15 Gharials to be released in Beas belt in Punjab to boost tourism

Punjab government has announced to release 15 Gharials in the Beas belt, near Harike Patan in order boost tourism.

The Gharials species will be released as part of state government’s plan to make Beas belt, a natural habitat of the fish-eating crocodile species.

The release of Gharials has been planned in February-March 2015 near Karmowal village (near Harike Patan water bodies) by the Experts from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN).

Karmowal village has ample water bodies with sand banks making it suitable site for developing as habitat for the species. Gharials will be released depending upon the success of the initial phase of making natural habitat and after the release they will be kept under close watch.

About Gharial

  • Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is also known as the gavial.  It is last surviving species of the family Gavialidae.
  • It is a fish-eating crocodile and belongs to one of the three crocodilian species found in the Indian Sub-Continent.
  • In historic times it was present in Indus River system, including Beas and Sutlej rivers, indicating healthy river system.
  • Protection Status: It is listed in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also listed as Critically Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.


World Bank approves $650 million loan for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor

World Bank has approved an additional loan of 650 million dollars for India’s Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project.

It was approved in third round of World Bank funding and follows earlier two other loans by the bank for this project.

This loan will fund

  • To build 401 km Ludhiana-Khurja section that falls in three North Western states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.
  • To develop and enhance the institutional capacity of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) and to build and maintain the DFC infrastructure network.

Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project

  • DFC Project aims at the faster delivery of goods between the northern and eastern parts of the country.
  • The project will further help to increase the capacity of freight-only lines. It will raise the axle-load limit from existing 22.9 tonnes to 25 tonnes.
  • The speeds of freight carriers will be further boosted up to 100 km/hr due to dedicated freight lines.
  • Apart from faster delivery of goods, this project is also going to help to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions caused by road transportation in this region.


Satnam Singh Bhamara becomes first Indian to be drafted by a NBA team

Satnam Singh Bhamara became the first Indian born basketball player to be drafted in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

He was chosen by the Dallas Mavericks team as the 52nd pick in the NBA Draft. He was selected amongst the 60 young men who will play in the next season of NBA.

About Satnam Singh Bhamara

  • Born: 10 December 1995.
  • The 19-year-old Satnam hails from a small village Ballo Ke in Barnala district of Punjab. He stands 7 feet 2 inches tall and comes from a farmer’s family.
  • Prior to this selection he was going training at IMG Academy at Florida, US and was coached by Scott Fleming. He had played for the IMG Academy graduate team during the season 2014–15.
  • He was undergoing training in the US since September 2010 as part of a scholarship program between IMG and Reliance.
  • Earlier in 2011, Singh had represented the India national basketball team at the FIBA Asia Championship. He also had represented India at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

It should be noted that Canada born Sim Bhullar was the first Indian origin player to play in NBA. He had briefly featured for the Sacremento Kings in the 2014 season of NBA.