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Minority appeasement: Gujarat to provide funds for soft-loans

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Minorities can now breathe a sigh of relief as Gujarat sketches plans to provide funds to the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) for making available soft loans, state government officials said on Friday.

During a review meeting of minority welfare programmes of the western region, union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla assured the release of funds to NMDFC that works for economic upliftment among backward section of minorities.

Speaking at the occasion, Heptullah expressed her concern about the protection of Parsis (a religious community) and their properties in Gujarat and Daman and Diu.

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The meeting was also attended by Minority Welfare Ministers of Maharashtra and Rajasthan– Eknathrao G. Khader and Arun Chaturvedi.

Among others present at the review meet were senior officers from states and union territories of western region: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep.

The officials raised the issue of protection of Wakf lands from encroachments while interacting with Heptulla, Union Minority Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Heptulla has also been advised by the additional chief secretary of the Madhya Pradesh government to raise the number of scholarships, funds for maintenance of projects under Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) and implementation of Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTAAD) scheme.

(With inputs from IANS)

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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)