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NANDANKANAN: The Celestial Garden for Wildlife

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Everybody contemplates as human beings are the best creations by the almighty. But besides them, it is the varied wildlife creatures and their panoramic views across the length and breadth of the world are definitely going to sooth and sensitize the sightseers. The Nandankanan, literally meaning The Garden of Heaven near the outskirt of Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha in the environs of the Chandaka forest, and includes the 134-acre (54 ha) Kanjia lake brings godly pleasure to its viewers. Established in 1960, it was opened to the public in 1979 and became the first zoo in India to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. It also contains a botanical garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. A major upgrade was done in 2000 (after the damage caused by the super-cyclone of 1999 in coastal Odisha). More than 3.3 million visitors visit Nandankanan every year

History

Forest officials decided in 1960 that including rare plants and animals in the Odisha pavilion at the World Agricultural Fair in Delhi would help increase attendance. The message was sent to the forest department to capture as many small animals as possible for the display. In all, the forest department managed to capture two spotted deer (Axis axis), two barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), two blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), one mouse deer, one leopard cat, one flying squirrel, one racket-tailed drongo, one hornbill, two parrots, two hill mynah, one peacock, and a mongoose. In addition, the divisional forest officer of Deogarh captured a pangolin (scaly ant-eater) and two porcupines, and the divisional forest officer of Puri captured a pair of wild boars and a Python. All of these animals were delivered to the Delhi fair and exhibited at the Odisha pavilion.

The State Finance Department raised objections to a zoo in Odisha because of the cost of both establishing and maintaining the facility. While the issue was being debated, animals arrived back at Bhubaneswar in May 1960, posing problems to the forest department for housing and feeding them. P. Mohandra (Divisional Forest Officer, Puri) and G. K. Das (Divisional Forest Officer, Deogarh) built temporary structures at Khandagiri for the animals, and the community of Jain helped feed them. Discussions about a real zoo started soon after Dr. H. K. Mahatab, then Chief Minister of Odisha visited the animals.

The initial proposal placed the zoo at Ghatikia close to Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves. However, this was deemed to pose water problems in the future. A zoo needs a lot of water to meet the need of animals, cleaning of animals sheds and for various other purposes. The then Range Officer, Chandaka suggested Jujhagarh forest block on Kanjia lake near Barang Railway station as the most ideal location. The then Chief Conservator of Forests, Divisional Forest Officer, Puri, Range Officer, Chandaka and D.P. Ghosh, Forest Ranger visited the place and were impressed with its scenic beauty. Kanjia lake with its vast expanse over 125 acres low and undulating hills of Jujhagarh and Krushnanagar with lush green vegetation on both sides of the lake presented a picturesque site. Jujhagarh Forest Block had all the advantages for locating the zoo except communication from Bhubaneswar and the only approach was via Chandaka covering a distance of 38 km.

A committee consisting of Dr. Radhanath Rath, Sri G.C. Dash, and Sri D.N. Choudhury, the then Minister of Forests, Secretary, Forest and the Chief Conservator of Forests respectively visited the place. They were very much impressed with its aesthetic beauty and recommended the location of the zoo there with construction of a straight road (a distance of 14 to 15 km) from Bhubaneswar.

Accordingly, it was decided to locate the Zoological Park in Jujhagarh Forest Block, Botanical garden in Krushnanagar Forest Block and develop Kanjia lake for Boating and Angling. The Director, Fisheries agreed to develop a portion of the lake for rearing various kinds of fish for visitors to see. Initially, it was decided to keep spotted deer, barking deer, black bucks, wild boars, sambars, nilgai, and bears in spacious enclosures. Other animals like the leopard cat, mongoose, flying squirrel, porcupine, python, monkeys, hyena, jackal, civet cat, pangolin, jungle cat, parrots, mynah and other birds in suitable cages. It was decided to put efforts to capture tigers and leopards which could be exhibited in suitable cages for the time being and the suitable spacious enclosures would be built for them later on. It was also decided to raise a good flower garden and to plant important species and medicinal plants of Odisha inside proposed Botanical garden in Krushnanagar. Eventually, the site around the 134-acre (54 ha) Kanjia Lake was chosen. The lake would be developed for recreation as well. A 15-kilometer (9.3 mi) road was built to the site, and Nandankanan Biological Park was officially inaugurated on 29 December 1960, by Sri S. K. Patil, then Indian Minister of Food and Agriculture.

