Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bachchan says his state tourism ad is working.

Express News Service

Posted: Jul 08, 2011 at 0227 hrs IST
Ahmedabad In the city to promote his latest release, actor Amitabh Bachchan on Thursday said most Gujaratis did not even know about the archaeological sites in their state.
Bachchan, who is the brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism, said even Gujarati NRIs frequently wrote on his blog site expressing their ignorance about such sites in Gujarat. The actor said the TV ad campaign, Khusbhoo Gujarat Ki, in which he features, has many Gujaratis responding with messages on his blog that they would visit the featured places.
Promoting his movie Buddah Hoga Tera Baap, Bachchan said, “Khusboo Gujarat Ki is a very nice project. What attracted me was the fact that the state is an important part of the country and among all the archaeological sites in India, Gujarat has most of them. It’s an honour to popularise the Gujarat Tourism.”
“Each and every place I visited, whether it was the Rann of Kutch or the Gir Forest, they have extraordinary features,” the actor said.
Gujarat Tourism Secretary Vipul Mitra said the Khusboo Gujarat Ki project would now cover Saputara in the Dangs, Ambaji temple, Pavagadh and the Sun Temple in Modhera.

Lion safari at Chhatbir facing flood hazard.

Pankaj Dhiman, TNN Jul 11, 2011, 07.04am IST
CHANDIGARH: Lion safari at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological park, Chhatbir, is again facing threat due to monsoon.
Zoo authorities and Punjab irrigation department officials are yet to plug the breaches in the wall erected to prevent Ghaggar water from entering the safari display area. Contrary to the claims of zoo officials, who visited the site along with administration officials on Sunday, the wall is in the danger of collapsing.
Besides putting off visitors, due to non-availability of lions in the waterlogged area, it is also posing threat for Gagan and Heni, the Asiatic lion pair brought from Rajkot zoo of Gujrat for increasing the pure breed of lions in Safari here.

MoEF declares four new eco zones in state.

Express News Service  Posted: Jul 10, 2011 at 0248 hrs IST

Ahmedabad Girnar forest, Vansda National Park, Purna and Narayan Sarovar wildlife sanctuaries will have new master plans in a year
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has declared four wildlife sanctuaries and national parks inside Gujarat as eco-sensitive zones to protect the biodiversity there.
The move restricts industrial development, changes in land use and tourism activities, while banning the use of plastic bags inside these areas.
The four new eco-sensitive zones include certain areas in the Girnar Reserve Forest in western Saurashtra, the entire Vansda National Park and the Purna Wildlife Sanctuary in south Gujarat as well as the Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kutch.
The state government has been asked to prepare Zonal Master Plans for each of these zones within a year. In the meantime, polluting industries have been disallowed from being set up henceforth while non-polluting industries may be set up provided each maintains a 50-metre-wide green belt.
Mining has also been banned and all existing leases are to be phased out while sand quarrying may be allowed in some areas only if it is for the local population.
Even land use changes from agriculture to non-agricultural purposes will be allowed only for residential development, that too for the needs of the locals only.
Each zone will also have a monitoring committee comprising respective district collectors, a representative of an environmental NGO working in the area, the regional pollution control officers, a senior town planner and a representative of the MoEF.
All places of worship, villages, forests, agricultural areas, fertile lands, green areas, horticultural areas, orchards, lakes and water bodies would be recorded and any new construction would be allowed only after due approval by the respective monitoring committees before the master plans are ready.
A total of 119 villages fall inside these newly declared eco-sensitive zones and the local governments of larger human settlements (with populations more than 5,000) would have their own Area Development Plans.
Tourism plans would have to promote eco-tourism, eco-education and eco-development, while commercial extraction of groundwater will also be regulated.
All the natural springs and their catchment areas are also to be mapped out and no development is to be allowed so that they can be rejuvenated and preserved.
What each of the draft notifications seek to protect
*“The Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary falls under a separate biotic province of the country,” the draft said. “A distinct gene pool” of rare and threatened species like the chinkara, caracal, wold, leopard, spiny-tailed lizard, desert cat, great Indian bustard, lesser florican and the houbara bustard live in an area that has a mix of arid regions, grasslands, coastal areas with dense mangrove forests, partial wetlands and patches of lentic (still water) wetlands. The danger is also that this area is mineral rich. Limestone, lignite, bentonite and bauxite are found here”.
*Besides the Asiatic Lion, the Girnar Reserve Forest is home to a rich plant diversity, mammals, reptiles and avifauna. The catchment areas of the Sonrakh, Gudajali and the Loi rivers that recharge the water-table of Junagadh also lie here. “Ongoing developmental activities, industrialization and mining activities” need to be checked for long-term conservation.
*The Vansda National Park “harboured population of tigers in the past and still harbours species like spotted deer, palm civet, small Indian civet, barking deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, flying squirrel, rusty spotted cat, leopard cat and many species of rodents, reptiles, and amphibians”, various bird species, shrubs and herbs with medicinal properties, orchids, lichens and ferns.
*The Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is “covered on all sides by quality teak forests along with bamboo patches” and hosts 61 tree species, 31 herb and shrub species, 18 species of climbers, 24 mammal species including some rare species, 18 species of reptiles, more than 3,000 species of insects and more than 142 species of birds.

