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Kanha tiger reserve becomes first in India get official mascot

Kanha in Madhya Pradesh became first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot named Bhoorsingh the Barasingha, to create a better connect with its visitors, especially the younger generation.

The mascot Bhoorsingh will soon feature in more artwork, posters and merchandise for the park management at Kanha.

Key Facts

  • The mascot aims to present the hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha) as the spirit of the reserve and spread awareness to save it from possible extinction.
  • It will also create a unique identity for Kanha, and also spread awareness and allow the younger generation to connect with all wildlife.
  • The mascot has been designed by cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty, who runs a popular website greenhumour.com which showcases over 350 cartoons, comics and illustrations on wildlife and nature conservation, environment, sustainability etc.

About Barasingha

  • Barasingha, or swamp deer is a deer species distributed in the Indian subcontinent. It is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Kanha tiger reserve, spread over Mandla and Balaghat districts (in Madhya Pradesh) is the only place in the world where the Barasingha species exists.
  • Barasingha differs from all the Indian deer species such that its antlers carry more than three tines. Because of this distinctive character it is designated barasingha, meaning “twelve-tined.
  • It has been listed vulnerable in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.

About Kanha Tiger Reserve

  • It is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh. Its present-day Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar.
  • Kanha National Park was created in June 1955 and was made the Kanha Tiger Reserve in 1973. Today it stretches over an area of 940 square km in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat.
  • It the largest National Park in Central India and was ranked in the top 10 Famous Places for Tourists. It had inspired Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel Jungle Book.
  • The park has a significant population of Bengal tiger, Indian leopards, sloth bear, barasingha and Indian wild dog.

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SC bans sale, registration of BS-III vehicles

The Supreme Court has banned the sale and registration of Bharat Stage (BS)-III emission norm-compliant vehicles from April 1, 2017, when environmentally friendly BS-IV emission norms will come into force across the country.

The order came after all vehicle manufacturers including their association -Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) approached SC to stop the ban till existing stock is sold.

SC Order
  • The SC bench held that health of the citizen is more important than the commercial interests of the automobile industry.
  • All the vehicle registering authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 are prohibited from registering such vehicles on and from April 1, 2017 that do not meet BS-IV emission standards.
  • Vehicles that have already been sold on or before March 31, 2017 will be not included in this ban. From 1 April 2017, BS-IV fuel emission standards will kick in and all new vehicles have to comply it. 
What are manufacturers saying?

Vehicle manufacturers have argued that they were entitled to make BS-III vehicles till March 31, 2017. So, the sale and registration of these vehicles should not be prohibited after April 1, 2017 with the introduction of BS-IV norms. They should further be given a reasonable time to dispose of their existing stock which is as about 820,000 vehicles (worth Rs 12,000-crore) most of them two-wheelers. Government also has favoured the prospect of selling the existent stock of BS-III vehicles, as it done twice before when fuel emission norms were upgraded to BS-II and BS-III, respectively.

Issue

Many vehicles including heavy commercial vehicles with BS-III built engines, employ a mechanical fuel pump and used fuel less efficiently. It negatively influences environment by subsequent emissions of nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

How BS-IV engines cut emissions?
  • Passenger vehicles compliant with Bharat Stage-III emission norms vary widely from their Bharat Stage-IV compliant engines, depending on the size of the car and whether they are petrol or diesel versions.
  • BS-IV compliant engines differ in the electronics, sensor system, and its ability to process low-sulphur fuel and their “after-exhaust” system that determines emissions.
  • BS-IV engines also require that the sulphur content of the fuel they use be less than 50 part per million (ppm) whereas BS-III ones can run on 350 ppm fuel.
  • The transition from BS-III to BS-IV will lead to substantial reductions in particulate matter emissions. For instance, from new trucks, the emissions dip by 80% and from cars by 50%.
  • Similarly, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions can also drop between 41 and 80%, depending on the engine sizes.

Note: India also has set a deadline of 2020 to switch to BS-VI norms, by skipping stage V. This huge leap towards cleaner and environment friendly fuel, will include technology upgrade, making vehicles costly.

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Uttarakhand High Court orders completed ban of mining in state

The Uttarakhand High Court has ordered a complete ban on all mining activities in the state for four months.

The court gave this order while hearing on Public Interest Litigation (PIL). It comes after a forest guard was allegedly killed by illegal miners near Corbett National Park when he had tried to stop them.

Key Facts
  • The HC bench ordered the state government to constitute a high-powered committee to look into various aspects of mining activities and find out whether mining activity should be permitted in the state at all.
  • The committee will also prepare a 50-year blueprint taking into consideration environment limits vis-a-vis mining operations and submit an interim report within four month.
  • It will also assess the damage caused to the rivers, springs, rivulets and environment and ecology of Uttrakahnd by mining and determine compensation payable to the persons affected by mining activities.
  • It will identify places to be earmarked for safe mining so that there would be no loss of revenue to the government and requirements of people can also meet at the same time.
  • Till the committee submits its report, there shall be a complete ban on mining activities, including in forest areas, rivers, rivulets and streams.
  • The HC held that Shivalik region of the Himalayas is further getting fragile by mining activities. Mining activities needs to be regulated by the state to ensure that no illegal mining is carried out.
  • It directed state government not to grant any fresh licence/mining lease/prospecting licence, in any form till the final report is furnished by the high powered committee to this court.

Comment

The HC order will stop mining in interstate rivers such as Ganga, Yamuna and also nearly 100 seasonal rivers and rivulets on foothills of the state, apart from forest areas.

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