Citizens' Issues
Over 2,000 visiting Pakistani nationals overstaying in Nagpur

As many as 9,705 Pakistani nationals had obtained visa for visiting Nagpur from the authorities, but bout 2,013 of them did not return to their country and are overstaying in the city

Nagpur: Over 2,000 Pakistani nationals are overstaying since 1995 in Nagpur in western Indian state of Maharashtra despite the expiry of their visitor’s visa, a Right to Information (RTI) query has found, reports PTI.


As many as 9,705 Pakistani nationals had obtained visa for visiting Nagpur from the authorities for 30, 45, 60 and 90 days. "About 2,546 Pakistan citizens came on visa for longer duration and 533 of them were provided with Indian citizenship," it said.


But about 2013 Pakistani nationals did not return to their country and were overstaying here, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch), which deals with such cases.


National Right 2 Information Committee, a local NGO, had sought information under RTI on number of Pakistani nationals visiting Nagpur between 1980-1994 and 1995 onwards.


Police admitted they have no information on names and contact addresses of Pakistanis staying here till 1994. Also, police have informed this to Committee President Ejaz Khan and General Secretary Uteresh Wasnik. However, details from 1995 onwards were available.


The NGO has also sought information under RTI from Ministry of External Affairs and Home Ministry on number of Pakistanis visiting India since 1960.


The Ministry of External Affairs in a communication to Janardan Singh, First Secretary (Press and Information) High Commission of India, Islamabad (Pakistan) and Vumlunmang, Joint Secretary and Nodal Officer (RTI) in Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi has sought necessary information on Pakistanis visiting India since 1960.


Retail inflation eases marginally to 9.86% in July

Vegetable prices recorded the maximum rise, up 27.33%, followed by edible oils - 17.37% and pulses and its products - 12.49% in July 2012, year-on-year basis

New Delhi: Retail inflation declined marginally to 9.86% in July 2012 due to lower prices of spices, cereals and its products although prices of vegetables remained high during the month, reports PTI.


Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the inflation for June 2012 was revised downwards to 9.93% from the provisional estimate of 10.02%, as per the government data release.


Vegetable prices recorded the maximum rise, up 27.33%, followed by edible oils - 17.37% and pulses and its products - 12.49% in July 2012, year-on-year basis.


Prices of egg, fish and meat shot up 11.11%, while non-alcoholic beverages became costlier 9.26%.


Among other items, prices of cereal and its products saw a rise of 6.45% over the July 2011 level.


While sugar saw a rise of 9.06% in July 2012, prices of food and beverages, clothing, bedding and footwear segments remained in the double-digit.


Inflation rates for rural and urban areas were 9.76% and 10.10% respectively in July 2012.


According to the revised data, the inflation rates for rural and urban areas were 9.65% and 10.44% in June.


The All-India CPI is in addition to the three retail price indices—for agricultural labourers, rural labourers and industrial workers—prepared by the ministry of labour.


The headline Inflation as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) had also declined to 6.87% in July 2012 as the rate of price rise of the food articles category eased a little, although pressure remained on potato, pulses and rice as well as manufactured items.


The WPI inflation was 7.25% in June 2012.


Environment Ministry scuttling Gadgil panel report on Western Ghats?

The Gadgil panel had proposed not to convert public land into private land while identifying several eco-sensitive zones in the region that should be declared no-go areas. Several state governments are opposing these recommendations

New Delhi: The environment ministry has constituted a high-level working group headed by eminent space scientist and Planning Commission member K Kasturirangan to examine the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report “in a holistic and multi-disciplinary fashion”, reports PTI. However, many environmentalists are of the view that this is nothing but the ministry’s method to scuttle the report submitted by the Madhav Gadgil panel.


The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by National Advisory Council (NAC) member and ecologist Madhav Gadgil, has in its report proposed that public land should not be converted in private land. “For all settlements and built areas, certain types of areas would be no-go areas, including water courses, water bodies, special habitats, geological formations, bio-diversity rich areas and sacred groves.” 


The nine-member group, appointed by the ministry will now examine the Madhav Gadgil committee report released recently “in a holistic and multidisciplinary fashion keeping in view the comments received from the concerned state governments, central ministries, stakeholders”, the ministry said.


