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Showing posts from April, 2018

$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


                  CITIZEN SCIENCE: YOUTH AND ENVIRONMENT Virat Jolli: Himachal Pradesh is known for its rich diversity of birds. The varied topography, landscapes and optimum forest cover and proximity to Delhi, Punjab and Haryana States has promoted tourism related activity in towns of Himachal Pradesh. Apart from this Himachal is also known as Dev Bhoomi which means it’s a land of Gods many Hindu’s, Sikh deity places have been worshiped since time immemorial. As a result lakhs of pilgrimage visit HP during summer. These towns has emerged as major economic centre for State. These towns are rich in bird diversity due to proximity to forest and farmland. However there is no continuous and long term monitoring in these towns there we establish monitoring sites in Kullu, Mandi, Sainj, Dharamshala, Palampur, Kangra, Dalhousie, Chamba and Bharmour. We have been monitoring towns along Beas River since 2015.  84 Mandir (Bharmour, Chamba, HP) Students attending the lecture


PRELIMINARY FIELD SURVEY OF CHOS OF HOSHIARPUR: A POTENTIAL WETLAND SITE OF PUNJAB Virat Jolli: Hoshiarpur is situated in north east part of Punjab State of India and falls under Beas-Satluj Doab. It shares boundary with Kangra and Una district of Himachal Pradesh and thus occupy position at the foothills of Shivaliks range of Lesser Himalayas. Many small rivers discharge water through numerous small river channels which shaped the landform of Hoshiarpur. These river channels are prominent feature of this district and are popularly known as Chos. These Chos are seasonal and remain flooded during monsoon while dry during summer and winter seasons. Parsote a small village around 5 km from Mahalpur and 15 km from Hoshiarpur city of Punjab has Chos which extended upto 2-3 km in the region. The chos was surveyed during early November i.e. pre winter season. A 2 km trail was covered with local villager named Gopi, who is well acquainted with the area. The site had mangoes, neem and


Virat Jolli: Sainj valley also known as God valley is a gorgeous valley with many picturesque sites. It is situated in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. One can access it via NH 44 and is approximately 485 Km from New Delhi. The valley has rouged and steep slopes alongwith fast flowing rivers like Sainj Khad and Jiwa Nal which make it suitable site for hydro power generation. The site was identified in 1990’s and dam building activity began in the region in 2001. The aim of such project is to generate electricity, provide employment opportunity to locals which ultimately ushered economic development of valley. Around 2/3 rd of its area is under protected area network (Great Himalayan National Conservation Area and Sainj Wildlife Sanctuary) and many native people are dependent on forest natural resources for their livelihood. After the commencement of HPPs it is expected to bring significant changes in native rural people. Therefore, it’s important to know how native people p


Virat Jolli: Western Tragopan  Tragopan melanocephalus is a medium sized (71 cm) pheasant found within the altitudinal range of 2400-3600 m during Summer and >1350 m in Winter of Western Himalayas (Kazmierczak 2009). It inhabits understory vegetation of mixed coniferous forest and steep slopes of alpine shrub land. This pheasant make loud calls in early morning during spring season. It’s a secretive bird and therefore difficult to sight but can be identified its distinct call. It displayed sexual dimorphism which means male and female look different. As in case of others birds tragopan males are much brighter and colourful to attract female and display its fitness. Western Tragopan ( Tragopan melanocephalus ) Source: Wikipedia It’s an endemic and rare bird of Western Himalayas. It’s a Schedule-I species of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and currently classified as Vulnerable under IUCN Redlist category. Its population is reported from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal P


DAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES AND THEIR IMPACTS ON HIMALAYAN BIRDS Virat Jolli:  In a study conducted in upper Beas valley, Himachal Pradesh, the impacts of Parvati Hydro electric Project development on Himalayan birds was investigated. In the study Sainj valley is extensively surveyed which is a part of upper Beas valley comes under sensitive ecosystem zone with mixed conifers and broadleaf forests. These forests provide suitable habitats to Schedule-I to Schedule-IV birds and animals e.g. Snow Leopard, Blue sheep, Western Tragopan, Cheer Pheasant, Himalayan Monal, Kaleej Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant and Himalayan Griffon etc. The region also has fast flowing streams and river which are being exploited to generate electricity therefore number of Hydro electric Projects like Pandoh Dam, PHEP and Sainj Hydro electric Project are constructed. Dam construction causes regional scale land use change due to road construction, tunnel boring, impoundment of river, dumping of earth material