Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gujarat govt seeks time to reply on land allotted near Gir sanctuary

The PIL has questioned the sale of 250 acre at the rate of Rs 15 per square metre, against then existing rate of Rs 180 per square metre
AHMEDABAD: The state government on Wednesday sought time from Gujarat high court to submit a reply to the PIL questioning allotment of government land at concessional rate near Gir sanctuary in Amreli district, to the business partner of Anar Patel, daughter of chief minister Anandiben Patel.
The petitioner, Sangathan (an organisation of RTI activists), has sought a judicial probe into the allotment of land, action against those involved in the alleged scam and finally cancellation of the allotment to Wildwood Resorts & Realties Pvt Ltd.
The petitioner has named the company, chief secretary, officials in the revenue department, the tourism department, and officials in the forest department as party respondents in the PIL. The petitioner has also demanded cancellation of other land deals around the sanctuary which is the last abode of Asiatic lions.
The PIL has questioned the sale of 250 acre at the rate of Rs 15 per square metre, against then existing rate of Rs 180 per square metre.

Lions not in, Madhya Pradesh moves to populate Kuno with tigers.

Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Updated: Feb 25, 2016 19:02 IST

Javadekar said the entire programme of translocating Gir lions to MP will take 25 years to complete. (File photo)
The Madhya Pradesh government is considering introducing tigers in the Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary instead of waiting for the Gujarat government to translocate lions, says a note on the website of the state forest department.
The note in the sub-link titled “Special Conservation Initiatives” said: “If the stalemate is not resolved expeditiously, the state (government) may have to consider introducing tigers in the sanctuary as wasting such a prime a habitat is not in the interest of conservation of wildlife in the state…”.
“The government of Madhya Pradesh is very keen to have the lions at the earliest as the state has done everything expected from it, including the relocation of 1,545 poor families, to help conserve this national heritage…”, the note said.
In December last year, the union ministry of forest and environment cleared its stand on the state’s demand to translocate lions from the Gir National Park in Gujarat to the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union forest and environment minister Prakash Javadekar said translocation of lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh was a “long-term action” and will take more than 25 years.
The note points out that though the state government has asked the Centre to transfer a pride of lions from Gujarat at the earliest, “the government of Gujarat is somehow not inclined to provide the animals for starting the lion population in Kuno and the Centre is now seriously considering the option of using zoo bred animals of certified Asiatic lineage to start the new lion population…”
Narendra Kumar, principal chief conservator of forests, said the suggestion to introduce tigers in Kuno-Palpur came from the National Tiger Conservation Authority after a team visited the sanctuary to study prey base.
On the Centre’s argument that the re-introduction project will take 25 years, Kumar said: “We can’t wait for such a long time. The habitat has been readied for a carnivore and we will have to do something there. However, the government is yet to discuss about the NTCA suggestion.”

Govt drops lion conservation plan

| TNN |
Gandhinagar: Gujarat government has officially dropped Rs 750 crore 'Long term Conservation of Asiatic Lion Plan' pursued by then CM and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the then Congress led UPA government aggressively .

Since past more than five years Gujarat government had pursued the project with the central government and had asked all the Members of Parliament (MPs) to follow the project up with the Union ministry of forest and environment(MoEF) rigorously . However, now the Gujarat government has officially dropped the plan for some unknown reasons. It has also re moved it from the official list of pending issues of Gujarat with the government of India recently given to Gujarat MPs.

The Gujarat government had re-submitted the Rs 750 crore 'Long term Conservation of Asiatic Lion Plan' to the govern ment of India soon after Narendra Modi had taken over as the Prime Minister in May 2014.

The project was shelved by ear lier UPA government. The key component of the plan was to relocate Maldharis from the Gir forest at the cost of Rs 97.50 crore outside the forest area and construction of ring road to restrict vehicle movement in the forest at approximate cost of Rs.600 crore.

When asked, state forest and environment minister Mangubhai Patel said, "The government of India has not approved the plan yet. However, we will pursue the project. It has been dropped from the list for some reasons.'' The minister, however, did not specify the reason.