The Gadgil panel had identified several eco-sensitive zones in the region and recommended that they should be declared no-go areas. Among its recommendations, the panel has also called for scrapping of Karnataka’s Gundia and Kerala’s Athirapally hydro-projects, and gradual phasing out of mining activities in ecologically highly-sensitive areas of Goa by 2016. It has also suggested setting up of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA), as a statutory authority appointed by the ministry of environment and forests, with the powers under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The 24-member body is to have ecologists, scientists, representatives of civil society, as well as tribal groups, officials from the Union environment ministry, Planning Commission, National Biodiversity Authority, Central Pollution Control Board, and representatives of the state government as its members.


Both the Karnataka and Kerala governments have been opposed to the recommendation to scrap the hydro-projects in their respective regions. The Karnataka government had also been opposing the World Heritage tag citing regulatory hurdles in the development of places falling under these regions. Goa’s lackadaisical attitude in conserving the Western Ghats has resulted in the state not getting any site in the list of 39. The Maharashtra government has welcomed the World Heritage status to Western Ghats, but that is unlikely to change the state’s present stance of not imposing a complete ban on mining and industries, except in the core areas. The state nevertheless is encouraging green fuel movement in the villages of Western Ghats by way of up to 75% subsidy on bio-gas and 50% subsidy on shift to low yielding cattle, which rely on domestic fodder instead of open grazing.


The new panel will also examine “other related important aspects such as preservation of precious biodiversity, needs and aspirations of the local and indigenous people, sustainable development and environmental integrity of the region, climate change and constitutional implications of centre-state relations,” the environment ministry said.


Prof CR Babu (Delhi University), JM Mauskar (ex-special secretary, MoEF), Prof Kanchan Chopra (ex-director, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi), Jagadish Kishwan (additional director general of forests-wildlife), Darshan Shankar (chairman, Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bangalore), Sunita Narain (director, Centre for Science and Environment, PS Roy (Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun and Ajay Tyagi (Joint Secretary, MoEF) are the members of the committee. Indrani Chandrasekhran, (advisor, environment and forests, Planning Commission) will be the special invitee.


The Kasturirangan-headed panel will also study the implications of Centre-state relations with respect to conservation and sustainable development of Western Ghats.


Western Ghats are an important geological landform of peninsular India. It is the origin of Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri and a myriad of rivers which are life line for the people of southern India.


On its ecological health depends livelihoods of millions of people belonging to the six Western Ghats states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.


Western Ghats is also one of the identified hotspots of biological diversity globally and is a treasure trove of biological diversity. It harbours many endemic species of flowering plants, endemic fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.


The Gadgil panel report had termed Western Ghats as extremely ecologically sensitive region and favoured restricted mining and other development activities, which was opposed by several state governments.


UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed the Western Ghats of India as a world heritage site on 1st July. Altogether 39 sites that dot the Western Ghats landscape will be part of the region that has been designated as WHS. Kerala leads with 20 sites being inscribed in the heritage list followed by Karnataka with 10, Tamil Nadu five and Maharashtra four.


Older than the Himalayas, the Western Ghats are the treasure trove of bio-diversity. In fact they are recognized as one of the eight global hot-spots harbouring a wealth of flora and fauna. The Western Ghats which begin at the Dangs in Gujarat runs through the western parts of Maharashtra, the tiny state of Goa, the Malnad region of Karnataka and the highlands of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, before ending near Kanyakumari.


The Ghats are currently known to have more than 5,000 plant and 140 mammal species, 16 of which are endemic, i.e. species found in that area alone. Notably among these being the lion-tailed macaque and the Nilgiri tahr. Out of the 179 species of amphibians found in the Western Ghats, 138 are endemic to the region. It has 508 bird species, 16 of which are endemic, including the Nilgiri flycatcher and the Malabar parakeet.


The Western Ghats are considered an ecologically sensitive region with nearly 52 species moving one step closer to extinction. Habitat change, over-exploitation, pollution and climate change are the principle pressures causing bio-diversity loss.



nagesh kini

5 years ago

The MoE&F is only dragging its feet in trying to appease the opposing state governments. There is absolutely no need to blow up money on this high profile panel to 'holistically' re-examine the report.
Before more damage takes place and then it is too late, each and every recommendation has got to be implemented in toto.
these committees will spend money and hours in writing minutes.

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