Burning Issues

Uttarakhand-3 months after the deluge

Uttarakhand-3 months after the deluge
-Susan Sharma 
See a slide show on the beauty of the Kedar Valley which needs to be regenerated at 

"Reaching Triyuginarayan in the initial phase was one of the toughest journeys for us. The village doesn’t have visible loss to property or life, something needed by the agencies and government to be called affected!! And yet it is one of the worst affected. Local economy is collapsed and the people remained cut off without livelihood. If you have milk there is no customer to pay for the tea and if you have potato- no roads or transport to carry it to the market!!

3 months later, often people say ‘there were floods’ in Uttarakhand but on the ground we still find villages where no one has reached except some air drop of basic relief material.  While the roads are opening up, now the attention has moved and the number of agencies and people working there has also come down in a big way".

Says Goonj, an NGO who has continuously worked to on the ground in affected areas.

Uttarakhand government records state that 1,940 dwellings were completely damaged, 1,575 severely damaged and 5,647 were partially damaged in the disaster.  It's "mission rebuild Uttarakhand" as students from seven architecture schools, including the School of Planning and Architecture in the city, are coming together to create design solutions and implement them.   The month-long workshop will take place in stages at different locations. The selected designs will be implemented in Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Tehri regions. 

Mohit Verma, founder of Architecture Research Conservation Habitat and Design Education (ARCHADE), said the plan is to bring awareness among students and engage architecture colleges in a common cause.

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), whose survey team was at Gangotri-Harsil-Maneri-Uttarkashi axis between June 14 and 22, has some pertinent recommendations.  "A resilient ecosystem can regain its equilibrium even after a major natural disturbance. But human interference is robbing ecosystems of their resilience, pushing them beyond recovery. Following the cloudburst in mid-June, Uttarakhand is on the brink of such an ecological disaster."  says Manu Bhatnagar of INTACH.   He goes on to add- the native oak forests, whose root systems bind the soil, are being replaced with commercially valuable pine plantations that yield timber, turpentine oil and pine needles. These tropical trees can be seen replacing alpine trees even at higher altitudes.

1.Reforestation with native species that not only thrive in the region but also aid soil and water conservation should be part of the state’s policy on conservation of forest and environment.

2.Tubewells should not be permitted beyond 1,000 metres above the sea level. This policy measure will help restrain urbanisation in the middle and upper reaches of the mountain.

3.It is necessary to evaluate the current status of dams to assess the loss of storage capacity, revise their life span figure and reassess the utility of the worst-hit projects. It should not shy away from decommissioning a few projects as warranted to prevent disasters.

IWC Project



IndianWildlifeclub.com continues to follow up the progress made by Yashpal Negi whose camp,  which housed bird watchers from all over the world for 13 years, vanished overnight.

I spoke with Yashpal Singh Negi on 19th September.  The weather has cleared and the rebuilding of the Camp has already started.   He has already made the doors and windows for the new camp.  The stone laying ceremony ill be on 15th October, when his mentor is expected to arrive.   By the way his mentor is a bird watcher who motivated him to take the leap from being a bird guide.to a bird tour organizer.

The Uttarakhand Government has announced that the Char Dham Yatra is soon starting in October 2013.  Yatris will trek 24 km instead of the 14 km earlier.   Mr. Negi feels tourists will start arriving by February 2014.  

For the benefit of those who wish to render monetary aid, we are  again providing his account details:

Name: Yashpal Singh Negi
Bank: State Bank Of India
Branch: Bhiri
Saving Account No: 11442534733
NEFT/IFSC Code: SBIN0009834

Please remit your contributions directly, and intimate him accordingly.  
His numbers are +91-9412909399 and +91-9720709499

Those who contribute more than Rs 1000/- may send in their name, email id , date and amount of credit to susan_sharma@hotmail.com. IndianWildlifeClub .com will send a high resolution copy of ‘ Morning Glory at Kedarnath” to each one of them. 

Environment Education

Trail from Highlands to Ocean- A padayatra for rewilding the Bengal Tiger's Homeland.