The plan was first submitted to the deputy inspector general of forests (wildlife), MoEF in 2009 for the funding under the centrally sponsored scheme, out of which government of India's expected share was 90% of the cost. The main objective of the proposal was conservation of Asiatic lion and its associate biota in the greater Gir region including the Gir sanctuary and national park with main components like relocation of Maldharis (Rs 97.50 crore), habitat improvement (Rs 15 crore), wildlife protection (Rs 30 crore), veterinary care, rescue and conflict management(Rs 7.50 crore) eco-development, awareness, participation and ecotourism etc.

The state government had submitted a proposal for Asiatic Lion conservation under which construction of ring road around the Gir Protected Area System (Gir National Park and Gir, Pania, Mitiyala and Girnar Sanctuaries) was proposed at an approximate cost of Rs 600 crore.

Earlier the project was downsized by the Planning Commission of India to Rs 150 crore (except the ring road).Thereafter, it was dropped by the earlier Union government.Gir ring road proposal was also rejected by the government of India. After Modi took over as PM the state government forwarded these proposals to the government of India. However, it received no response since Modi came to power.

Premier Construction 22.6

This month in Premier Construction 22.6 – 
Premier Construction 22.6
Dear readers,

Welcome to the latest edition of Premier Construction magazine.

In this month’s edition, we take a look around Zoological Society London’s newly created Land of Lions; we dive into Oldham’s new leisure centre; and we cast an eye over Bishop’s Gate Hotel.
Zoological Society London (ZSL) has undergone an outstanding transformation and will be revealing its most breath-taking experience to the public this Easter, as doors to the spectacular Land of Lions open on Friday 25th March. With a value of £5.2m, the 8000²m site has seen an extensive refurbishment, undergoing new developments with Buxton Building Contractors acting as main contractor. Robin Fitzgerald, previously Senior Project Manager – and now Deputy Head of Facilities at ZSL – told Premier Construction: “The entire exhibit is for Asian lions – those only found in the Gir forest in India; we have created an experience around the Gir Forest, with two enclosures representing the fringes of the forest. There is also a Hanuman langur enclosure: a primate enclosure which is also found in the same region.”
Meanwhile, Oldham has proudly launched its brand new £15 million flagship Leisure Centre which opened recently, helping to put the town on the national sporting map. Replacing an older facility which is now closed, the new leisure centre provides enhanced facilities which enable Oldham to hold regional and televised competitions like never before. The new centre includes a 25-metre, eight-lane swimming pool of county-level standard, a separate learner pool; a 250 spectator seating gallery to the main pool; and much, much more.
And finally, the new Bishop’s Gate Hotel is set to open its doors in a few weeks’ time. This 31 bed hotel will add significant luxury accommodation and services to the tourist and local offering in the city. The hotel development is the latest project of the Inner City Buildings Preservation Trust (ICBPT), the historic buildings restoration arm of the Inner City Trust group and will create 58 new jobs once open.
With all this and more, join us as we explore the impressive construction projects that continue to shape our landscape.

Alleged faulty allocation of land to ‘biz partners of CM’s daughter’ lands in HC

The issue of allegedly alloting land near Gir lion sanctuary in Amreli to CM Anandiben Patel's daughter Anar's alleged business partners at a concessional rate has landed at Gujarat High Court. Gir-Somnath district based RTI Activists Sangathan (RAS), an association of RTI activists, filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking high court intervention in the matter. The plea is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday. The PIL has named Wildwood Resorts and Realities Private Limited, Chief Secretary, Secretary of revenue department, Principal Conservator of Forests, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, District Collector, Mamlatdar and circle officer of the Amreli district.

