World Heritage Sites status sought for 6 Rajasthan forts
CHENNAI, May 9, 2013: India has nominated a group of six hill forts in Rajasthan and the Great
Himalayan National Park in HP as candidates for World Heritage Sites this year. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at its
meeting in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh next month will decide on conferring the status on them.
The five Rajasthan forts were nominated last year too, but UNESCO
rejected them. This year, the government added the Jaisalmer fort, reworked the documents and renominated the five. The International
Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which evaluates the cultural
properties for UNESCO, inspected the sites last year, and their final
recommendation will be known on May 17. India has 29 world heritage sites — 23 cultural and six natural
properties.Source: The Hindu
Rajasthan leaves many states behind in renewable energy
Jaipur, April 24, 2013: Rajasthan has pushed back several developed states in
achieving the targets for renewable energy and has emerged as one of the
top states in promoting “clean energy”.This has been revealed in a
recent report issued by Green Peace India titled “powering ahead with
renewables- Leaders and Laggards”.
Report says that Rajasthan was amongst top states in achieving the
targets (Renewal Purchase Obligation) set to harness renewable energy
including solar energy, Wind Energy and Bio mass energy. While the state
target set by various regulators was fixed at 5% and national target was
7% Rajasthan achieved 6% as renewable energy.
This implies that state has been making serious efforts to reduce its
dependence on coal based thermal electricity plants and relying more on
the use of solar wind and bio mass energy which are regarded as clean
source of energy as they do not pollute the environment. Report says that Rajasthan achieved this status because it’s blessed
with enormous potential in solar energy.
Notably, till 2004 there was a single policy for renewable energy with
no distinction between solar wind and bio mass however this changed after 2004 when separate policy for all these sources of renewable
energy was made with more stress on each energy source. However, still there is lack of much public awareness in using these
sources for electricity purposes and people tend to rely more of traditional methods. To make the use of solar energy popular in the state recently energy
department has offered to public to install a small solar plant having a
capacity of 1 KW which they can install on the roofs of their homes.
“The plant costs around 70000 of which govt will be giving 50% subsidy
this will help in popularizing the use of solar energy in the state,”
said SK Aggarwal, principal secretary, energy department. Source: DNA
Illegal miners kill Rajasthan forest guard, three arrested
Jaipur, April 20, 2013: A forest guard in Bundi district,
Rajasthan, was battered to death late
Wednesday night when he and his colleague had gone to raid an illegal
mining site in a forest area. Shayar Singh, 50, and forest outpost in-charge Virendra Singh had received a tip-off that illegal mining of
sandstone was being carried out in Bapadu forest area.
They had gone there to investigate when they found over half a dozen men
transporting sandstone from a mine. When the duo in plainclothes on a
motorcycle tried to approach the miners, they attacked them. Shayar Singh was battered by the attackers and hit on the head. He died on the
spot while Virendra managed to escape from there. Later he informed the
police and senior forest department officials. A team was sent to the spot to nab the illegal miners.
Three persons have been arrested so far while two others, including a
woman, are absconding. The accused have been charged with murder and a
case has been lodged against Durga Shankar, Ram Swarup and Pappu
Gurjjar, all residents of Gopalpura. The police are on the lookout for
Ram Swarup's wife and Mangilal Balai, both of whom were also involved in
the incident. Source: Indian Express
Mukundara Hills is Rajasthan's third tiger reserve
Jaipur, April 14, 2013: After Ranthambhore and
Sariska, Rajasthan will now be home to a third
big cat habitat-the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve. The new tiger reserve, located chiefly in Rajasthan's Hadoti region, was
notified by the state government on Thursday. The Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve will be spread across four
districts-Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh and Jhalawar-covering an area of 759
sq km. It will boast of a core area of 417 sq km and a buffer zone covering 342.82 sq km.