A botanical garden was opened in 1963. The first tiger arrived at the zoo in 1964 from the Alipore Zoo in Calcutta, along with a pair of African lions, a pair of Mugger crocodiles, and a puma. The facility was renamed Nandankanan Zoological Park in 1981.

In 2009 Nandankanan Zoological Park became the first zoo in India to  be registered member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)

Special Attractions –

The sylvan setup of the Park provides many special features which attract the visitors in large numbers.

Boating

Boating on the paddle or rowboats in the blue water of Kanjia lake is an exhilarating experience. The multi-storey Boat Ghat is renovated to give new looks providing enough space for the visitors to relax and enjoy the picturesque freshwater spreading over an area of more than 66 ha. lake. The boating service is outsourced for better management and satisfaction of the visitors. The lake is also known for its rich floral and faunal diversity and is declared as a Wetland of National Importance by Govt. of India.

White Tiger Safari

A unique white tiger safari established on 1st October 1991 over an area of 12 ha in natural surroundings. It provides exposes you to a unique situation where the visitors are confined in a vehicle and the animals roam in the open jungle. Nandankanan is the first zoo in India with a white tiger safari.

Lion Safari

A twenty-minute drive through the meandering roads crisscrossing the natural forest in a specially protected vehicle takes the visitors straight into a pride of lions in the lion safari over an area of 20 ha established in the year 1984.

Herbivore Safari

Herbivore safari was established in the year 2011 extending over an area of 21 ha. with a road network of 2 Km. length. The safari houses Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambars, Four-horned antelope, wild boar, jungle fowls, peafowls, etc.

Bear Safari

A Bear safari covering an area over 5 ha. has been established in the zoo during the year 2012. Visitors can avail the opportunity to sight sloth bears in their natural habitat through safari bus service.

Reptile Park

A reptile park, with a life-size Tyrannosaurus at its entrance with an interpretation center, houses 27 species of reptiles including crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and snakes. One would encounter crocodiles, king cobras and a huge Reticulated Python inside the reptile park.

Amphibian Enclosure

An amphibian enclosure has been established with viewers’ gallery over a plinth area of 56 m2. Necessary behavioral enrichments like flowing water saw dust, live plants, water pool, etc. have been provided within the enclosure. The enclosure is designed to house and display amphibian species. Nandankanan is the first premier large zoo to exhibit amphibians. At present, there are 21 numbers of amphibians belonging to six species.

Open Top Leopard Enclosure

The new open-top Leopard enclosure in Nandankanan is one among the very few in the country which attempts to exhibit this species in a large naturalistic enclosure which is open to the sky. This enclosure has been designed aesthetically to maximize visitor satisfaction without compromising the safety and security of the animal as well as visitors. The enclosure which has an exhibit area with a deep dry moat also has four feeding chambers and two back kraals. The entire enclosure has existing natural vegetation including two large Ficus bengalensis trees together with other trees and bushes. In addition, environmental enrichment by way of machan platforms, stone cave, wooden logs, water trough, etc. has been provided to encourage them to indulge in natural activities.

Toy Train

The toy train has been a great attraction for the children. Its starts from the toy train station which goes around a circular track of 1.58 Km. along the lake and thickly vegetated hillock area with free-ranging herbivores. The entire facility is now under renovation.

Aquarium

The aquarium is an integral component of a modern zoo. Adequate steps were taken to include well-researched education materials on the various aquatic ecosystems both marine and freshwater indicating their uniqueness and conservation needs. The aquarium was dedicated to the visitors on 4th February 2008 by the Honourable Chief Minister, Odisha.