RAS president Razak Baloch told Mirror, "Our organisation had taken up the issue before the government about the wrongly carried out allotment of land to Wildwood Resorts but when it yielded no result, we filed a PIL, which is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday." The state-level body, that got registered three years ago, has taken up several corruption-related issues in the past. While its registered office is in Gir-Somnath, it also has an office in Gandhinagar. He said, "There are norms in place for allotting government land and according to a government notification of 1997, it cannot allot land without conducting public auction. There also are norms barring commercial activities in protected wildlife areas."

The PIL sought high court intervention, raising issue of the conflict of interest as the 250-acre land was given to Wildwood Resorts, a company owned by alleged business partners of Anar Patel at an official rate of Rs 15 per square metre against the rate of Rs 180 per square meter. The land is in Gujarat's Amreli district, next to the lion sanctuary at Gir, making it an attractive commercial proposition. The PIL with bulky sets of the documents has alleged that the forest, revenue and tourism departments have wrongly allocated the land by giving concessions to the company in violation of the norms. Wildwood Resorts is owned by Dakshesh Shah and Amol Shripal Sheth, alleged business partners of Anar Patel. However, Anar Patel earlier dismissed the allegations in a post put up on her Facebook wall. Shah and Sheth also denied the allegations and said they did nothing wrong. Nimish Kapadia, lawyer for RAS, however, refused to divulge the details saying the matter was sub judice.

Nalin Kotadiya, BJP MLA from Dhari constituency, has come out openly against the CM. He said the state government had approved Rs 10 crore for a bridge in a village with a population of 200 people. "This is just not done. The bridges and roads in this area are developed to make a grand way to the proposed site of Wildwood in Khamala village," he said. Kotadiya will raise the question on the development projects near Khambha in the upcoming assembly session. He alleged that while farmers are not allowed to even dig a borewell because of the sanctuary, Wildwoods is being allowed to go ahead with construction work.

Last chance to see Assiniboine Park Zoo lions

Twin brothers Bhanu and Kamal are heading to Great Britain.
Posted: 02/19/2016 11:03 AMTwin brothers Bhanu and Kamal are heading to Great Britain.
The lions are leaving.
The Assiniboine Park Zoo says this weekend is the last chance to see a pair of Asiatic lions. They are heading to zoological facilities in Great Britain on the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Program.
The pair of twin brothers, Bhanu and Kamal, have called Winnipeg home since 2012, when they arrived from the Zoologischer Garten Magdeburg in Germany.
A crowd favourite, thousands have seen them over the last four years at the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Pavilion of the Lions exhibit.
"We know that the lions are a visitor favourite and while we’re sad to see them go, this is an important part of species survival and helping save endangered species," said Gary Lunsford, Head, Zoological Operations at Assiniboine Park Zoo.
Right now, the zoo has no new lions to replace the old ones at the exhibit.
"We’re currently working on potential options for the exhibit space and we’ll be sure to keep the public informed of what new and exciting changes will be coming in the near future," Lunsford said in a statement.
Bhanu will move to the London Zoo next Wednesday and Kamal will be transferred to the Chessington Zoo in mid-March. Both facilities are currently home to female Asiatic lions and hope to successfully breed the pairs in the future.
Once a flourishing species, it’s currently estimated only 200 to 260 Asiatic lions exist in the wild, living in India’s Gir Forests where they are heavily protected. An additional 200 Asian lions live in zoos worldwide. A subspecies of the African lion, the mane of the Asian lion is generally shorter than that of the African lion, so the ears are always visible. Asian lions are, in general, also slightly smaller than African lions.

Lions play games, skits at Etawah safari.

The state government had sought expert help from Britain for better upkeep of lions at the safari after the recent death of eight big cats.Faiz Siddiqui | TNN | Feb 18, 2016, 09.36 AM ISTThe state government had sought expert help from Britain for better upkeep of lions at the safari after the re... Read More

KANPUR: Four pairs of Asiatic lions at Etawah Lion Safari were made to play innovative games by a two-member team from Longleat Safari Park of the UK to build their stamina and keep them healthy.

The state government had sought expert help from Britain for better upkeep of lions at the safari after the recent death of eight big cats --three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs.

