Indian safari seems to have come of age, with Taj Hotels, ITC and Leisure Hotels scouting for properties to promote high-end tours Ravi Teja Sharma NEW DELHI THE wildlife lodges segment has caught the fancy of hospitality companies. While Taj Safaris, a JV between Taj Hotels and CC Africa, has opened two luxury wildlife resorts in Madhya Pradesh, Leisure Hotels, which has a large presence in Uttarakhand, is now entering the wildlife lodges segment with a lodge to boot in Madhya Pradesh.

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh DEHRA DUN: The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power, Jairam Ramesh has urged the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation ( THDC) to double its operational portfolio in the next five years.

Yoga guru Swami Ramdev will now play a key role in the campaign to save the Ganga river, which is being spearheaded by the Ganga Raksha Manch. The Yoga guru and other sadhus participating in the campaign to save the Ganga will use the mala (garland) and the bhala (trident) to convince people to join in. "With the mala, we will welcome people to contribute and do shramdaan in the campaign and with the bhala we will impress upon them the cultural, religious and national significance of the Ganga river," a spokesman of the Ganga Raksha Manch told this correspondent on Friday.

Rajeev Khanna Dehradun : The BJP has embarked upon a special programme to regain its hold over the Hindi belt. The party is galvanising its cadres in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member Kalraj Mishra told The Indian Express that an exercise has been undertaken to identify the voters at the block levels and to hold voter sammelans. The party has also started organising training camps for its workers so that they can convey the party message to the people.

SHISHIR PRASHANT The Uttarakhand government today decided not to go ahead with construction of two major hydel projects on the Bhagirathi river in the wake of the fast-unto-death by GD Agrawal, an environmentalist spearheading the "save Bhagirathi" campaign. The decision to put off construction of the 480-Mw Pala Maneri project and the 400-Mw Bhairon Ghati project was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister BC Khanduri, a state government official said.

By Rashme Sehgal June 16: Prof. G.D. Aggarwal, who is sitting on a fast unto death in Uttarkashi from June 13, fears the construction of six hydel projects on the upper Ganga between the Gangotri glacier and Uttarkashi will see a drying-up of the river for over a 50-km stretch.

A recent study - "Linking Community-Based Water and Forest Management for Sustainable Livelihoomds of Poor in Fragile Catchments of the Indus-Ganges Basin' - conducted by People Science Institute (PSI) here, shows a remarkable shift from farm- based to non-farm activities in Hilaungad Watershed of Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand. Only 14 per cent people are still practising agriculture, a figure which was 51 per cent 10 years ago.

One person was killed and nine others, including five foreign tourists, were injured when a part of the Gaumukh glacier moved and hit these persons near Gaumukh last evening. A team of the Uttarkashi police, forest personnel and rescue workers today reached the spot and carried the injured back to Bhojwasa for treatment. According to Uttarkashi SP Nilesh Anand Bharne, part of the Gaumukh glacier fell on tourists in the area killing a sadhu and injuring four American and one British tourists. Two tourists from West Bengal were also injured.

The state-run NTPC, which has launched the capacity addition programme of 25,000 mw, for the 11th Plan, has already started preparations to add nearly 7,000 mw in the hydro sector by the end of the 12th Plan (2016-17). NTPC's investment in the eight upcoming hydro projects would be around Rs 35,000 crore.

Brutality, man-made disasters cause regular elephant deaths With their habitat shrinking fast, elephants are regularly falling prey to human brutality and man-made disasters. The last few days have been especially tragic for these gentle beasts. After the shooting down of a tusker in Ranipur Jhal area of Hardwar district last Thursday, an elephant and her one-year-old calf were electrocuted near Dimna lake near Jamshedpur on Monday while the decomposed body of another pachyderm was discovered at the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand.

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