Gujarat wildlife policy a roaring success

July 06, 2011   12:26:57 AM
Rathin Das | Gandhinagar
It’s official. Gujarat is animal-friendly. While the number of any particular animal might have grown in some State or other, Gujarat is probably the only State where the population of as many as four big wild animals have gone up.
While the rise in population of the Asiatic lion in Gir, its last natural habitat, is well-known, the numbers of three other big animals, too, have grown in Gujarat during the past few years.
Apart from the Asiatic lions in Gir, the big wild animals whose populations in Gujarat have grown are leopards, wild ass and sloth bear.
The increase of Asiatic lions in Gir to 411 in 2010 from 359 in 2005 was well publicised, but around the same time, the State’s leopard count, too, rose to 1,160 from 1,070 in 2006 and the number of wild ass in the Little Rann of Kutch went up from 3,800 to 4,038 in 2009.
The sloth bear population, found mostly in the eastern tribal belt of the State, grew to 293 in 2011 compared to 270 in 2006.
“While the number of one particular animal might have grown in some State or other, Gujarat is probably the only State where the population of as many as four big wild animals have gone up,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Pradeep Khanna told The Pioneer.
Khanna attributed the phenomenon mainly to the “animal-friendly nature of the people and the local culture in Gujarat”. He also cited the State’s conservation efforts and the “dedication of the Forest department field staff” for the flourishing wildlife population.
“People in Gujarat have a lot of respect for wildlife,” he said, adding that this positive attitude helps in conservation efforts.
Though the growing number of wild animals raises the possibility of man-animal conflicts, Khanna said that there are ways to tackle such problems.
When the growing number of Asiatic lions started to stray out of the designated Gir National Park, the State
Government quickly decided to notify new adjoining areas as sanctuaries. Thus, Mitiyala and Girnar areas were notified as new sanctuaries in 2004 and 2008 respectively to accommodate the growing number of the big cats, Khanna said.
The rise in the number of wild ass in the Little Rann of Kutch led to these animals straying into fields with standing crops. “People had to be convinced not to poison them,” Khanna said.
Similarly, cattle-lifting by lions led to confrontations with villagers. “The compensation paid in such cases has been much less than the actual price of cattle killed. Villagers want more, but are tolerant enough not to harm the lions,” he said.
The number of sloth bears is growing in the sanctuary areas of Surpaneswar (Narmada district), Jambugodha (Vadodara), Ratanmahal (Dahod), Balaram and Jessore (Banaskantha), primarily because these areas have been left unaffected by urbanization. “Good forest areas have not been diverted for industrial use,” Khanna said.

Jaisalmer: Endangered cheetahs get new home.