"The session was conducted by Mark Kingston and Christopher John on Monday and Tuesday and aimed at making the animals active and smart. The experts installed high wire and pole fight on the safari premises and involved the lions in various skits and games in presence of safari staff. The experts also gave tips to the forest staff on proper upkeep of lions," safari director Sanjay Srivastava told TOI.

"The two experts explained the keepers and forest staff on how skits and games can make big cats agile and flexible. In high wire, the lions were made to jump and grab the object hanging from it, while in pole fight the lions dragged the object kept on it with their claws. In this way , they not only burnt extra calories but also become agile and active," Srivastava said.

The session started on Monday and will continue till February 19.

The lion safari project of the state government has reported eight lion deaths -three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs. Four pairs of Asiatic lions were brought in for breeding between April and September 2014. One of the lioness died in October, followed by a lion on November 16 -both reportedly of heart failure.

Two of the lionesses gave birth last year -just four days apart in July.Two cubs from the first lioness died within 24 hours of their birth, and another two of three that were born four days later also died shortly after being born. The latest death was of lioness Tapasya, who had been ill and was undergoing treatment for a week before her death on January 9.

Haryana Wildlife Department launches survey to check leopard numbers

The Haryana Wildlife Department is conducting a survey to check the number of wild animals, including leopards, in the vicinity of Aravalli mountain range-from Bhiwani to Faridabad district.

Gurgaon, February 17, 2016 | Posted by Shraddha Jandial | UPDATED 15:24 IST

Leopards come towards areas with human population to look for food, especially in summer.
The Haryana Wildlife Department is conducting a survey to check the number of wild animals, including leopards, in the vicinity of Aravalli mountain range-from Bhiwani to Faridabad district.
The assignment was handed over to the Wildlife Institute of India (WLII) in January with the department expecting to complete the project in June.
"Aravalli mountain range in Haryana is known for being a natural habitat for wildlife animals such as leopards, hyena, jackal and peacocks among others. With a focus on big cats, the institute has been given the task to identify locations and number of wildlife animals," said Raj Kumar Bhatia, district forest officer (wildlife) Gurgaon.

Bhatia believes that the long pending initiative to ascertain the number of leopards in Aravalli is important as other ranges and natural parks like Gir Forest, Nandan Kanan and Jim Corbett have mechanisms in place to calculate the number of wildlife animals, but Aravalli is not able to achieve the same status due to lack of data.
"The last survey that was conducted approximately three years ago found that there were over 10 leopards in Gurgaon. However, the survey was only partially successful as there was a scope for incoherent data. Hence, we have decided to conduct another survey using scientific methods to get the exact figure for the number of big cats living in the vicinity. WLII will use methods like photographs of pug marks in particular areas to calculate the numbers," Bhatia said.
Aravalli mountain range covers Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Rewari, Gurgaon, Mewat, Faridabad and Palwal in Haryana with officials saying that dense forests spread into territories of Gurgaon and Faridabad. Areas like Manesar, Raisina, Bhondsi, Damdama and Mangarbani are recognised as wildlife habitats for leopards.
While officials are not in a position to tell the exact number of big cats, villagers believe there are 25-30 leopards in the dense forests of Manesar, Raisina and Bhondsi in Gurgaon district.
"WLII will study natural ponds, caves and thickness of forest areas to find out the basic requirements for wildlife. The department will act on the basis of the report to ensure that wildlife is not deprived of natural habitat," Bhatia said.
"We have seen many leopards dying due to road accidents in Gurgaon and Faridabad in the past. They usually come towards areas with human population in search of water and food, especially in summers. Once the study report is submitted, we will release goats, deers or other animals into the dense forests in order to provide sufficient food for leopards. We may also replenish ponds to help leopards stay inside dense forests," he added.

Kanpur zoo to get a lion pair in March first week

| TNN | Feb 17, 2016, 04.51 AM IST
KANPUR: The Kanpur and Hyderabad zoos have received nod from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to carry forward their agreement of going for animal exchange.

