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Monday, January 28, 2013

Few tigers in PTR worry chief justice of Jharkhand

TNN | Jan 28, 2013, 10.05 AM IST DALTINGANJ: Chief justice of the Jharkhand high court PrakashTatia has expressed concern over a few big cats in the Palamu Tiger Reserve. "It appears that there is hardly any growth (in the number) of tigers here," said the chief justice, who arrived from Ranchi on Saturday. Speaking to reporters on Sunday at Betla, 27 km from here, Justice Tatia stressed the need for a tiger foundation in the state for an all-around development of the big cats. DFO (buffer) A K Mishra said the chief justice was informed about image of a tigress trapped in camera in Ramandaag area. Justice Tatia, however, had a word of praise for the elephant ride here which he took with his family in the morning. "The elephant ride of the Betla park is far impressive than that of Kaziranga. The elephant took us into deep forest here," he said asking for more animals to be added to the herd of elephants. At present, there are two elephants for the ride here. The chief justice wanted that entry of vehicular traffic inside the park be restricted and limited. He said the employees of the tiger reserve should get timely salary and their security be ensured. "Jharkhand has immense potentialities and these need to be tapped, promoted and exploited for tourism," Justice Tatia said. "Jharkhand's violence gets widespread coverage but there are a plenty of beautiful things and if tourism is encouraged here, it will benefit the poor and the commoner." Tourism can change the face of the economy of the area and earnings coming so from tourism will reach the people who will then be distracted from terrorism. He emphasized that people living outside the state be told of good things about Jharkhand. On Saturday, Justice Tatia reached Palamu Qilla amid tight security. He spent about half an hour there. "This precious heritage of the past 300 years or so be retained in its antique form as far as possible and I am most surprised to find this qilla (fort) in such a dense forest," he said on the fort. Quoting the chief justice, DFO (core) Premjit Anand said, "The chief justice was so pained to see the Palamu Qilla in terrible ruins." On justice-on-wheels, Justice Tatia said the state legal services authority would have one more facility soon. He showed keen interest when told that the facility travelled down to interior areas affected by Left wing extremism in Palamu. "The response of the people to this justice-on-wheels has been tremendous in the state," he said. About the second one, Justice Tatia said it would be fitted with more audio and visual facilities.

Sharad Pawar slams greens, bats for Adani

TNN | Jan 28, 2013, 07.01 AM IST Subhendu counters Jairam Ramesh remarks at JangalmahalAnti-women politicians should NAGPUR: NCP chief and union agriculture minister SharadPawar batted for Gujarat-based industrial house Adani Group, whose coal mines near Tadoba tiger reserve were cancelled due to concerns over tiger habitat being disturbed. Speaking at a conference organized by Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) on Saturday, he expressed disagreement with the decision by former minster of environment and forests JairamRamesh, during whose regime the allocation of coal blocks was cancelled. Adani is coming up with a power plant at Gondia which is also the electoral constituency of union heavy industries minister Praful Patel and a key NCP leader. Pawar said he had worked hard to ensure that the Adani Group's sets up the power plant in Gondia. "I met Gautam Adani with Praful Patel in Gondia. He said his company had inked a pact to supply power at Rs2.25 a unit to the state government owned MSEDCL for the next 25 years. I wondered how could they calculate the expenditure for such a long period. Adani said he was banking on the coal mines allotted to his company close to the plant. I coordinated with officials in Mumbai to speed up other things. However, environmentalists scuttled the project in the name of tiger conservation by cancelling the mines," said Pawar. The NCP boss countered the stance of environmentalists that the mine would harm the tiger habitat by saying that the blocks were quite far from the forest. The cancellation of mines has forced the company to import coal from Australia, leading to the calculations doing haywire and the company suffering a quarterly loss of Rs850 crore, Pawar added. Batting for other units in the power sector too, he came down hard on those opposing concentration of power plants in the region. "There is no need for a hue and cry over power plants siphoning away water meant for irrigation or creating pollution when hardly three of over 20 in the region are operational," he said. At the same time he also spoke of discouraging industries in Western Maharashtra, where there is a concern over excessive use of water by industries, especially when the region is reeling under a drought. "It is now the turn of areas like Vidarbha, Marathwada and Khandesh to see industrial development," he said. He said politics of sabotage has also hit the irrigation projects of Vidarbha, referring to the Gosikhurd dam. "A series of complaints have now stopped funds for this project. I will hold a meeting with minister of water resources soon to sort out the issue," he said. Curiously, he also praised Narendra Modi in a passing mention, saying that he would always cut across party lines when it came to the state's development.