Battery Operated Vehicle

To facilitate elderly and physically challenged visitors in particular and tourists in general, Battery Operated Vehicles (BOVs) are available for tourists for an hourly trip around the zoo on payment of Rs.50/- per head and Rs 750/-and Rs 500/-per trip of large and small BOVs respectively.

Library

If one has got the time and an aptitude for learning then the centrally located library, with a wonderful collection of more than 3000 books and journals on wildlife, veterinary and other matters can serve one’s satisfaction.

 Nocturnal Animal House

Many animals that only move freely at night but are almost immobile and hide in the thicket or in their burrows during the day are housed here. The twilight condition is created in these enclosures to provide an opportunity for the visitors to know what these animals secretively do in the darkness of the night.

Reptile Interpretation Centre

An Interpretation Centre depicting the evolution and biology of reptiles has been established in the entrance of Reptile Park displaying models of prehistoric animals.

Interpretation Centre

The Interpretation Centre has been established near the entrance gate. The Centre has display boards, models and audiovisual aids depicting the importance of Zoological Park and other important wildlife areas of Odisha. It also displays the activities behind the scenes for creating awareness amongst the visitors. A film on Nandankanan is also screened in the mini-auditorium inside the Centre.

Zoo-Museum

The zoo museum established in Nandankanan to preserve, display and interpret the animal specimens of zoological importance for public viewing and nature education. The museum displays taxidermy specimens, formalin preserved specimens of early developmental stages of animals and eggs of flightless birds. This facility will be of great interest to the visitors in general and school children in particular.

Electronic Gate Entrance System

An automated electronic entry gate system has been installed in the Zoological Park on 30.03.2012. Each visitor is issued with a bar-coded ticket for entering through any of the six electronic gates into the park. This gives an exact figure of adult, children and foreigner visitor entry statistics at any point in time. This facility is the first of its kind for entry into any tourist place in Odisha.

Walkthrough Aviary

The walk-through aviary for exotic birds is a unique exhibit of its kind in the country. The walkthrough aviary has a cascading waterfall and a meandering water channel of 58 m length connecting two pools having two arched crosses over the bridge along the 216 m laterite stone paved the walking path with separate entry and exit points. In addition to the existing large and small trees, hundreds of selective plants have been planted to provide perches and hiding places for the birds housed. There are enough feeding points and nest boxes for use of the birds selectively. The inmates of the aviary are mixture of arboreal, terrestrial and aquatic birds. It is a visitor’s delight to view the free-flying birds overhead.

The Safari Sojourn

The major attraction for the tourists is the beautiful and bucolic safaris consist of sloth bears, deers, tigers, and lucrative lions. The specially protected bus will board the tourists for an enthralling, exciting and apprehending journey starting with deer safari and concluding at lion safari. Visitors throughout their journey not only bemused by the panoramic beauty of wildlife animals but by their out of the ordinary cameos. In this context, it reminds me of an incident from my last visit. A sloth bear sobriquet as “Diesel “ blocked our road as the bus entered to their den. According to sources it loves the odor of diesel running vehicles. As soon as the buses cross their safari, it comes out of its habitat to take a glimpse of its fans. Besides the bear safari, the hopping peacocks and perky and piquant deers at a striking distance have always attracted the attention of tourists.

The steeled gates of entries and exits create apprehension and excitation among the visitors during our en route to the much-awaited abode of tiger and lion safari. No doubt their gifted morphs are soothing to the eyes but it certainly raises few questions in the minds, do the deadly animals have lost their aggression for some reasons or other?

Nandankanan zoological park was declared as the wildlife sanctuary on 3rd August 1979. It is certainly a place to travel during your leisure’s and vacations. Apart from children, ages of all persons have something to watch and mull over during their visit to the celestial garden. The scintillating and satiating picturesque scenic views of wildlife’s, diversified botanical species and avifauna of wetland alleviates the common man’s pain and provides them something to ponder for the rest of the life.