The Kanpur zoo will soon get an Asiatic lion pair from Hyderabad zoo in exchange for barking deer and crow pheasants.

If everything goes well, the visitors to Kanpur zoo would be able to hear the roars of the lions in the first week of March.

This will happen almost after a gap of one and a half years after the lion pair Laxmi and Vishnu housed here were transferred to Lion Safari in Etawah in 2014.

But unfortunately both the lions had died soon thereafter. Since then the lion enclosure at Kanpur zoo was lying vacant.

When the two lions will come here, the cat family will become bigger as zoo already has six tigers including two white tigers (a male and a female).

Talking to TOI, Kanpur zoo director Deepak Kumar said that the clearance for going ahead with the animal exchange programme has been given by the Central Zoo Authority. It is expected that by the first week of March the Asiatic lion pair will reach Kanpur zoo, he added.

Kumar said that soon a team from Kanpur zoo would leave for Hyderabad zoo for getting the lions but before this the necessary preparations have to be made.
Revealing about another animal exchange having received clearance from the CZA, Deepak Kumar said, "From Ahmedabad zoo we will be getting a total of 24 birds of different species such as Spoon Billed pheasants, little cormorants, rosy breasted parakeet, rosy pelican, java sparrow and duck comb and in return we will also give them some animals to complete the exchange. These birds would increase the attraction of the newly made aviary on the zoo campus."
He said that 10 animals including striped hyena, civet and others would be given to Ahmedabad zoo to complete the deal.
The zoo director informed that in the lion enclosure a male white tiger has been housed at present who will be shifted soon. He also said that the white tiger had been filling the vacant enclosure of the lions otherwise the visitors would have felt dejected on seeing no animal in the enclosure.

The Bravehearts Who Rescue Lions In Gir National Park

For rescuing lions in a forest, you need to display a humungous amount of valor other than being adept.
But for these ladies, it seems as easy as ABC. Meet the lion queens of India, who rescue lions in Gir Forest National Park, Gujarat, which is home to Asiatic Lions and many leopards. Gujarat employed this team of women in the year 2007, thus becoming the first state in India to do so. Till now, they have rescued 627 lions – making it the only wildlife sanctuary in the world to attain such feat.
Watch this video by Upma Bhatnagar to see this team in action. One of them is Rasilla and when you see her rescuing a leopard from a well, all you can do is wonder – “How can it be so easy?”.

That’s what women empowerment is! #Salute

 For video click;

UK experts to train Etawah lion safari staff.

TNN | Feb 16, 2016, 08.49 AM IST
Kanpur: A two-member team from Longleat Safari Park of the UK arrived at Lion safari in Etawah on Monday to impart training to the employees on management of Asiatic lions.
The state government had sought expert help from Britain for better upkeep of lions at the Etawah Lion Safari after the recent death of eight big cats -three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs.
A decision regarding ex pert help was taken following an MoU with Longleat Enterprises, UK and Lion Safari, Etawah during a meeting between chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and veterinary director of Longleat Enterprises Jonathan Cracknel in January.

Safari director Sanjay Srivastava said, "Mark Kingston and Christopher John from Longleat Safari Park of the UK will impart skill training and knowledge to around 30 staffers of the safari, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah zoo of Lucknow and Kanpur zoo about animal management, particularly big cats. The workshop, which begain on Monday, will continue till February 19."

"The two experts offered a training course to lion safari staff, which focuses on animal enrichment and management of big cats in captivity. We are sure that the five-day session, which is a first of its kind initiative by any zoo or safari in the country, will bring about a recognizable change in the safari," Rupak De, principal chief conservator of forests, told TOI.

