is creating prosperity,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

10-feet-long King Cobra captured in Coimbatore district

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A rare 10-feet-long King Cobra was captured alive from a private farm near Mettupalayam in the district today, forest department officials said. The owner of the farm, who noticed a snake waiting for its prey, informed Forest Department officials, who reached the spot along with snake catchers. Realising that it was a rare species, the catchers, from an NGO, caught the reptile and handed it over to the officials, department sources said. Officials released the 10-foot long cobra into the dense forest region of Kallar near Mettupalayam, they said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra finance & forest dept to get ISO certificate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fifth floor office of Finance and Planning Minister of Maharashtra Sudhir Mungantiwar will to be awarded the prestigious International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification ISO 9001:2015. The ISO certificate is being awarded after assessing the ministry on parameters of prompt policy making and execution, monitoring and administrative control activities related to finance, planning and forest departments in the state, an official said today. Mungantiwar also holds the forest portfolio. The finance and forest office is the first department in Mantralaya (state secretariat) to be awarded the certificate. The certificate will be officially presented to Mungantiwar by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tomorrow in Mantralaya. The other parameters on which the ISO certificate is being awarded included Mungantiwar handling the additional charge as Guardian Minister for Chandrapur and Wardha districts and acting as chairman and member of various cabinet and sub-committees, the official said. The certificate will last from May 8, 2017 to May 7, 2020. Sources in the Finance and Forest department said the ‘Van’ (Forest) Bhavan in Pune and Nagpur and some district offices of the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) in places like Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Nagpur have already acquired the ISO certification. The official said care is taken to ensure that no administrative file is kept pending at the desk of any official for more than a week. “The certification deals with the time taken by any visitor to the department after he gets his token number to the time taken in disposing off his grievance or problem,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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