 

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Sarada Prasanna Pattnaik is based out of Balasore, Odisha. He was earlier a banker and later a faculty at quite a few reputed colleges and institutions. He now teaches civil service aspirants in leading coaching institutes. He is the chief architect of Vidya Group of Educational Institutions. He is an author and a writer in the civil service coaching arena. Writing is his passion and he loves to pen down his thoughts on varied topics ranging from Literature, Politics, Science & Technology, Finance, Sports and Travel.



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Delhi

Followers bid last adieu to Sheila Dikshit at Nigambodh ghat

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The former chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit was today give final adieu at Nigam Bodh Ghat amidst chanting slogans like “Jab Tak Suraj Chand Rahega Shiela Tera Naam Rahega,” by her hundreds of followers and Congress workers from Delhi.

The Congress leader and former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, UPA advisory council chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi,  Ahmed Patel and chief ministers of two Congress-ruled states Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath also paid their last respects to her at Congress party office and later on at Nigam Bodh Ghat crematorium.
The former union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and deputy PM  Lal Krishna Advani reached her Nizammuddin residence at paid their heartfelt tributes.
Late Smt Sheila Dikshit was the tallest leader of Congress party has been a minister in PMO during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure. She reigned Delhi for three consecutive terms as the chief minister implementing tremendous structural development of Delhi from Metro Rail project to several flyovers including successful conduction of Common Wealth Games.
Her dream was to make Delhi one of the best and the most beautiful city in the world.
She was also the president of Delhi Congress twice and of UP once. Late Mrs. Dikshit was considered as the troubleshooter of Congress party who took the reigns of UP and Delhi during the time of crisis and did her best to revive the Congress in both these states.
Born in 1938 Sheila Dikshit was witness to the pre and post-independent India who breathed her last on 20th July after suffering a massive cardiac arrest in a Delhi hospital.
President Ram Nath Kovind, prime minister Narendra Modi, Home minister Amit Shah, Defence minister Rajnath Singh including scores of ministers and political leaders across party and ideological lines were shocked on her untimely demise and extended their heartfelt tributes as  the late leader was extremely soft-spoken, affable and the one who had extremely good relations with even opposition party leaders.
The former chief of Congress party Sonia Gandhi while expressing her tributes to late Sheila Dikshit termed her a highly experienced mass leader who dedicated her entire life for the people of the lowest ebb of the society.
Her passing away has left a huge void difficult to be filled ever added Mrs. Gandhi.
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Three term CM of Delhi Sheila Dikshit dies at 81

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late Smt. Shiela Dikshit, three time Delhi CM
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The three-time chief minister of the national capital territory of Delhi, 81-year-old Sheila Dikshit is no more.
She breathed her last today at Escorts hospital where she was admitted after a deterioration in her health. Her body has been brought to her Nizamuddin residence and would be placed at All India Congress Committee central headquarter tomorrow morning till 2.30 PM before bidding final adieu thus consigning to flames.
Sheila Dikshit was born in 1938 and was also the minister in PMO during the tenure of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. She was the tallest leader of Congress party who was the Delhi Congress president twice and also the president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.
The prime minister Narendra Modi expressed his immense grief over the sad demise at the passing away of Shiela Dikshit terming her the tallest leader and an affable human being. Former president of Congress Rahul Gandhi while expressing his grief over Sheilaji’s sad demise said that the party has lost a daughter of Congress party leaving a huge void difficult to be filled.
The union defence minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, veteran BJP leader Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi and scores of senior leaders across ideological lines expressed their shock over the sad demise of Sheila Dikshit. It may be recalled that the three-time chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit had been immensely instrumental for the revolutionary development of Delhi.
She was in true sense the unstinted leader of the masses who’d dedicated her entire life for the welfare and well being of the society especially for the good of the people of the lowest ebb of the society. Following allegations of corruption, she had lost the Delhi state elections of 2013 after ruling the state for three consecutive terms.

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MMR To Have 13.6 Mn Sqft Of New Mall Space By 2022

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MMR i.e. the Mumbai Metropolitan Region is one of the major retail hubs in India and thus the brands are always keen to acquire space there. According to a report, builders are planning to develop malls in that region as the demand for retail space is increasing by leaps and bounds.