The reserve, expected to ease the big cat population pressure in
Ranthambhore, will cover the existing Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal
wildlife sanctuaries. Currently, the Ranthambhore tiger reserve is home to 50 tigers while
Sariska tiger reserve has nine big cats. State governments are
authorised, on the recommendations of the
National Tiger Conservation Authority, to notify an area as a tiger reserve under
section 38 V of theWildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Earlier last month, union minister of environment and forests Jayanti
Natarajan had informed the Lok Sabha that the NTCA had given in-principle approval to five new tiger
reserves-Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda (Odisha), Mukundara Hills
(Rajasthan) and Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu)
The Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve currently does not have a tiger
population of its own but serves as a natural extension to the Ranthambhore tiger reserve and big cats from the state's premier reserve
often stray into the MHTR area for breeding. The NTCA already recognises the MHTR as an extension of the core area of
the Ranthambhore tiger reserve. The government had issued a preliminary notification naming the reserve
“Rajiv Gandhi National Park”. However, before it could issue a final notification, the code of conduct
was imposed in view of the 2003 assembly elections. Source: The Hindu
Rajasthan launches free diagnosis scheme
JAIPUR, April 8, 2013: A free diagnosis scheme which
had been on a trial run since April 1 would be launched throughout Rajasthan in a phased manner from Sunday on the eve of the World Health
Day. Under the scheme, patients can undergo 57 free diagnostic tests at government
hospitals linked to medical colleges. Another 44 tests would be offered
free of cost at district and satellite hospitals. The scheme's second phase would start from the Doctors' Day on July 1,
when 25 essential diagnostic tests would be available free for patients
in government community health centres. In the third and final phase to
be launched on Independence Day, the scheme would cover all primary health centres and dispensaries where patients can undergo 15 basic
diagnostic tests free of cost.
Rajasthan had earlier become the first state to launch a free medicine
distribution scheme in October 2011. Besides this, the state offers free
doctors' consultations along with emergency ambulance services. "There
were difficulties in implementing these schemes, but the government is
prepared to tackle them; lakhs of people have benefited from our welfare
schemes," chief minister Ashok Gehlot said after inaugurating the latest scheme.
Officials said 8 crore patients have been benefited from the Mukhya Mantri Free Medicines Scheme since its launch on October 2,
2011.Officials said almost two lakh people are taking advantage of the scheme
daily. Patients are being provided 400 most essential generic medicines
free of cost across 34 district stores and over 16,000 distribution
Under the scheme, a woman who delivers a girl child at government
centres is granted Rs 2,100 cash. The government has promised Rs 2,100
for vaccination. Once the girl turns five, the state would provide the
final 'encouragement' amount of Rs 3,100 for education. Source: The Times of India
Governor extends wishes on eve of Rajasthan Foundation
Jaipur, March 31, 2013: Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva conveyed her
greetings to the people on the eve of state foundation day on March 30.
Highlighting developments and growth potential of the state, Alva in her
message stressed that the challenges lie ahead needed to be addressed.
She mentioned transformation in desert areas by Indira Gandhi canal,
industrial growth and financial boom prospects by Delhi Mumbai Freight
corridor, Oil refinery project, flagship schemes and programmes of the
state government. “The state today is poised for prosperity,” she said. However, Alva
said infant morality rate, life expectancy and literacy rates continue
to cause concern.
“The governance at all levels- political leadership, bureaucracy and
professionals, including teachers, doctors and engineers-should be responsive to the need of
vulnerable sections, in order to build a truly inclusive society,” she added.
Rajasthan is celebrated the 64th foundation day on March 30.
Cairn begins gas sale from Rajasthan block, pitches for speedy project approval
Barmer, March 24, 2013: The Cairn-ONGC joint venture (JV) in the Rajasthan`oil block has begun commercial gas production.
Cairn India pitched for`speedy regulatory approval for making the Rajasthan block the largest in`the country.
"Our gross Rajasthan development investment to date is more than
Rs.18,000 crore and we intend to invest over Rs. 6,000 crore in exploration`and development activities during 2013-14," Cairn India CEO P Elango`said.
The JV can produce more "provided we get timely regulatory`approvals. We can
make` `the`largest`producing field in the country", he added. "(We) will let Vedanta go in a big way and there will be no obstruction
(of approval), big or small," Oil Minister Veerappa Moily said. Vedanta Resources is the majority stake holder of Cairn India.
Mr Moily also said that the government is "working on a plan to attract
more investment into the oil and gas sector" so that "by 2020, we can
reduce oil imports by 50 per cent". Meanwhile, Anil Agarwal, executive chairman at Vedanta Resources, said
the company (Cairn) will bring technology and people to raise output
(from the Rajasthan oil block). "We want operational freedom to operate in the Rajasthan block," Mr Agarwal, however, added.
Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, said that the approval for a
refinery in the area had been granted and the refinery will bring more economic growth in the state as it will require an investment of over
Rs. 40,000 crore. Cairn is the 70 per cent stakeholder in the Rajasthan oil block as the
operator and ONGC has a 30 per cent stake and is the licencee. Source: NDTV
Rajasthan's first woman 'coolie'
Jaipur, March 20, 2013: A 33-year-old Manju, the mother of three is a coolie
at the Jaipur station, offering to carry the heavy luggage of passengers for a
small sum of money. After her husband died a year ago, Manju took his job, becoming
Rajasthan's first woman coolie. With her husband's brass tag plate, numbered 15, attached to her arm, Manju started working at the Jaipur
railway station last week.