 | Jaipur, July 4,
It may have been the fastest animal on earth, but still it couldn't dodge the bullet. As a result, the famed cheetah became extinct from the forests of India.
Now efforts are on to re-introduce the wild cat and the Shahgarh area in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan has been initially selected to house the cheetahs before they can be relocated to other parts of the country. Shahgarh was preferred over Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh because the desert was found to be a more suitable site, a forest department source said. A cheetah was last sighted in eastern Madhya Pradesh in 1947, but it was hunted down by the then ruler of Surguja. Five years hence, the big cat was declared extinct in the country.
But thanks to the efforts of the Union ministry of forests and environment, a decision was taken last year to re-introduce the cheetah. Initial plans were to bring the cheetah from Iran. However, it wanted a lion in exchange for a cheetah and India expressed its inability to do that. There are around 60 cheetahs of Asiatic origin to be found in Iran. This compelled cheetah experts to look elsewhere and countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania were targeted.
It was for this reason that Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh visited South Africa in April last year. However, some experts still feel India should continue to engage with Iran as the Iranian cheetahs are close relatives to the ones which used to be found in India. Rajasthan's principal wildlife warden R.N. Mehrotra said: "In view of Iran's reluctance to give us its cheetahs, we should go in for in-vitro fertilisation, using the eggs and sperms from the Iranian specie and putting them in the womb of an African female cheetah, which could then act as the surrogate mother."
A section of the elected representatives of Jaisalmer is understood to be against the idea of creating a cheetah sanctuary in Shahgarh in view of the various prohibitions which comes into effect on construction activities.
Once the area is turned into a sanctuary, the villagers falling inside the area would not be able to sell off their land. The environment ministry has now set up a five-member committee of experts to see that certain areas of Jaisalmer are excluded from the sanctuary. This would pave the way for a cheetah sanctuary in Shahgarh which would also include areas around Ghotaru and Asutar.
Wildlife expert Rajpal Singh, who is a member of the committee, said the sanctuary in the desert would help in preserving its flora and fauna, whose existence, he claimed, suffered a setback following the onset of the Indira Gandhi canal project.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy holiday!