The report by a leading real estate company states that approximately 13.6 mn sqft. of the new mall, space is likely to be developed in the entire MMR by 2022.

Out of this, the Mumbai city will have 82% and Navi Mumbai will have 17% space sharing respectively. The next retail hubs in MMR are Andheri, Bandra, Worli and Borivali as the malls here are likely to be developed between 1 lakh sqft. to 6 lakh sqft.

The average monthly rent in the Mumbai Metropolitan region is nearly Rs. 140 per sqft and the Mall vacancy demand has escalated from 12.60% in 2017 to 16% in 2018. The Mumbai’s high-street shopping experience is likely to get a makeover as the high street market areas like Andheri-Kurla Road, Pali Hills, Bandra West, Kala Ghoda, and Powai are now attracting to mall culture and is clearly seen with the launch of various fine-dining restaurants.

However, the MMR is lagging behind the NCR market where the Mall vacancy stood at 18.2% in 2018 with an average monthly rent of approximately Rs.137/sqft.

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Priyanka Vadra’s arrest reminiscences the Belchi visit of her grand mother

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The arbitrary arrest of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi heading for Sonbhadra yesterday i.e. 19th July to meet the bereaved families and the grievously injured victims of massacre of 12 innocents of Gond community by a landlord village head Yagya Dutt and his goons who came on 32 tractors killing and injuring several poor villagers has created an immense anger, annoyance, disenchantment and furore amongst the Congress leaders and rank and file at the pan India level with hundreds of workers thronging the arrest site in Chunar to express their solidarity with their leader thus helping in reviving and regenerating a new lease of life in a non functional Congress party after the desperate resignation of her brother Rahul Gandhi as Congress chief taking the responsibility of the election debacle on his head.

You may recall that Congress general secretary  Priyanka Gandhi was arrested on 19th July when she was peacefully protesting after having been restricted by the UP administration to meet the injured and the bereaved families of the diabolical Sonbhadra massacre.
Priyanka’s visit reminds me of the similar visit of her grandmother, former prime minister Indira Gandhi to Belchi, Bihar during the Janata Party rule after 1977 when several Dalits were massacred by the higher caste landlords creating quite a ripple and sensation in the national and international media and political circles as well.
Late Mrs Gandhi was then out of power, having lost her own Lok Sabha seat from Rai Bareilly to late Raj Narain, the then health minister in the govt of Janata Party conglomeration.
She had visited Belchi climbing on an elephant to know the welfare and well being of the bereaved family.
Her Belchi visit was so popularised in the media that it, later on, resulted in her coming back to power at the centre defeating badly the conglomeration of the 22 national political outfits called the Janata Party that ruled for merely 22 months and tore apart like the pack of cards.
Priyanka Gandhi’s visit to Sonbhadra seems to repeat the episode of her grand mother’s Belchi, Bihar visit during Janata Party era earning the sympathy of the Dalits and have nots all over the country.
In a democratic country can’t a peace-loving leader of a national party visit the victims of the massacre to know about their well being asked Priyanka Gandhi before her being arrested.
This raises a question that the UP CM Yogi Aditya Nath and the BJP leadership is highly apprehensive of the increasing political popularity and clout of Priyanka Gandhi who seems to be the next leader in the making in Congress Party after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation.
Voices within and outside the Congress have already started emerging in favour of Sonia Gandhi to make her the Congress president.
The way Priyanka sat on the Dharna in protest yesterday while heading for Sonbhadra after having been forbidden to do so on the bare ground with her supporters and arrested later on, reminiscences of her grandmother again when she during the Janata Party rule in 1978 also sat on the road after having been arrested and paraded on foot while late Choudhary Charan Singh was the home minister in Morarji Desai’s tenure as PM while handcuffed.
Mrs Gandhi had thereafter returned to power with a thumping majority, gaining the sympathy of the people nationwide.
Political analysts say that by repeating the same blunder through vindictive politics, the present political dispensation in Uttar Pradesh and at the centre is not only opening the doors for the revival and rejuvenation  of Congress Party at the national level but also giving leverage/ impetus to the anti-opposition forces under Congress party to unite thus able to forge a formidable challenge to it in the future.
The Congressmen and the people see in Priyanka Gandhi a shadow of late Indira Gandhi, a formidable leader of international eminence credited for dividing Pakistan in 1971, creating Bangladesh whom even the former prime minister, the then opposition leader late Atal Bihari Vajpayee publicly accorded the title of Durga Maa.
Meanwhile, Congressmen from all over the country are converging at Varanasi and Sonbhadra to express solidarity with there arrested leader who was holed up in the guest house whole night under arrest.
Rahul Tweeted: The arbitrary arrest of Priyanka Gandhi in Sonbhadra is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power to prevent her from meeting the 10 families of Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own lands reveals the BJP government’s increasing insecurity in UP.
At the same time hopefully, Congress wants to support the bereaved families sincerely and this is not a publicity stunt by them where they want to leverage this unfortunate incident to their advantage. As after the Photo Op and Dharna drama is over Mrs Vadra has gone back to her daily life.
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CM congratulates Negi; nominated for Sangeet Natak Academy award