Entangled in net, two Asiatic lion cubs found dead in Gujarat

By: Express News Service
Rajkot Published:Feb 13, 2016, 19:56 - See more at:
Both the cubs were around three-month-old and female. - See more at:
asiatic lions, asiatic lion cubs, gujarat, gujarat lions, asiatic lions dead, lion cubs, gujarat wildlife, gujarat news, india news The lion cubs lying dead in Nageshri, Amreli on Friday. (Express Photo by Sahir Jiruka) Two cubs of Asiatic lions were killed after they allegedly got entangled in fishing net tied round an agricultural field to protect the crop from wild animals, in Nageshri village of Rajula taluka of Amreli on Saturday.
Forest officers got a message that two lion cubs were lying dead on the agricultural field of Mohan Parmar in Nagreshri at around 8:30 am. “The lion cubs were found near a fishing net tied round the field of Parmar. So, we suspect that the cubs might have got entangled in the net and suffocated to death as there were no outer injury marks on their body. But the exact cause of their death will be known only after we get post-mortem reports,” Rajula range forest officer (RFO) CB Dhandhya said.
The RFO further said that both the cubs were around three-month-old and female. “Our tracker party has traced the mother lioness of the cubs and are keeping a watch over her movement,” he further said.
Blue bulls and wild boars damage standing crops in many parts of Amreli, including in Rajula taluka. Too ward off these animals and protect their crops, farmers fence their fields with discarded fishing nets.
“Even if it turns out that the cubs were killed after being entrapped in fishing net on Parmar’s field, it will not constitute a crime and nobody has been booked as of now. It is unnatural death but no criminal angle prima facie,” added Dhandhya.
Asiatic lions are an endangered species and enjoys highest level of protection in India. Killing a lion can attract seven years of imprisonment.
The only wild population of Asiatic lions in the world is surviving in Gir forest and other protected areas in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The 2015 census had pegged their number at 523. A number of them were spotted in revenue and protected areas in Amreli district, including in Rajula.
- See more at:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

IPL 2016: Rajkot franchise hit the bull's eye by naming team 'Gujarat Lions', appointing Suresh Raina as captain

Even before the first ball of IPL 2016 being bowled, Rajkot franchise have made a winning start.

There could not have been a better name or logo for the team coming from the state that has Gir Forest, the home of the Asiatic Lion!

Even before the first ball of IPL 2016 being bowled, Rajkot franchise have made a winning start.
On Tuesday, the newest member in the IPL family team Rajkot got its name — ‘Gujarat Lions’. There could not have been a better name or logo for the team coming from the state that has Gir Forest, the home of the Asiatic Lion! The name Gujarat Lions is also bound to strike a chord not only with the entire state, but also with the huge Gujarati Diaspora around the world, which is prosperous and a keen follower of the game of cricket. So it was a smart move not to make the franchise city-centric by naming it on the city. But the smartest move among all was to name Suresh Raina as the captain, says a report in The Indian Express. ALSO READ: Rajkot franchise for IPL 2016 named ‘Gujarat Lions’.

Brand Raina is as big as it gets when we talk about Twenty20 (T20) cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL). Raina has never missed a single game for his franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL and is also the highest scorer in its history. Besides, he is also the highest Indian scorer over all in all T20s. He was the second most important player behind MS Dhoni in CSK, and by naming him the captain, the Gujarat Lions have tapped his huge fan following. In addition, they have smartly picked an efficient core of players including local boy Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum and James Faulkner. ALSO READ: Suresh Raina appointed captain of Gujarat Lions for IPL 2016.
Team owner Keshav Bansal, who is the youngest franchise owner aged 23, has successfully managed to create a brand both for the franchisee and Intex Technology. “We want to cater to the entire Gujarati community and not just a specific city, hence the state-centric name. They are spread across the world and if we can market our brand smartly enough, we can reach out to them and make this into a huge brand. Intex already has a good market there. But we have to market the brand aggressively, build a fanbase and create a buzz on the social media. For that we are also holding talks with the Gujarat government for starting a cricket academy,” outlines Bansal.
The life is not easy for him, as his franchisee has a two-year life-span stuck on it, is ineligible for allowances from the BCCI’s central revenue pool, have to pay a huge sum to the home association for stadium and facilities, besides the logistics. But he is up for the challenge and wants to make out of it. He says, “My whole point is that we have to work really hard and try to make a brand and not think too much on how it will turn out to be. It gives you a lot of visibility and you have the opportunity to promote your brand, besides playing good cricket and entertaining the crowd. We just need to enjoy the two years.”
He is approaching the upcoming auctions after doing a considerable home work, and reveals: “I have been monitoring a lot of players over the last six months. We have a team working on it and now have roped in a team CEO to work in tandem with us,” further asserting, “we are not just looking at marketable faces or local players, but a hard core set of players who can win matches for us.” So far, his think-tank has made sensible and shrewd choices. But how long and how far they can sustain this will be the bigger question.

