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Rare winter migrant bird spotted in Himachal

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Rare winter migrant bird

Rare winter migrant bird

Shimla: Much to the delight of ornithologists, the Pong Dam wetlands in Himachal Pradesh’s picturesque Kangra Valley have got a rare winter migrant, the whooper swan, a wildlife official said Thursday.

“A pair of whooper swans was spotted in the Nagrota Suriyan area Wednesday. It was a chance discovery,” Assistant Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) D.S. Dadwal told IANS.

He said the whooper swan was a new record in the Pong wetlands.

“The whooper swan is a rare migrant to India. It normally migrates from Central Asia and Europe.”Dadwal even captured the birds on his camera.

The Pong wetlands, spread over 307 sq km, have the distinction of being one of the important winter grounds for some of the rare species from Central and Northern Asia.The Pong Dam reservoir is some 250 km from state capital Shimla and 190 km from Chandigarh.The presence of the whooper swan, with distinctive long thin neck and yellow bill, at the Pong wetlands attracts the attention of ornithologists.”As the news about the sighting of the swans flashed, we got a number of enquiries from bird lovers across the country,” he said. The Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature – a compendium of species facing extinction – has put the whooper swan in the least concern category.It has an extremely large range and prefers shallow freshwater pools, lakes, marshes and swamps.

Last month, the Pong Dam authorities spotted a ruddy-breasted crake – a bird species usually seen in marshy areas of northeastern India – for the first time.
Meanwhile, a two-day census of waterfowl species — birds that depend on water bodies for roosting and feeding – began Friday in Pong.

More than 100 bird watchers and staff of the wildlife department are participating in the dawn-to-dusk exercise, said Range officer (Pong wetlands) Sangeeta Chandel.
She said as per initial estimates over 100,000 feathered guests of 60 species are holidaying in Pong wetlands.This year again the largest influx is of the bar-headed goose, common coot, northern pintail, common pochard, tufted pochard, red-crested pochard, common teal, little cormorant, great-crested grebe and the greylag goose.
The influx of birds can be seen at swamps near Nagrota Suriyan, Budladha and Sansarpur Terrace.In the census conducted in January last year, 119,500 waterbirds were spotted in Pong, while the bird count was 132,000 in 2011, 144,000 in 2010 and 95,000 in 2009.
-IANS

Environment

Amid grave water-crisis in Shimla town, Mayor on China tour for reason unknown

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shimla-to-china--mayor-Kusum-Sadrate

Himachal Watcher tried to confirm the urgency behind the Mayor’s visit to China in times of such crisis when she should have been brainstorming with her councillors to come out with a solution.

Shimla: The Mayor of Shimla town, Kusum Sadret, on Friday left for China, away from the chaos caused by the ongoing water-crisis that has reached an alarming level. Her Ward Councilors are shocked that the Mayor did not even conduct a single meeting to attend to the water crisis in the town, which is only worsening with each passing day.

Yesterday, she remained in the news as SMC supplied ‘sewerage contaminated’ water to the residents of Kanlog Ward. The public and opposition parties are seeking action against the responsible officials for playing with the health of the people by supplying them contaminated water in a time of acute water shortage.

This is not the only reason to worry. The people are forced to fetch water from natural water sources, which are already declared contaminated. Sadly, the Government and the SMC forgot the deadly jaundice outbreak in 2016 that had killed about 32 people within a few months.

The Mayor doesn’t deserve to be at the SMC because she has failed on every front ranging from sanitation to supply of clean and sufficient drinking water to the people, the former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan said.

He has demanded that the government should take the matter seriously and initiate criminal proceedings against the responsible officials. Meanwhile, the Councillors had yesterday planned a protest and gherao of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. However, they did not find them in office.

The public is receiving a supply of water after a gap of four to five days in most wards while some others are going without water for over a week now.

The water-crisis has brought the hospitality industry in Shimla on its knees. People are forced to buy mineral water as public taps and filters in offices, schools, hospitals are running dry for days. The Shimla Municipal Corporation doesn’t even have sufficient water-tankers to make up for the shortage of water.

A sort of protest erupted among the people as well as the Councilors against the Mayor. The Mayor was even gheraoed by the people in some localities.

