Met department predicts an improvement in rains

Monsoon havoc:People wade through a waterlogged road in Patna on Thursday. — Photo: PTI

NEW DELHI: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday forecast that there could be some improvement in the monsoon situation over north India next week.

According to the latest bulletin, fairly widespread rain or thundershowers could occur over Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh, scattered rainfall over Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir and isolated rain or thundershowers over Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab, west Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat during the next three days.

The bulletin also forecast that maximum temperatures over the plains of northwest India and adjoining central India could fall by two to four per cent during the next two days. The IMD further announced that the northern limit of the monsoon, which had been remaining stationary since June 18, moved slightly northwards in north Madhya Pradesh covering Bhopal and its neighbourhood.

At the end of the first month of the four-month South-West Monsoon season on Wednesday, the country was faced with a rainfall deficiency of 16 per cent of the long period average for the month.

The situation was the worst in the central and the north-west parts of the country, with deficiencies of 26 per cent and 18 per cent.

Uttar Pradesh had the maximum shortfall, with the western part of the State recording a deficiency of 82 per cent and the eastern part 72 per cent.

From THE HINDU

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Patna: Mystery over ‘tagged’ bird unravelled

PATNA/KISHANGANJ: The mystery surrounding the recovery of the transmitter-tagged bird from a Kishanganj village in Bihar two days back has been finally laid to rest, after Bombay Natural History Society claimed of using the bird for one of its study project.

The bird, a bar-headed goose, was ringed and fitted with a satellite tracking device on December 13 and released in the Chilka Lake in Orissa by a Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) scientist Balachandran. BNHS was assigned a Food and Agriculture Organisation project of ringing ducks and geese as part of its motive to study things related to spread of avian influenza.

Balachandran is the national co-ordinator of the project. The project was launched, as most of the ducks and geese that migrate to India, originally came from China and Tibet. Around three years back a large number of such birds had died in China due to avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu.

“The moment I learnt about the recovery of the bird in Bihar, I contacted BNHS director Asad Rahmani informing him about the incident. He immediately forwarded me these details,” BNHS member and Indian Bird Conservation Network state co-ordinator Arvind Mihsra told TOI on Saturday.

According to the data received from the transmitter of the bird, after its ringing in Chilka Lake it went to Mangolia and bred there. After that the bird migrated to China’s Quinghai Lake and from there it came to this area around a week back, Mishra said.

Details of the data are with BNHS. The data also gave a valuable input that bar-headed goose also breeds in Mangolia, Mishra said. Earlier, it was recorded that these birds bred mostly in China and Tibet.

Meanwhile, forest department has made special arrangement to keep the bird in a good shape, as after the recovery it appeared to be in some sort of stress. “After consulting few experts, we gave the bird liquid glucose and now it appears to be quite well,” Araria divisional forest officer Nand Kumar Manjhi told TOI on phone.

He said, a field official has been sent to Sukahi police station, where the recovered transmitter has been kept, so that it can be handed over to the BNHS. The bird was intercepted from the mid-stream of river Mechhi on Bihar-Nepal border under Sukhani police station on Thursday.

From TOI

Patna: Efforts to help promote eco-tourism begin

PATNA: While the famed Jim Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal earns an estimated Rs 350 crore annually through promotion of eco-tourism which attracts a large number of tourists to the area, the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar’s West Champaran district has not been so lucky given the government’s failure to promote the reserve area as a tourist destination.

Things are likely to change for better, though. For, field officials of Valmiki Tiger Reserve have now sent proposals to the Bihar government for undertaking works which would help in promoting eco-tourism in the reserve.

Among the proposals include improving the condition of forest roads falling under Division-II of the tiger reserve.

“We have sent a Rs 30-lakh proposal to the state government for undertaking this work,” Valmiki Tiger Reserve director J P Gupta told TOI on Wednesday. He said a similar proposal to improve the condition of roads in Division-I of the reserve would also be sent to the Bihar government very soon.

