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Bharat Mala: Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new ambitious project of building a 5,000 km road network feasible?

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

After ‘Make in India,’ India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come up with another ‘ambitious’ project – Bharat Mala – that will supposedly link the entire Himalayan states.

But, not to forget, he wants to do this in five years with an estimated budget of Rs 14,000 crore, as per the report of The Economic Times. This is going to be a road network that will garland India’s territory. Hence, the name Bharat Mala.

It is said that this project will link the untouched areas in the backblocks to push development and economic activities. Bharat Mala will pass along all bordering countries – Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Bhutan – also tracking the vast coastline.

A ministry official said, “Already we have good road network in these stretches. We will build the missing links and also extend the network where no road exists at present. These will provide connectivity to the huge number of ports, which will be part of the ‘Sagar Mala’ project. Once completed, these will provide seamless connectivity along the borders, which is crucial for strategic reasons.”

Starting from Gujarat and Rajasthan, the project will exceed towards Punjab covering Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand , and will touch the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alongside Terai. Then, it will ascend towards Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and will finish in Mizoram.

However, as per the industry estimates, it requires minimum Rs 10 crore to build just one kilometer of highway in India. If that estimate is taken in mind, then the construction of 5,300 kilometers of Bharat Mala will cost the government whopping Rs 53,000 crore.

In addition, there is hardly any chance that the route will see any heavy traffic, which means that even the private companies won’t find it profitable to invest in.

However, if those statistics are to be believed, it seems like Modi’s dream of connecting Gujarat to Mizoram is way too ambitious.

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India: Asiatic Lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests to Have Radio Collars Fitted Around their Necks

A radio collar is a wide band of machine-belting fitted with a small radio transmitter and battery

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Asiatic Lions, Gujarat, Gir Forests
Since June 11 up to now more than 25 representative lions of as many prides have been fitted with radio collar devices imported from Germany. Pixabay

The rare Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests and surrounding regions will have radio collars fitted around their necks this month, similar to the lions of the African savannah and the Serengeti.

According to Chief Conservator of Forests in Junagadh D.T. Vasavada, since June 11 up to now more than 25 representative lions of as many prides have been fitted with radio collar devices imported from Germany.

A radio collar is a wide band of machine-belting fitted with a small radio transmitter and battery. The transmitter emits a signal at a specific frequency that can be tracked from up to five kilometres away.

When trying to locate a particular collared lion, the researcher dials the appropriate frequency and drives while listening for the beep signal. A directional antenna is mounted on top of the vehicle, and once the signal is detected, the researcher simply drives in the direction where the signal is loudest.

Asiatic Lions, Gujarat, Gir Forests
The rare Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests and surrounding regions will have radio collars fitted around their necks this month. PIxabay

“This will help the forest department in monitoring of the group’s movement, research, knowing the territory of the animal and other details. From Sasan, a high tech monitoring unit will monitor their activities. A total of 75 radio collars have been imported from Germany for the purpose,” he added.

Vasavada said as all the members of a pride of lions normally remain within a distance of around half to one kilometer of one another, the location of the representative beast would in fact give the location of an entire pride.

Representatives of the entire lion landscape in and around Gir in Saurashtra region of Gujarat spread in the five districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Botad would be radio collared in around a month’s time.

According to the last lion census of 2015, there were 523 male, female and lion cubs in the Gujarat forests.

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During floods and other calamities and spread of diseases, the radio collars would be a big help for forest teams. The radio collars would also be helpful in letting the lion trackers know if any group of lions was close to the railway tracks or roads. (IANS)