JAIPUR: In a major relief to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in Rajasthan, the forest advisory committee (FAC) on February 4 granted clearance for widening of the Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway. With the approval, work on the project is expected to begin soon.

FAC, the statutory body for advising on forest clearances, has given the long pending nod for diversion of 78 hectare of forest land to widen the Kishangarh-Udaipur- Ahmedabad section of NH 79A, NH 79, NH 76 and NH8 from four lane to six lane in favour of NHAI. The permission was granted after the concessionaire in the project, GMR, terminated its contract in the absence of forest clearance.

Mining Destroys Habitat; 78 Spotted In 1992

Ajmer: Owing to massive mining in the Sokhliya grassland of Nasirabad block of Ajmer, only two Great Indian Bustards were spotted in the survey which ended on Monday night. In 1990s, more than 75 bustards were spotted here. The department is preparing to restore the habitat of these birds after which it will conduct the second phase of the survey in June. Around 35 teams of forest department were out in the region all long day to spot the state bird (GIB). “Sokhaliya is the natural habitat of this bird but in the last ten years their numbers have drastically dropped in the area,” said the sarpanch of Deratu village.

With loss of habitat and rising incidents of human-bear conflicts plaguing the sloth bear population in Rajasthan, the state government has drawn up an ambitious conservation plan for the nocturnal

Villages in Ajmer district agree to conserve grounds for Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican

Endangered birds, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) and Lesser Florican, are back in their annual breeding lands in Rajasthan’s Shonkaliya region in Ajmer district. Though the population of GIB, Rajasthan’s State Bird, cannot be termed sizeable the Lesser Floricans are in greater numbers this time with the males among them displaying their plumes jumping up in the air to attract the females in the middle of the breeding season with copious rains in the area coming as an extra incentive.

The first tunnel close-pit mining in Rajasthan started here in Kayar area to produce zinc and allied minerals, including silver and lead, will bring pump in Rs 1 crore every month initially as royalty to government's coffers.

The first production of mineral from the Kayar mine was sent to a refinery in Rampura Agucha of Bhilwara district. Kayar has the third largest zinc deposit in Asia with an expected 35,000 metric tonnes of the mineral.

The recent heavy rain has gifted a fresh lease of life to Pushkar lake, which has both the locals and the tourists spellbound.

For the first time in many years, the lake is filled with water, which is also flowing to the surrounding ghats. Presently, the water level in the lake is 19 feet and the ghats make a beautiful sight. It is also for the first time that the water level has been recorded to be as high after the lake underwent a complete renovation four years ago. “I don’t remember the last time its water touched the steps of the ghats. Apart from the tourists, even the locals are thronging the lake because most have never seen the lake like it is now,’’ said Shravan Parasar, secretary of the Pushkar Purohit Association.

Torrential rains continued to pound some parts of the state including Ajmer and Alwar on Tuesday, leaving at least nine people dead. Around two dozen villages in Alwar district faced a flood-like situation after a heavy downpour for the second day running. The Jaipur met office has forecasted heavy rainfall in 13 districts in the next 36 hours, including the capital.

JAIPUR: The state government on Monday extended the status of scarcity affected areas to 3739 villages of 11 districts. These villages were given this status due failed rabi crop but the extension has been given after witnessing deficient rainfall. The relief activities in these districts villages will now continue till August 15, 2012.

Earlier in March, due to failure of Rabi crop 'scarcity affected' was declared in Ajmer, Barmer, Churu, Nagaur and Jaisalmer districts.

AJMER: Wildlife census in the district began on Sunday morning and teams of forest department went to about 150 water holes to identify animals in different regions. In the first six hours of the census, small animals including snakes and cobras were spotted, but no trace of panther is found in jungles. There is a possibility of panthers being in Jawaja, Pushkar and old Beawar forest regions. For the last four years, panthers have not been reported in the census, but there are reports of attacks by the beast in some regions.

AJMER: The forest department has on its hands the task of finding the number of remaining Great Indian Bustard (GIB), the state bird, to chalk out a conservation plan for them.