India to follow Gujarat conservation model

| TNN | Feb 10, 2016, 06.41 AM ISTAhmedabad: The success of Gujarat's community-based wildlife conservation model will soon be replicated across the country . The Union ministry of forest and environment has proposed employing the 'Van Praani Mitra' model in sanctuary areas and adjoining localities across the country .

The 12-member committee developing the National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) to be put into effect from 2017 is also keen on following the Gujarat model. The NWAP committee headed by J C Kala, former Union secretary will now have its next meeting on or around February 20 at Gir.

Besides the `van mitra' model, successful models of rescue and treatment of wild animals followed in Gujarat will also be implemented in other states. It is worthy to note that concerned officials from several states have already undergone training at the Sasan rescue centre.

HS Singh, a member of the National Board for Wildlife, said that Gujarat has successfully implemented good practices in wildlife conservation and they should be replicated in other places. "If the model of appointing `van mitras' is implemented across the country , it would definitely curb illegal activity related to wildlife, and will help in long term conservation of wildlife in the country ," said Singh.

Gir land ‘deal’: Cong questions PM’s silence.

The Gir Forest in Gujarat, home to the Asiatic Lion, is considered to be one
of the most important protected areas in Asia
OUR BUREAUThe Gir Forest in Gujarat, home to the Asiatic Lion, is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia
Charges State, Central govts with impropriety, conflict of interest
The Congress continued its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on the issue of an alleged land deal favouring the latter’s family members.
Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said Modi and Patel are silent on the questions posed by the Congress on the land deal. “Unfortunately, the silence of both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Gujarat has been deafening. Over the last two days, certain new facts have emerged that make the charge of gross impropriety and conflict of interest far, far more dynamic,” he said, maintaining that since environment is a Concurrent subject, both the State and Central governments should respond.
“On 1 July 2015, the government of Gujarat issues a notification. Rather than protecting the Asiatic Lion and the Gir Forest, it decides to bring down the permissible limit of construction from two kilometres to one kilometre. So, therefore, the question which arises is, is this customisation of policy taking place and for whose benefit? Who is benefitting by the flagrant violation of the Environment Protection Act and the Wildlife Act and Prime Minister, if this is not corruption, then would you care to explain to the country, as to what exactly is this?” Tewari said.
Reiterating the Congress’ demand for a court-monitored probe into the matter, Tewari said not only had government land been given at a throwaway price to private players, but more importantly, the Environment Projection Act, The Wildlife Act, The Gir Forest Sanctuary have been violated with impunity.
Demands probe
“So, under those circumstances we would once again like to reiterate that the Prime Minister should clarify and the Supreme Court should take suo moto cognizance and have an independent investigation into the whole affair,” he demanded.
When asked why the UPA government took no action between 2010 and 2014 on the alleged malpractices, he said nothing had occurred between 2010 and 2015 that warranted interference. “It all fell into place in 2015 when this government decides to lower the limit to one kilometre,” he said.
“Here is a Prime Minister who had told the whole country ‘Na khata hoon aur na khane deta hoon’, and then when issues are raised, all that you have met with is deafening silence,” Tewari said.
(This article was published on February 8, 2016) 

Forest guard under police scanner for fruit trader’s murder commits suicide in Gir Somnath