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Jubilant singer Narendra Singh Negi, his wife Usha Negi with CM Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat
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The chief minister of Uttarakhand in a rare gesture of generosity and kindness personally visited the residence of the legendary singer of Uttarakhand also pronounced as Garh Ratn (precious stone of Uttarakhand) Narendra Singh Negi. The CM conveyed his heartiest greetings to Mr. Negi for being chosen as one of the recipients’ of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy award for folk singing.  Some other dignitaries to have been chosen for this award include eminent singer Malini Awasthi, Sonal Man Singh, veteran classical dancer, Ustad Zakir Hussain, eminent Tabla player, etc.

This coveted award will be delivered to Narendra Singh Negi at Rashtrapati Bhawan by the president of India at a glittering function in the presence of several dignitaries and 44 other recipients for their outstanding contribution in singing, dance, arts, theatre, etc.
Congratulating Negi, Uttarakhand chief minister hailed him as the flag bearer for conserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Uttarakhand. He also stated that this honor to him is an honor to the entire state of Uttarakhand and its people as Narendra Singh Negi’s contribution to Uttarakhand’s folk culture, songs and music is unparalleled.
The chief minister while conveying his regards and best wishes for his long life said that Negi’s lyrics and song carry a significant socio-cultural message and are, therefore, a valuable asset for the hill state.
The Uttarakhand CM has a special soft corner for Mr. Negi as he had helped him get admitted to a private hospital last year and helped saved his life when the latter suffered from a massive cardiac arrest.
It may be recalled that the coveted Sangeet Natak Academy Awards are bestowed on eminent personalities in singing, arts, and culture, theatre and music every year to 44 persons of eminence in the aforesaid fields hailing from the different states of the country.
Negi has so far written and sung thousands of songs in his melodious voice conveying socio-cultural messages thus entertaining the myriad population of Uttarakhand globally.
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Casagrand Developer Launches Casagrand Zenith In South Chennai

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Casagrand, the reputed developers of South India launched Casagrand Zenith at Medavakkam, South Chennai. This is a smart wellness community spread in 7.46 acres of land that offers serene beauty of nature. The project is expected to have 949 modernly-designed apartments to offer international living experience.

The project is registered under Tamil Nadu RERA TN/01/Building/0101/2019 and the possession will be offered to the buyers within 24 months.

Casagrand Zenith is a smart residential project as it comprises of more than 78 different amenities. The green space of more than 75% offers dedicated recreational areas and a vehicle-free zone and allows the elderly people and children to move freely.

Casagrand has metal Casagrand Zenith which is meticulously planned to offer luxurious 2BHK, 3BHK and 4BHK residential units. The smartly-designed outdoor activity area, community engagement, recreational facilities, amphitheaters, reflexology pathway, kids swimming pool, adult swimming pool and organic farming area are some high-end amenities offered at Casagrand Zenith. Apart from this, the terrace is designed to have sky-walk, pergolas and leisure seating do that the residents can enjoy social gatherings.

