Sunday, June 26, 2011

Smithsonian Institute to set up research centre in Rajasthan

The prestigious US-based Smithsonian Institute will soon set up a research centre on environment in Rajasthan. A proposal in this regard from the Rajasthan Government has been approved by the US authorities. The Union Government will extend financial support for the activities at the research centre, which would include research on protection of bio-diversity.

Addressing media persons here this weekend, Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said the centre would come up at Shahpura, some 100 km from Jaipur along the Delhi-Jaipur stretch of National Highway 8. The location is not far from the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The proposal is to house the centre in the existing park, Sanjay Van, spread over 40 hectares.

The Union Minister also announced the decision to create the Rajiv Gandhi Biosphere Reserve, connecting the corridors among major forest tracks in the State to facilitate better movement of tigers and other wildlife species in an area of 11,506 sq km from Dholpur to Jhalawar. This will be under UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme.

The Rajiv Gandhi Biosphere Reserve would cover the tiger reserves of Ranthambhore and Mukandra (proposed) and the sanctuaries, Ramgarh Vishdhari, Shergarh, Darrah, Jawahar Sagar, the Chambal, Van Vihar, Ram Sagar and Kesar Bagh. In Jaipur, Mr. Ramesh held discussions on various issues related to Rajasthan's parks and reserves with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan Forests and Environment Minister Ramlal Jat, National Tiger Conservation Authority member-secretary Rajesh Gopal, Principal Secretary (Forests) V.S. Singh and Head of Forest Forces R.N. Mehrotra.

One of the proposals cleared at the meeting was for a new by-pass for Sariska for which the State and the Centre would equally share an expenditure of Rs. 200 million. Mr. Ramesh also promised Rs. 3.5 million as Central assistance to build a by-pass for Tal Chaapar, the sanctuary for black bucks in Churu district.The Union Minister assured Rajasthan of funding under the Green India Mission.

“The proposal is to increase the green cover of Rajasthan from the existing 10 per cent to 20 per cent in the next 10 years,” Mr. Ramesh said.

Source: The Hindu, June 26, 2011

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