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Taj Mahal: Through The Eyes of Ornithologist

Taj Mahal: Through The Eyes of Ornithologist Virat Jolli: Taj Mahal a wonder on earth is India’s finest monument. Considering its historical, cultural and unique architectural design, UNESCO has enlisted it as a World Heritage Site in 1983. It was built by 5 th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1632 A.D in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument is built on the banks of River Yamuna. The monument is a marbled mausoleum and has well managed gardens planted with variety of fruit bearing and medicinal trees. Taj Mahal is known for its unique Mughal architecture but current article aims to highlight much less talked about natural aspect i.e. birdlife. Taj Mahal  The Yamuna River, a majour tributary of River Ganga originates from Himalayas descend down at Poanta Sahib, Himachal Pradesh and enters plains of Northern India. This is one of the most important River of India as 70% of water requirement of Delhi NCT is fulfilled by it. River Yamuna falls wi
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Revisiting Wetlands of Hoshiarpur, Punjab

Revisiting Wetlands of Hoshiarpur, Punjab #Wetlands #Birds #Ecosystem #Landuse Virat Jolli: Last year in the month of November, 2017, we visited a specialised wetland ecosystem in North Eastern part of Punjab in Hoshiarpur District. These wetlands are locally known as chos (seasonal nallahs). During our past visit, we documented some important rare and large sized waterbirds in these wetlands and surrounding areas along with other terrestrial birds and animals. This has fascinated us and raised our curiosity to further explore the region and know more about this relatively little and unexplored region. Chos of Punjab Keeping this in mind, this year in the month of October, 2018, we planned to revisit the site and document its biological wealth. It was a sunny day, I along with a local villager named Gurpreet  explored chos of this region. These chos received water from Himalayan rivulets which recharge them and flooded them during monsoon season. Gurpreet, told me tha

Rapid Avian Survey of Upstream of Ravi River, Chamba, India

River Ravi Virat Jolli: Chamba town is in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. It is located on the bank of Ravi River. This river is one of the majour river and tributary of Indus River System. Government of India has constructed Chamera Hydro Electric Project (CHEP) on the upstream of Ravi River to generate electricity. Chamera Hydro Power Project comprised of three stages: Stage-I downstream of Chamba town generating a total of 540 MW; Stage-II upstream of Chamba town generating 300 MW while Stage-III further up of Stage-II generating a total of 231 MW of electricity. The silent feature of these projects is that these are run of the river scheme which require relatively lesser impoundment of river water for electricity generation. Considering their low impact on environment, we made a rapid field assessment of birds along upstream of Ravi River from Chamba town to Bharmour which covered two CHEP-II & III to know the avifauna of the Ravi River.  It was 6th of June 2018


Virat Jolli: Bundi is situated on South East of Rajasthan.  It is 471 km from Delhi and 35 km from Kota. It is easily accessible via train and road network. It is surrounded on three sides by Aravalli Hills and it  has some number of water bodies which is a lifeline for whole region. These water bodies includes small dams, lakes and ponds. These water bodies not only provide water in the region for agriculture and drinking purpose but they also being used by many birds including migratory one as stop over and nesting sites. Its not surprising that the Bundi is known to harbour variety of birds. This has prompted us to visit Bundi and explore the birds of the region. Our team visited Bundi, during winter season i.e in the end of December 2017. We spent a total 4 days with a total of 10 hrs spent in bird watching and recorded a total of 51 bird species. I am presenting a short travelogue of my visit.   Day 1 On day one we

$2.77 Billion: A Hidden Cost of Fourlane National Highway in Himalayas

Virat Jolli: State Government of Himachal Pradesh may have started the land acquisition for the proposed 219 km Pathankot-Mandi  fourlane highway project. The proposed project expected to increase the accessibility and ease of traveling via road in Himachal Pradesh. The project will shorten the distance between Pathankot and Mandi  benefiting the people of Himachal Pradesh. Further it will boost the economic trade activity in the Himalayan State.  Pathankot-Manali Road, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India The proposed project will pass through reserved forests of HP and therefore requires permission from the MoEFCC which is cleared by the said authority. According to the DPR prepared by Joint Ventures and Infrastructure Casta the project is estimated to cost Rs 8000 crore for which tender will be floated by NHAI (Tribune, 2018). The current estimated cost does not account for the loss incurred by construction of such highway in its true sense. I will present a simple anal


Earth Day Special Virat Jolli: Earth Day is celebrated around the world for the protection and  preservation of Earth. It was Gaylord Nelson a US senator from Wisconsin who first gave the idea for commemorating Earth Day. Since 1970, Earth Day is being celebrated on 22nd April. From 1990s onward around 192 countries celebrate this day. According to Earth Day Network, this year’s Earth Day is dedicated to spreading awareness about the pollution caused by plastic and the need to eventually end its use.                                                        "END PLASTIC POLLUTION" The theme is quite relevant considering the impact of plastic pollution on our earth ecosystem. Plastic is a hydrocarbon polymer and is non biodegradable which make it persistent in our environment.  Our own Delhi which is considered as heart of India is witnessing unprecedented plastic pollution. If you have been passing through Delhi streets, roads and drains you can easily find out

Some Suggestions For New Draft Forest Policy 2018: Promoting Community Based Research

Some Suggestions For New Draft Forest Policy 2018: Promoting Community Based Research  Virat Jolli:       India is one of the mega biodiverse country of the World with variety of habitats for flora and fauna. Though, we have protected areas for conserving these habitats and associated animals but long term studies are lacking which are important for their effective conservation. Currently some large mammals have been able to attract Government help and are now thriving well in their respective habitats. However ,there are variety of fauna about whom detailed and long term monitoring studies are lacking. Such species of fauna if monitored on long term basis can give valuable information. For example fauna like butterflies, beetles, spiders, bees, bats, fishes,  amphibian, reptiles and birds can be monitored on a long term basis. These fauna are critical component of ecosystem structure and functioning. Therefore,  Government should promote field based and citizens science thro