Pointing out that good roads are a must in order to attract tourists to the tiger reserve , Gupta said: “The present condition of forest roads in the reserve has proved to be major deterrent for attracting tourists. Even those who visit the reserve don’t get the opportunity to move around in the forest area and enjoy nature’s endowment.”

The tiger reserve director also intends to submit proposal for enhancing the accommodation capacity of the reserve’s rest house which presently has capacity to accomodate only four persons at a time.

“This is a step we will like to take once the tourist inflow increases,” he said.

Meanwhile, as a move to reach out to a maximum number of people giving authentic information about the reserve, the Valmiki Tiger Reserve authorities have decided to launch a website of the reserve. A part of Rs 1.08 crore fund received from Centre under the Annual Plan of Operation head would be used for the purpose.

“As soon as the state government releases the fund, the work for creating the website would commence,” Gupta said.

He said tourism promotion would help in involving locals in forest protection work which would, in turn, make them aware of the natural resources of the area as well as about the prospect of income generation.

“Once that happens they will come forward on their own to protect the natural resources of the area and keep a check on elements who try to use its resources for personal gains,” Gupta said.

From TOI

Patna: BSTDC to use river cruise to promote eco tourism

PATNA: Introduction of river cruise, which during its journey from Kolkata to Varanasi covers almost 500 kms through Bihar, is being used by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) to promote eco-tourism in the state. Services of experts have been used to promote some aspects of tourism hitherto not promoted. These pertain to the bird species and gangetic dolphins.

In order to ensure that only correct information are given to tourists, the BSTDC has roped in services of experts.

Among them, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) scientist Gopal Sharma will educate tourists about the gangetic dolphins found in Bihar and also their importance in the river eco-system.

Bihar is home to about half the total population of gangatic dolphins in India which is estimated to be about 2,500.

“Sharing information about the dolphins coupled with interactive sessions with tourists has been a very good experience with most of them showing keen interest in knowing more about this aquatic animal,” Sharma said.

And encouraged by the tourists’ response, he is now working on a proposal, which if approved, would allow tourists to move on country boats to have a closer view of the dolphins.

“This would not only be beneficial for tourists but also for fishermen whose boats would be used for the purpose,” Sharma said, adding: “It’ll also address the goal of engaging local fishermen in dolphin conservation work as, apart from making some extra earnings, they would get a chance to know the importance of this aquatic animal.”

Similarly, to promote different species of birds among tourists, the BSTDC is taking the services of Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) state co-ordinator Arvind Mishra.

“Bihar is home to seven out of eight varieties of storks found in India, including the greater adjutant stork, which is among the rarest. I highlight this point during my interaction with tourists,” Mishra said.

He said introduction of river cruise allows tourists to watch varieties of birds found in the Ganga and on its banks and the interactive session helps them in getting insight of certain aspects related to birds.

River cruise apart, the BSTDC, as its maiden venture, has set up a photo gallery of birds at the tourist village set up at the famous Sonepur fair this year.

“The purpose was to promote Bihar as a destination for tourists interested in bird watching,” BSTDC deputy general manager Navin Kumar said. He added that both Indian and foreign tourists exhibited great interest in collecting information about the the varieties of birds found in Bihar.

From TOI

Patna: Authority to check Ganga pollution

PATNA: The state cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to set up a Bihar State Ganga River Basin Authority to deal with the problems of waste management and pollution control in the Ganga river.

The chief minister would head the Authority which would have the ministers for finance, urban development and housing, water resource development, environment and public health engineering department as members. Five experts on environment and ecology would also be nominated as members of the authority.
The chief secretary would be its member, secretary.

State cabinet secretary Girish Shankar said the Authority would have a state executive committee headed by the chief secretary. Principal secretaries/ secretaries of the above-mentioned departments would be nominated as members of the state executive committee.

The MDs or chairman of State Pollution Control Board, Urban Infrastructure Development Authority and Bihar Rajya Jal Parshad would also be nominated as members of the state executive committee, said Shankar.

The cabinet also decided to extend the term of the judicial commission inquiring into the Kahalgaon police firing by two months up to December 31 this year.

From TOI