By: Express News Service
Rajkot Updated: Feb 1, 2016, 21:05
HOURS BEFORE he was scheduled to give his statement to police in connection with a murder case, a forester allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the chin, inside his quarters at Jasadhar range office in Gir East forest division near Una town of Gir Somnath district on Monday.
Gir Gadhda police said that Sanjay Beladiya, the forest guard, committed suicide by shooting himself in the chin from his 12 bore service rifle at around 8 AM. He took the extreme step inside his official residential quarters on the Jasadhar range office compound, police further said.
“Beladiya died on the spot as the bullet pierced his head. We have recovered a suicide note from his quarters and further investigation is on. As of now, we do not know the cause of his suicide,” Gir Gadhda police sub-inspector (PSI) Madhubhai Vala said.
The guard allegedly took his own life hours before he was scheduled to report at Una police station. The Una police had summoned in him at 10 AM on Monday for recording his statement in connection with alleged murder of Ashwin Vaza, a fruit trader of Una. Vaza was found dead on December 27 last year with police saying that he was murdered by someone by inflicting injuries by sharp-edged weapons.
“Call detail records suggested that Vaja’s wife Manisha was in touch with Beladiya after her husband was murdered. We suspect that Beladiya was her paramour. We had summoned him for primary questioning earlier. We had summoned him again at 10 AM on Monday for recording his further statement,” Raydhan Rathod, police inspector of Una told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, Manisha (23) had allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison at her father’s residence in Chikhal Kuba village of Gir Gadhda taluka around a week ago on January 26.
While police did not officially divulge contents of Beladiya’s 14-page suicide note, sources said that the guard had cited “harassment by PSI Zala” in connection with Vaza’s murder. Police officers confirmed that PSI RM Zala of Local Crime Brach (LCB) of Gir Somnath has been assisting in the probe of Vaza’s murder. Beladiya also claimed in the suicide note that he did not have illicit relationship with Manisha but did know her as she was daughter of a forester. He expressed his willingness to undergo any tests to confirm that he was not father of the yet-to-be-born baby of Manisha.
Gir Gadhda police have registered a case of accidental death and PSI Vala is investigating the case.
The forest guard rang up his two friends seconds before shooting himself and also sent messages in WhatsApp groups of forest employees.

CZA to probe lion deaths in Etawah safari.

Sun,31 Jan 2016
Summary: A division bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Rajan Roy had passed the order on January 20 in response to a PIL filed by lawyer Satish Kumar Mishra.The lion safari has till now reported eight deaths. Lioness Tapasya had been ill and undergoing treatment for a week before her death.Following Tapasya's death, Jonathan Cracknell, director of animal operations at United Kingdom's Longleat Safari Park, had visited the Etawah Lion Safari to check the health of other lions on January 16.The lion safari project, which is being developed in Fisher Forest on Etawah-Gwalior highway, was conceived in 2005 when Mulayam Singh was the chief minister. Kanpur: A team of Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is likely to visit the lion safari in Etawah on February 1 following directives from the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court to conduct a spot inspection of the safari in view of the recent death of lions.The safari officials would present a report on arrangements there. "We have been working to explain things regarding arrangements of upkeep of animals to the CZA officials. The CZA has been directed to submit its report in the next hearing on February 24.
Kanpur: A team of Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is likely to visit the lion safari in Etawah on February 1 following directives from the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court to conduct a spot inspection of the safari in view of the recent death of lions.The safari officials would present a report on arrangements there. "We have been working to explain things regarding arrangements of upkeep of animals to the CZA officials. The team will also suggest us the remedial measures for conservation of Asiatic lions," said DFO Chambal Anil Patel.The high court had recently directed the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to conduct an inspection at the lion safari and apprise it of the circumstances under which the lions died, the cause of the deaths and suggest remedial measures.

The CZA has been directed to submit its report in the next hearing on February 24. A division bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Rajan Roy had passed the order on January 20 in response to a PIL filed by lawyer Satish Kumar Mishra.The lion safari has till now reported eight deaths. Three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs had died.Four pair of Asiatic lions were brought for breeding between April and September 2014.