More than monuments, museums or Michelin stars, acclaimed writer Paul Theroux seeks out happiness when he roams the world. Theroux, the author of more than four dozen books, including the just-released Tao of Travel, shares thoughts on some happy spots. These are typically “places where there’s fulfilment, good food and enough of it, good weather, families intact, and a sense that they don’t have a desire to look for something elsewhere,” Theroux says.
This Uttarakhand hill station offers much in the form of natural beauty and adventure — rafting and trekking in summer and skiing in winter.
How to reach: Kathgodam is the nearest railhead from where Munsiyari is an 11-hour drive. Cars can be booked from the station. If you want an easy drive, spend a night at Vijaypur.
What to do: Walk to Mehsar Kund or head to Munsiyari Bugyal, a meadow offering great views of the Panchachuli range. Drive to Dar Kot, where centuries-old wooden houses survive. For mountain lovers, Balanti offers a 180-degree view of Himalayan peaks.
Bite options: Stick to the resorts. They offer decent veg and non-veg fare.
For people down south, Kerala’s Wayanad is a popular weekend getaway. But its many trails — adventure, heritage, leisure — make it a destination where visitors from afar can stretch their stay without getting bored.
How to reach: Wayanad can be driven to from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The closest airport and railway station is Kozhikode.
What to do: Pookote Lake, Sentinel Falls and Phantom Rock are short drives away. Go birdwatching on Kuruva Island, watch the sun rise over Sunrise Valley. Visit the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, renowned for its elephants. The Edakkal Caves are also worth visiting.
Bite options: The hotels and resorts serve a range of cuisines.
Nohkalikai Falls near Cherrapunjee
It was once the favoured haunt of the British. Vestiges of the Raj and royalty remain today. The waterfalls and lakes are the other attractions around the Meghalaya capital.
How to reach: Umroi airport is 30km from the town but Guwahati airport (100km) would be recommended for more reliable weather conditions. Guwahati is also the nearest railhead. Taxis can be hired from there.
What to do: Don’t miss Umiam Lake, Spread Eagle Falls, Elephant Falls and Ward Lake. Shillong Peak offers a great view of the city. The Butterfly Museum and the Orchidarium are also worth a dekko. Visit Cherrapunjee, once the wettest place on Earth.
Bite options: Eat at Elgin and Bamboo Hut Chinese Restaurant in Shillong. Try Jadoh, a rice-and-pork Khasi delicacy.
Havelock Island, Andamans
An idyllic island with coral reefs, mangroves and white beaches, Havelock is a tropical paradise in the Andamans. Dotted with eco-friendly resorts, the island’s population is a curious mix of Bengali settlers and foreigners. The Radha Nagar beach is ranked among the best in Asia.
How to reach: Havelock is located 57km north-east of Port Blair and it takes about a couple of hours by ferry from there. You can also enjoy the comfort of a mini cruise and save half an hour if you board a Makruzz catamaran.
What to do: Love water sports? Havelock is the place to be. Go snorkelling or ride the waves on a speedboat. Scuba diving and game fishing are a great way to discover the treasure trove of under-sea life.
Bite options: Sea food, what else! Charcoal lobster, chilli garlic crab, king prawns in tartar sauce — have it the way you like it.
Famous for its Ganesha temple, Ganapatipule is a small town on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district; it’s one of the season’s hot picks for sun-bathers.
How to reach: It is around 370km from Mumbai by road. You can hire a car and drive down (about seven to eight hours). Or take a train from Mumbai to Ratnagiri and hire a taxi to Ganapatipule.
What to do: Put your feet up and swing on a hammock. Take long walks on the beach. Go for boat rides. Visit the Ganesha shrine. After dark, listen to the lapping waves and gaze at the star-spangled sky.
Bite options: Konkani fish delicacies are not to be missed. Try the Konkani fish thali with kokam kadhi in the town’s hotels. The resorts will also rustle up local fare to your taste.
If you love the Portuguese ambience of Goa but find the beaches too crowded, head for Diu. The Union territory — at the southern tip of Gujarat’s Kathiawar peninsula — is a great place to chill out.
How to reach: Go to Ahmedabad by train or air; Diu is 495km away. If you do not want to cover the whole distance in a day, a good stopover would be the Gir forest.
What to do: Diu is all about lolling around and being lazy. If you want to pack in some sight-seeing, head for Diu Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1535. Close by is St Paul’s Church, which turned 400 last year; also, St Thomas Church which is now a museum. There are several beaches along the coast, but Nagoa is the best. Try to stop by the quaint Sea Shell Museum near the airport.
Bite options: Prawns, squids, lobsters, crabs — they serve it all and at affordable rates.
An elephant herd in Kaziranga
This national park in Assam is the stronghold of the endangered Asian one-horned rhino. You can also see the water buffalo, elephants and the hoolock gibbon.
How to reach: Kaziranga is two hours by car from Jorhat, which has both the nearest airport and the closest railhead. Cars can be hired from here.
What to do: Opt for a jeep or elephant safari. Keep an eye out for rhinos, elephants, monitor lizards and turtles. Walk through a village of the Mishing tribe to get a glimpse of their expert weaving skills.
Bite options: Most lodgings have in-house restaurants. The Aranya Lodge, run by the forest department, is recommended.
One of the best places to see the tiger, Pench in Madhya Pradesh also has a variety of other animals, such as the leopard, the wild dog and the jungle cat.
How to reach: Nagpur is the closest airport, from where taxis can be hired. Nagpur is also the nearest railhead. Board a bus to Khawasa, and from there take a taxi to Pench or arrange for a pick-up from your hotel.
What to do: Apart from jeep safaris and tiger sightings on elephant back, go for the pottery at Pachdhar village and the 30-minute stream-bed walk on a tributary of the Pench river.
Bite options: If you’re looking for food outside your hotel, choices may be limited as most hotels serve food only to in-house guests.
A tiger sighting in this park in Maharashtra is almost guaranteed. Apart from the king of stripes, it holds bears, dholes, chital and sambar.
How to reach: Nagpur airport is 145km from the park. Vehicles can be hired from the airport. Chandrapur is the nearest railway station, about 45km away.
What to do: Gypsies can be hired for jungle safaris at Moharli Gate. The whole park can be accessed by jeep. Visit the shrine dedicated to Taru, a local god who died fighting a tiger, and scan the banks of the nearby Tadoba Lake for crocs.
Bite options: Food is vegetarian, and basic, within and around the national park. For better options, fill up at Chandrapur or Nagpur.
Inputs from Sankar Sridhar, Anirban Mahapatra,Sudeshna Banerjee and Aritro Ganguly
PAUL THEROUX talks about 10 smiley destinations around the globe
More than monuments, museums or Michelin stars, acclaimed writer Paul Theroux seeks out happiness when he roams the world. Theroux, the author of more than four dozen books, including the just-released Tao of Travel, shares thoughts on some happy spots. These are typically “places where there’s fulfilment, good food and enough of it, good weather, families intact, and a sense that they don’t have a desire to look for something elsewhere,” Theroux says.
The Portland Head Light, Maine
Theroux has returned regularly since first visiting as a child in the 1950s. He loves everything about Maine, especially its long coastline. “It has one of the most dramatic coasts. The great trip is to just go up Route 1, ideally late spring or early fall. You can drive from Boston to Portland and then just keep going along, Freeport, Brunswick, Rockland, up past Camden, then Bar Harbor. It goes all the way to Canada.”
Orkney Islands, UK
“Hard to get to but worth the trip,” is how Theroux describes these mostly uninhabited 70 islands off the coast of Scotland. He recommends visiting Skara Brae, a Neolithic settlement and Unesco World Heritage Site, as well as the lovely harbour at Kirkwall, the largest town. “People have been living there since prehistoric times and they have produced a lot of poets, writers, and musicians. I never stopped dreaming about these islands and the fresh fish,” he says.
Despite what Theroux describes as “a really terrible government”, he loves this African nation, where small villages are self-contained societies that take care of their own. He suggests a visit to Lake Malawi. “It’s a very big, deep lake, with hotels all along the lakeshore. If I were a tourist, that’s where I would go, and there are also game parks in the north where you can see elephants and giraffes and other animals.”
Thai dancers
Thailand is both famously foreigner-friendly and inexpensive, making it attractive to expats in retirement. Theroux loves the welcome, the food, the educated populace and the weather, but he also stresses the immense variety of travel opportunities. “There’s coastal Thailand, jungle Thailand, mountainous Thailand, and if you’re there you can easily visit Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India,” he says.
A hula dancer from Hawaii
Theroux lives in Hawaii and attributes his prolific writing to the happiness he feels there. First-timers should make sure to visit multiple islands, as they’re all different. “Each island has its own character, its own sense of pride,” Theroux says. “If you’re not happy on one island, just find another.”
A view of the Nile
It has one of the oldest cultures on Earth, plus a friendly populace and a welcoming feel. Theroux especially likes the Nile. “Egypt has the world’s treasures, thousands of years of accumulation of Egyptian culture, the pharaonic culture, not just the Pyramids, but temples all along the Nile, from Alexandria on the Mediterranean to Aswan and on to Abu Simbel.” Numerous tour operators offer river cruises and guided excursions along the Nile.
Costa Rica
Theroux spent a lot of time in Costa Rica’s driest province, Guanacaste on the northwest Pacific coast. It has many resorts, is on the Pan American Highway and is easily accessible by air from the US. Happiness here is related to simplicity. “They seem to practise the politics of enough, the economics of enough. They don’t want more than they need,” Theroux says.
Sicily, Italy
“The food in Sicily, the wine, the weather, the crops they grow, all are wonderful things. It’s a very hospitable place, and Palermo is one of the great cities of Italy and of Europe too,” Theroux says. Because of its proximity to North Africa, it’s different from the rest of Italy. He suggests getting there via ferry from Sardinia, train from Naples, or on a cruise ship.
Trobriand Islands
Also known as the Kiriwina Islands, Theroux detailed this complex Pacific society off the coast of New Guinea in his book The Happy Islands of Oceania and describes it as one of the most liberated places he has ever been to. “It’s a place where I felt welcome, yet the people didn’t want anything from me. They are perfectly content with what they have,” he says. “Like the Orkneys, it is far offshore and a hard place to get to, but worth it.”
The Ubud landscape, Bali
Theroux was so moved by the happiness in Bali, long a fantasy vacation destination, that he considered staying. “It’s the grace and aesthetic appeal. I just love the colours, the artistic sense of the Balinese. They can weave, carve, dance, play instruments, sing. Their houses are beautiful, their clothes are beautiful, they have temples, they have the most wonderful dances and ceremonies.” Many travellers head to Bali’s beaches but traditional crafts and ceremonies can best be seen inland around the town of Ubud.