"I had no choice. In my village, there is no employment or a livelihood.
Farming is not enough to support us as our fields are barren. So what
could I do," she says. Lacking the physical strength that the male coolies possess, she opts
for lighter bags and packages. "Sometimes I earn Rs. 50, sometimes 100. And on some days, nothing at
all; that's when I get slightly tense," she adds. Breaking into a traditional male bastion has been Manju's biggest
challenge. However, she says she is yet to encounter any kind of harassment in the one week she has
worked at the station. She works from 5 pm to 9 pm when the station is at its busiest. The security personnel
at the station and her male colleagues keep an eye on her to protect her
from any kind of danger. In fact, she says she would not have managed
without the support of the male coolies, who help her by giving tips on which trains to approach
and also sometimes pass on clients to her. "She is like our daughter; we will take care of her," a senior coolie,
Phool Mohammad, says.
Many passengers at the station, who at first are taken aback when Manju
approaches them for business, lavish praise. "We had a woman President and women even fly
planes. So why not a woman coolie," says a commuter. Source: NDTV
HPCL sign a MOU with the Rajasthan government to set up Rs 37,000 cr oil refinery
NEW DELHI, March 14, 2013: State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) plans to invest Rs 37,000 crore in setting up a nine million tonne oil refinery and a
petrochemical complex at Barmer in Rajasthan. The company will on March 14 sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rajasthan government
for setting up the refinery-cum-petrochemical complex, a source privy to the development said.
HPCL board earlier this week approved setting up of the complex costing Rs
37,000 crore. Also, it approved expansion of the Bhatinda refinery in
Punjab from 9 million tonne to 11.2 million tonnes. The Bhatinda refinery is operated by HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd, an equal
joint venture of HPCL and steel baron Lakshmi Mittal. HMEL had last year commissioned the Rs 21,500 crore Guru Govind Singh refinery at
Sources said half of the crude oil requirement at the proposed refinery
at Barmer is to come from the neighbouring oilfields of Cairn India. The
rest will be imported crude. The MoU signing in Jaipur will be attended by Oil Minister M Veerappa
Moily and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. HPCL, they said, has asked the state government to
extend fiscal benefits like the ones extended by Gujarat and Orissa to new refinery
projects, to make the Barmer unit viable. The concessions include 50 per
cent exemption in excise duty and the state government picking a small stake in the project.
Originally, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which owns 30 per cent interest in the Barmer oilfields of
Cairn India, had in 2005 committed to build the refinery but later started soft-peddling the project.Last year, HPCL entered the fray and has proposed to
take 51 per cent stake in the project. ONGC which originally had the
authorisation from the government for processing the Barmer crude at the proposed refinery, too is now keen to
take a stake in the project.
Cairn India, which holds 70 per cent interest in the fields, currently
produces about 175,000 barrels per day oil (8.75 million tonnes a year)
from the Rajasthan fields and has potential to go up to 300,000 bpd (15
million tonnes). Vedanta Resources , which in 2011 acquired Cairn India
for USD 8.67 billion, too is interested in taking a small equity of 2-3
per cent in the project.
Budget: Gains and losses for Rajasthan
Jaipur, March 01, 2013: There is nothing specific about Rajasthan in Union Budget of
finance minister P Chidambaram. However, state will benefit from increased allocations in infrastructure and social sector. The biggest
gain would be in health sector as Jodhpur AIIMS would start next year.
Union health ministry had set up AIIMS in six cities, including Jodhpur.
Now, FM has allocated Rs1,650 crore of which Jodhpur AIIMS would get
Rs275 crore. Also, health and family planning ministry has received Rs37,330 crore
while new National Health Mission has been allocated Rs21,239. Rajasthan
is expected to receive a big pie. Dr Virendra Singh, superintendent, SMS
Hospital, said, “Medical colleges have received allocations.