Trail from Highlands to Ocean- A padayatra for rewilding the Bengal Tiger's Homeland.
-Susan Sharma

This is a Padayatra, of a different kind.   In  the year 1951,  Vinoba Bhave did padayatras asking people to donate land for the landless.      
Sunil Joshi and others are hiking from Tadoba Tiger Reserve to Mumbai on a 60days trek ( 1200 kms)  across the Western Ghats  through Monsoon Forests into the urban forests of Thane, Mumbai.   

The Mission -  Rewild the Bengal Tigers' Corridors  to ensure the reign of the Bengal Tiger
The Slogan - Protect our wilderness and protect the tiger!

Want to join in with Sunil and his team?(a volunteering participant can walk even for a week or a participant can be in PR or support team for say 10 to 15 days.)
Click on the link below for full details


Apply online at 


All along the Trail, Sunil will be joined by other hikers from local villages and organizations.   Sunil and his team of hikers will follow the road map dotted with population, trees and schools.   The walk will start on December 14, 2013 from Tadoba Tiger Reserve  and end in Thane, Mumbai on February 14, 2013.  The 60 day trail will  cover  Tadoba – Chandrapur – Varora – Nagpur – Vardha – Amravati – Akole – Dhule – Jalgaon - Malegaon – Nashik – Igatpuri – Thane – Mumbai. Approximate walk per day will be 22km.  

Here are some pictures of the picturesque terrain

Tiger in Tadoba- Photo by Shalik Jogwe

Chatak Nature Conservation Society, Jalagaon

Cyclists in Nashik

Igatpuri receives  the highest rainfall in Maharashtra
 

The Vision?

The Trail from Highlands to Ocean is both a recognition of the existence and co existence of  wild nature in the world’s most densely populated country, and a living demonstration of the tradition of padayatras  or pilgrimages,  that have occurred for millennia across land- and- seascapes all over the world.  It is a statement that a new, respectful relationship can be created between wild nature and human society…one person, one community, one village, one state at a time.  
 
The walkers will be welcomed at a prearranged location at each of the halt stations by the advance  party who accompany the trekkers on vehicle/bicycles.  At these locations there will be film screenings, slide show talks and a tree plantation function.  
Leading the trail is Sunil Joshi.   Sunil is a trekker, mountaineer & walker.  Many know Sunil as the CEO of “Great Outdoors”, which manufactures equipments for outdoor sports.    Behind this successful businessman is the passion for adventure and  trekking which over the years has matured into a  quest to spread the understanding about the interconnectedness of all life.    Never before has the need been more urgent.   Besides organising courses and camps on  adventure sports since 1979, he has also been liaison officer  for European trekking organisations in the Himalayas.   Sunil  has  the experience of walking approx. 2560 kilometers in Norway , from North Cape (Northern tip of Norway ) to Lindesnes (Southern tip of Norway ) in 84 days.   

Sunil Joshi at Lindesnes

We hope many IWC members will join the "TigerCyclowalk"

Events

Events in October 2013

Bird-watching in Okhla Bird Sanctuary 13th October, Sunday 

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a small but unique sanctuary for its rich avi-faunal diversity and one among the fifteen bird sanctuaries in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located on the river Yamuna includes adjacent wetlands and small deltaic islands sandwiched between Delhi Metro and Noida city in the heart of NCT-Delhi. Only 4 sq. km area was notified and declared as Okhla Bird Sanctuary in the year 1990. This mini bird sanctuary is a habitat of more than 320 bird species recorded till date. 

There will be special efforts put towards making every participant to identify common birds at least this is done keeping in mind the Annual Waterfowl Census.

About 50% of the birds here are residents and the rainy season attracts a lot of interesting birds like Pelicans from neighbouring areas. Lets do a bird walk in Okhla on 13th Sunday.