Coalition governments work in Gir.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Jul 3, 2011, 12.01am IST
AHMEDABAD: Politicians swear that running a coalition government can be a tough task. But in Gir, the lion kings have been running 'coalition governments' since a long time.
Gir, the last adobe of Asiatic lions, thrives on numerous prides being run on coalition governments.
In the Kamleshwar Dam site area, two lions have established their supremacy over a huge pride and an even bigger territory. "Usually one lion would rule the group and the other would just play a supporting role, but here the two lions rule a group of 28 members including females, sub-adults and adults," said the officer.
Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forest head quarter says, "This group of 28 lions is being dominated by two males. This coalition is only to safeguard their territory against outside attack."

The bonding between these two lions is so strong that they mate with the same lioness.
"When one lion is mating, the other would be constantly on the move, guarding the territory and after four- five days, the second lion takes over and the first guards the territory. We are studying the unique mating behaviour of these two lions," Kumar said.
Gir forest officials said that apart from this group, there are several prides in Gir sanctuary that have two rulers. Additional principal conservator of forest, H S Singh, said in Africa too one can find instances where there are two lions ruling the group. There have been instances where there are three-five males in the group. But in all these cases, one of the lions is always supreme and the others play supporting roles.
"These lions pair up to save their own territory against invasion of nomads or other sub-adults. Usually the outside attack is by lions only and hence as protection, these lions team up. Usually after capturing the territory the strong one would become the king of the area, while the other would be supporting him," said G A Patel, former principal chief conservator of forest. He said that the lion population in Gir was increasing because of the conservation efforts and this practice of grouping.