The budget is good for health sector.” Rajasthan may get a major chunk of national highways. About 5,000 km
roads would be constructed in five states, including Rajasthan, Gujarat,
Maharashtra, UP and MP. The state had proposed 7-8 projects. Since, Union surface transport minister CP Joshi belongs to
Rajasthan, chances are state will get the maximum. The projects are expected to clear in a
few months. In housing, urban poor will get 11,000 homes as Rs2,000 crore has been
proposed. Around 10,800 homes will be built in state. For basic facilities in Raj cities, Rs700 crore has been proposed. In
JNNURM, the Centre provides 70% to 80% money. Source: Daily Bhaskar
Swine flu threat rises in Rajasthan, 111 dead so far
Jaipur, February 19, 2013: Sudden spurt in swine flu (H1N1) in Rajasthan claiming 111 lives during
the past 49 days of 2013, including 32 during the past fortnight, has
assumed scary proportion making the desert state worst hit. 150 people lost their lives due to swine flu since April last year.
So far at least 828 positive cases of the virus have been identified in
the state since April, 2012. They include 500 cases identified during the past 48 days alone.
This seems to be too much for the state government to handle as the
department of medical and health seems to be at its wit's end and could hardly act beyond rituals of holding review meetings.
While the state was hit by the virus on a massive scale as back as in
2009 when 198 people had died, it took so long for state's principal
secretary, health, Deepak Upreti to impress upon his health officials
the importance of screening all the students of the school once a student of that educational institution reported positive. He called a
review meeting of the department on Sunday when he directed his staff
that once a positive case was noticed in a locality the entire neighborhood
in a radius of 50 metre must be screened for the virus.
Though such advisories make good inputs for official files and media
reports but they have little to do with department working in the field. Despite a rise in virus affected people'™s number the official
machinery has failed in taking effective preventive measures. An earlier
advisory of conducting surveys of areas from where positive cases were
reported met same fate. Government hospitals in districts were found treating positively tested
or suspected patients with general patients in the same wards instead of
creating isolation wards. Even in the state premier hospital, Sawai
Man Singh hospital of Jaipur, such a situation continued for quite long.
In this background it was not surprising that two IAS officers, Vipin
Chandra Sharma and Navin Mahajan, and even medical students recently
tested positive in the state. Source: India Today
Pollution: Rajasthan among worst offenders
JAIPUR, February 7, 2013: The environment report card is out and Rajasthan is
among the worst performers in the country. A latest compendium of "Environment
Statistics India 2012" released by the ministry of statistics and programme
implementation (MOSPI) indicates that Rajasthan's environment situation is appalling.
The state has the fifth highest consumption for pesticides in the
country. This despite Rajasthan's contribution to agriculture being under 10% nationally. Moreover, agrarian states like Punjab and Haryana
have witnessed a dip in usage of pesticides even as it goes up in
Rajasthan. The report noted that the due to excess use of pesticides,
organisms develop resistance and lead to major health issues. "The pesticides used in agriculture sometimes go into the food chain or in
water bodies which may result and become health hazards, the report said.The statistics also reveals that 21% of the total land in the state is
under mining, which exerts huge pressure on bio-diversity. The total
number of mining leases issued in the state in year 2009 was 2,068 and
in the year 2011 this figure jumped to 2,696. The total area covered
under mining activities stands at 1,07,000 hectares, making Rajasthan
the leading state in the sector. Figures for water conservation are also alarming in Rajasthan. The
withdrawal exceeds the replenishing of ground water resources. Source: The Times of India
Gurjjar quota in government jobs, educational institutes stayed by High Court
Jaipur, January 30, 2013: The Rajasthan High Court has stayed the government
decision to allot 5 per cent reservation to special backward classes in government jobs and
educational institutes in the state. The move was expected by the Gurjjar
community, who were included in the SBC category in an effort to appease them.
A special bench of Justices Narendra Kumar Jain and J K Ranka heard a
PIL filed by one Mukesh Solanki and stayed the government's decision on
Monday. The next hearing is slated for February 19, till when the government cannot implement the quota.
The bench noted that with the 5 per cent quota, total reservations in
the state crossed the 50 per cent mark, which was against the law. On November 28, the state
government had approved an OBC commission's report recommending 5 per cent
reservation for SBCs in government jobs and educational institutions. The government accepted the report, with
the quota coming in over and above the existing 49 per cent reservation
already implemented in the state. Before this, the state had 21 per cent
reservation for OBCs and another 28 per cent for SC/STs.