Venue - Okhla Bird Sanctuary, 
Date –13th October 2013
Time - 7.00 – 10.30am
Meeting point - at the gate of OBS from NOIDA side. 
Meeting time between 6.45. to 7am
Walk from 7-10.30am
Refreshments at 10.30am

Come with a small note book and pen, binoculars to make a list of birds seen. We will have spotting-scopes and a few binoculars with us in case if you don’t have one you are welcome to use these common shared resources.

Registration fee for Indian nationals Rs500/- (includes entry fee, resource person and refreshments, the vehicle should be parked outside. The vehicle entry fee & foreign nationals’ entry fee are not in the reg. fee.) 

Registration either through SMS or Email to isajeev@yahoo.com
Contact number 9899155856 the last date for registration is 12th afternoon.

Photography Work Shop, Chennai

Jayanth Sharma  will be mentoring a weekend workshop in Chennai on 19-20 October. 

"Friends from Chennai and around, will be grateful if you can let your contacts know about this. Will be helpful to us filling the last 5-6 seats and also helping interested folks who might be unaware of this.

http://www.toehold.in/photography-workshop-chennai.php

Also - my colleagues will be mentoring similar batches in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad in the coming weeks. "

Have a look: http://www.toehold.in/workshops.php


Register in October for future events
November

The Gerry Martin Project is starting it’s first Research and conservation Field Station on a beautiful plot of forested land, located in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, just a stone throw from the Tilari Dam. We are planning to start our surveys of wildlife and vegetation in November and in true TGMP fashion, we’re opening our doors to like-minded and interested folks. This gets us manpower and resources while you get the experience, learning and skill building opportunities and incredible photo ops!

This survey expedition will run from the 1st to the 5th of November 2013. You will need to be at Mapusa, Goa on the morning of the 1st and we will drop you back there in the early afternoon on the 5th.

We’d like to make it clear that this is a non-luxury trip. At the field site, we will be living off the land apart from basic food supplies and be staying in tents. We’ll prepare our own food and run the camp ourselves. Our only criteria is that you have a positive attitude, be healthy and share our passion for conservation and the outdoors.

There are limited spaces on the trip so contact gerry@gerrymartin.in to book your spot as soon as possible!

November
Hi friends ,
We have few slots opened up for the bird count in Pakke. Pl let us know if you or any of your friends are interested in joining. Kindly also note that the date falls on a Diwali Day. Interested? mail me at itnatureclub@gmail.com

You can check on more details about the count at 
http://www.itnatureclub.in/birdcountinpakke

December
Bird-watching for the beginners in Okhla Bird Sanctuary   December 2013

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a small but unique sanctuary for its rich avi-faunal diversity and one among the fifteen bird sanctuaries in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located on the river Yamuna includes adjacent wetlands and small deltaic islands sandwiched between Delhi Metro and Noida city in the heart of NCT-Delhi. Only 4 sq. km area was notified and declared as Okhla Bird Sanctuary in the year 1990. This mini bird sanctuary is a habitat of more than 320 bird species recorded till date. 

There will be special efforts put towards making every participant to identify common birds at least this is done keeping in mind the Annual Waterfowl Census.

About 50% of the birds here are residents and the rainy season attracts a lot of interesting birds like Pelicans from neighbouring areas. Lets do a bird walk in Okhla on 2nd Wednesday.

Venue - Okhla Bird Sanctuary, 
Date –2nd December 2013
Time - 7.00 – 10.30am
Meeting point - at the gate of OBS from NOIDA side. 
Meeting time between 6.45. to 7am
Walk from 7-10.30am
Refreshments at 10.30am

Come with a small note book and pen, binoculars to make a list of birds seen. We will have spotting-scopes and a few binoculars with us in case if you don’t have one you are welcome to use these common shared resources.

Registration fee for Indian nationals Rs500/- (includes entry fee, resource person and refreshments, the vehicle should be parked outside. The vehicle entry fee & foreign nationals’ entry fee are not in the reg. fee.) 

Registration either through SMS or Email to isajeev@yahoo.com
Contact number 9899155856 the last date for registration is 1st afternoon.

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