Leopard rescued from Narmada canal.

PTI | 02:07 PM,Jul 02,2011 Vadodara, Jul 2 (PTI) A leopard was rescued from a Narmada canal in Junagadh district after a three-hour long operation, Forest Department officials said today.The animal, aged between 4 and 5 years, was saved last night from near Chelalka village, about 400 km from here, N M Jadeja, Range Forest Officer (Visavadar Range), told PTI.The villagers had alerted the Forest Department on Friday afternoon about the presence of the leopard in the canal. The department personnel soon reached the spot.Jadeja said the leopard was found taking rest in a 2.5 feet radius pipe which was fitted underground from where water is released.They decided to close one side of the pipe and kept the cage on the other side of it. The leopard jumped into the cage at around 10 pm, he said.The big cat would be kept at the Wild Animal Care Centre at Sasan before releasing it in the forest, Jadeja added.The leopard had travelled to the village from Sasan forest, which is part of the Gir wildlife sanctuary, an official said.

HC stays investigation in RFO suicide case.

Final hearing in this matter has been scheduled for August 1 
Posted On Saturday, July 02, 2011 at 02:47:11 AM

Yadvendrasinh Chauhan
Gujarat High Court has stayed investigation in the suicide case of the Range Forest Officer (RFO) of Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation. The final hearing has been scheduled on August 1.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Bharat Pathak, director of GEER, and two other officers seeking to quash the FIR lodged against them. The body of 44-year-old RFO Yadvendrasinh Chauhan was fished out from Narmada Canal near Koraj village in April.
He served as technical assistant at GEER, Gandhinagar. Before he was posted at Gandhinagar, Chauhan had served at various forest divisions in the state, including a considerable time at Gir forest.
On April 13, 2011, Chauhan’s father lodged First Information Report with Gandhinagar police station against Pathak and two DFOs M K Nanda and Suman Gurjar. The police had obtained a suicide note of Chauhan that depicted harassment faced by him.
The court observed
The court said that the suicide note is a rhetoric document in the nature of a departmental complaint. It also suggested  mental imbalance on the part of the deceased, which Chauhan himself had describes as depression.
There is nothing in the two suicide notes as well as the affidavits which have been relied upon, said sources.  These documents are said to have been sworn by the deceased spanning over a year preceding the date of suicide as well as the allegations levelled by his father, said sources.
Chauhan was allegedly harassed by three of his seniors, who wanted him to prepare inflated bills for projects. Chauhan has left behind five affidavits, naming the three officials — Pathak, M K Nanda and Suman Gurjar.
Based on Chauhan's affidavits and the statement of his father, the police had registered the case against the three officials.


Girdle for Gir: Ring road to mark lion kingdom.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Jul 2, 2011, 06.38am ISTAHMEDABAD: The state government has planned a ring road around Gir sanctuary to divert traffic that trespasses the Asiatic lion kingdom. The proposed 269-km road will connect villages on the periphery of Gir National Park and sanctuary covering 1,412 sq km. About six state highways and some minor roads pass through the sanctuary.Every day, 35-40 light vehicles cross the sanctuary. The heavy vehicular traffic of luxury buses and trucks is mostly along the Talala-Mendarda and Una-Talala state highways.
The last state transport bus enters the sanctuary at 8 pm and gets out around 9.15 pm which is the period when wild animals move about the jungle hunting for food or water. Private vehicles can cross the sanctuary only between sunrise and sunset.
"The state government has sent the proposal to the ministry of forest and environment for the ring road which is estimated to cost around Rs 600 crore. The project is under consideration," said Pradeep Khanna, principal chief conservator of forests. The project was cleared by the state wildlife board.
Khanna said that this ring road will stop movement of vehicles within and on the periphery of the sanctuary. Only those vehicles which belong to villages inside the sanctuary will be permitted, said the forest official. This would be safe for animals and reduce the risk of poaching.He cited an instance where on the Talala-Sasan road, a lion died after it fell off a bridge because it was blinded by the headlight of a speeding vehicle. In 2007 poachers had used the Una-Talala state highway to hunt lions. The proposed ring road will have 14 flyovers and 16 underpasses on specific migratory paths for safe passages to wild life.