The state Cabinet decided to include five communities under SBCs
- Banjara/Baldia/ Labana, Gadia Lohar/Gadolia, Gurjjar/Gujjar, Raika/Raibari and Gadaria/Gayari and instructed the Personnel Department
to accordingly amend the service rules.The Gurjjar community led by Kirorilal Bainsla had clamoured for
additional reservation within the 50 per cent framework anticipating
intervention of the court. On Tuesday, Bainsla said the court's decision
had strengthened his resolve to fight for reservations for his community. "We will now contest elections and win 23 seats. We will
fight as Independent candidates and have no allegiance to the Congress,
BJP or any third front," he said. Source: Indian Express
Justify reservation beyond 50% capital in state: HC to Rajasthan
Jaipur, January 24, 2013 (PTI): The Rajasthan High Court today asked the state
government to justify the 68 per cent reservation and explain as to why 'in the absence of
justification' the excess reservation be not stayed for the time being.
The division bench, comprising justices NK Jain and J K Ranka asked Advocate General G S Bapna to come prepare to justify government's stand
on the reservation tomorrow.
The court also sought state's explanation as to why, by way of an
interim order, the excess reservation granted on the recommendation of
State Backward Class Commission beyond 50 per cent ceiling be not stayed.
The order came on a petition filed by one Mukesh Solanki. R D Rastogi, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that the 5 per cent
reservation was granted to 5 communities under the head of special backward classes in the state that minclude Gujjar community.
On November 29 last year, the state government had accepted the state
OBC commission report, paving way for 5 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes to five communities,
including Gujjars, under Specially] Backward Category. "These castes were very much included in the quota of 21 per cent
reservation meant for other Backward Classes, but still new term 'special backward class (SBC)' was created to give reservation to the
castes like the Gujjar community,"] said Rastogi. The counsel for the petitioner said that according to the Supreme Court
judgements the upper limit fixed for reservation is 50 per cent. "But the state
government gave 5 per cent reservation to Special Backward Classes that included gujjar, and 14 per cent more reservation
to economically backward classes raising the available reservation graph
from 49 per cent to 68 per cent which is beyond the permissible limit," said
Rape cases in Rajasthan: 50 pc still await justice, 40 pc dismissed as 'false'
Jaipur, January 16, 2013:* Fifty per cent rape cases in Rajasthan still await justice and
forty per cent cases are dismissed as 'false' by the police in the state. Outraged people protested outside the Sodala police station in
Jaipur against an officer who refused to register a case of sexual assault on an 11-year-old by a construction worker. His explanation was
that 'it wasn't a rape after all'. Meena Yadav, Councillor, victim's neighbour, Jaipur, said, "The officer
said he couldn't register a report as there was no rape. Should the police wait for a rape to happen before registering a case? How is this
fair? The victim's father had a harrowing time for three days and the police too kept threatening him."
After the protests, a case of sexual assault was registered, but the
police station in charge Mangu Singh, has not even been suspended. Instead a case of disrupting peace was filed against the protesters.
Giriraj Meena, IG police, Jaipur, said, "This matter is under investigation, we are looking into the allegations, anyone found guilty
will be punished." CNN-IBN found that women's desks, mandatory for Jaipur's police stations
were not really in place. CNN-IBN also found that women's desks, mandatory for Jaipur's police
stations were not really in place. CNN-IBN's reality check of women's
desks across at least six police stations across Jaipur shows the same
picture - empty rooms with stray pieces of furniture and sign boards
lying unmanned, unattended almost everywhere. Two of Jaipur's women police stations have men in charge of them.
Shortage of women in the police could be why Rajasthan is fourth in crimes against women. Numbers show chargesheets are filed only in half
of the rape cases registered, Rajasthan police finds four out of 10 rape
cases to be 'false', leading to a poor conviction rate. Source: ibnlive.in.com
Severe cold wave in Rajasthan
Jaipur, January 8, 2013: Biting cold conditions continued to affect normal life in
Rajasthan where Churu recorded night temperature below zero degree Celsius for
third consecutive day. Harsh cold conditions prevailed in most parts of Rajasthan on Monday
where six cities was recorded below minus 1 degree .Fatehpur was at minus -3.5
degrees Celsius, Churu at -2.7 degrees Celsius, Pilani at -1.4 degrees Celsius,
Jobner at -1.2 degrees Celsius, Chagan at -1 degrees Celsius and Mount Abu at -0.5 degrees Celsius.
Bikaner recorded 0.4 degree Celsius while mercury in Karauli and Nagaur plummeted to 0.6 and 0.7 degrees Celsius respectively,
according to the Met department here. Sriganganagar was recorded at 0.4 degree Celsius and Jaipur was recorded at 2.3 degree Celsius
First time snow was observed over the sand in desert in the sekhawati region.