While the protest of the Congress Ward Councilors demanding the resignation of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was obvious, Bhartiya Janata Party’s own Councilors have come out openly criticizing the way Mayor left them behind to face the wrath of the people.

Leaving the battleground at such a time is condemnable.

It appeared that there must be some urgent reason behind discarding distressed people from the list of her priorities for a visit to foreign.

Himachal Watcher tried to confirm the urgency behind the Mayor’s visit to China in times of such crisis when she should have been brainstorming with her Councillors to come out with a solution. The Deputy Mayor did not pick up the phone. Everyone else at the Shimla Municipal Corporation said they were not aware of the purpose of the visit.

When Himachal Watcher contacted the MC Commissioner, Rohit Jamwal, he also denied having any knowledge regarding the purpose of this visit of the mayor. The Commissioner also denied having any knowledge regarding the return of the Mayor.

He said he could only confirm that she has left for China.

The only hint available is some unofficial reports that suggested that Sadret would be attending the International Mayor’s Conference in China. Otherwise, her visit is a sort of secret mission, which is why no one is aware of it. Maybe, she’ll bring a solution to the ongoing chaos from China.

The Councilors are blank as the people of their wards demand supply of water on at least alternate days. The Mayor made a wrong choice, the Councillors agreed, adding that a leader should not run away when the people need him/her most.

The public can be heard comparing the tenure of Sanjay Chauhan with Kusum Sadret. We were better off with previous MC, a couple of shopkeepers at Boileauganj heard discussing.

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400 fire watchers deployed, Rs. 1.75 cr. sanctioned for checking forest fires in Himachal: Forest Minister

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Forest fires in himachal pradesh

Shimla: The Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh Govind Singh Thakur today informed that four hundred fire watchers have been deputed across the State and added that Rs. 1.75 crore has been sanctioned by the GoI for checking and management of fire incidents in the State.

Every year, forest fires in summers turn a large amount of forest wealth to ashes. 

He said that State government has started a new project from this year for management of fire incidents by spending Rs. 1 crore additionally.

He also claimed that with a view to check the number of forest fire incidents in the State, the department implemented an awareness campaign in the month of March which proved effective and a lot of support and cooperation is coming from people in tackling fire incidents.

He said that about 9500 people got connected to the website of Forest Survey of India Dehradun which proved helpful to them in receiving information about fire incidents in their areas.

He said that the department also started a toll-free number for receiving this information. He said that the information regarding fire incidents is coming faster this year as compared to previous years due to these measures and action is being taken instantly.

He urged the people of the State to extend support to the department.

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Environment

Himachal to launch Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign along with plantation of 15 lakh plants

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Plastic Hatao Paryavaran bachao campaign

Shimla: While the two Municipal Corporations of Himachal Pradesh and Municipal Councils of various towns are nowhere near the solid waste segregation and proper disposal, the State Environment, Science and Technology will be launching a week-long ‘Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign’ from May 27 to June 2, 2018, across the State to motivate people for the elimination of polythene and protection of the environment, Director D.C. Rana informed on Friday.

He said that this campaign would be coordinated in each district by urban local bodies and PRIs under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner.

Cooperation of all government offices, NGO’s would also be sought. Public representatives, MLA’s, Ministers would also be approached for motivating people towards shunning polythene and protecting the environment.

Efforts would also be made for cleaning of water bodies, areas near water sources, tourist places etc, during the campaign, he added.

Plantation Drive during HP Van Mahotsava

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) G.S. Goraya on Friday informed that 15 lakh plants would be planted in the state during three days plantation campaign after holding of State Level Van Mahotsava between 9 to July 15 this year.

A plantation campaign would be taken up throughout the state for three days starting two days after holding of State level Van Mahotsava between the said dates. In addition to the local communities, all members of H.P. Vidhan Sabha would also be requested to participate in the planting campaign at any of the sites on the date convenient to them.

The matter regarding the implementation of Reward Scheme for the staff of the Forest department, communities, and schools, which are doing good work in nursery raising, carrying out plantations, and forest protection work, was also discussed.

Fields officers were requested to send their suggestions on criteria to be fixed to judge good performances for purpose of nominating and finalizing the recipients of the proposed rewards.

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