Further, the wellness amenities such as air pavilion surrounded by air purifying plants, a tree-house for kids, chlorine-free non-chemical swimming pool, Vitamin C shower, air purifier in the master bedroom, oxygen infuser in the clubhouse and gym are the smart living amenities introduced in Casagrand Zenith.

This residential project is situated merely 15 minutes away from Velachery. Casagrand Zenith also has a close proximity to Sholinganalur, Perumbakkam, Selaiyur, Tambaram and OMR. The project is close to various educational establishments, hospitals and entertainment zones.

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Astro

Sai Baba devotees donate in excess of 5 crores on Guru Purnima

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Sai Baba of Shridhi and donated currency
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Shirdi Sai Baba is considered world over as the last walking God on earth. He took salvation in 1919 in Shirdi, a small and modest village in Maharashtra. He was worshipped by over 1.8 lakh devotees on Guru Purnima festival with ardent Sai bhaktas thronging the historic temple in thousands from various parts of India. Some even visited him barefoot and the total donation amounted to INR 5.62 crores.
A “Jatha” of 1500 Sai devotees also arrived in Shirdi from Pune barefooted after having covered the long and arduous distance in several days. Such is the blind faith of ardent Sai devotees.
Sai Baba is considered as a God of miracles. He more than 175 years ago, while still, a child had visited the modest village of Shirdi in a marriage party. He finally settled there in a dilapidated mosque for his entire life. He helped the poor and all the sects irrespective of their caste and religion, he even cured them with His supernatural powers. Thus he always there to rescue the needy.
Sai Baba was considered as a God of miracles. He begged door to door leading a modest life in tatters. He was initially even stoned by naughty children of Shirdi.
It is said that after Baba started living in Shirdi,  his miraculous feats, gradually impressed the local inhabitants of the village. They gradually recognized his greatness and his supernatural powers and started worshipping him.
Once while begging for mustard oil for lighting lamps, he was refused oil by a local shopkeeper. After the shopkeeper even insulted Sai Baba, he returned to his mosque disappointed. It was the day of Ram Navmi and he had to light the earthen lamps in the mosque he lived in. As he had no oil, he poured water in all the earthen lamps and had them lighted.
Those present there were shocked to see the lamps lighted with water. Soon his miraculous feats spread to the nearby villages and people started thronging Shirdi for his obeisance, finally, according to him the status of God.
Today, after hundred years Shirdi Sai Baba Trust managing the historic Shirdi temple is the richest shrine in India. It has a total deposit of nearly INR 2400 crores, donated by Sai bhaktas from all over the world in Indian and foreign currencies. The donations also include gold, silver, diamonds and even lands.
According to sources, about  70000 devotees visit Sai Temple every day. The annual income of Shirdi Sai Baba Trust is Rs 700 crores.
About 3.5 lakh devotees visit the historic temple during festivals, as during the three days of Guru Purnima festival from 15th to 17th July. About INR 5.62 crores had been received as Guru Dakshina during these three days. Sai Baba Trust has a whopping Rs. 2330 crores deposit to date.
The Sai Sansthan has 500 crores with 443 kilograms Gold and 5368 kg silver annual donations. The trust has an annual income of INR 700 crores.
About 1.75  lakh devotees sought Baba’s darshan on Gurupurnima day. The total collection included Hundi of Rs. 2 crores 12 lakh, 1.7 crores on donation counter and 1 crore 8.49 lakh through foreign currency contributions.
The report says that about INR 2 crores are acknowledged as a donation from ardent Sai devotees from different parts of the country and globe. The major part of the donation collected is used for the construction of hospitals and modern Dharamshalalas in Shirdi. These donations are also used for meals etc at subsidized rates to lakhs of devotees visiting the historic temple.
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Increase in the circle rates will also increase the land cost in Uttarakhand

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Rishikesh in Uttarakhand
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The government of Uttarakhand running into a deficit of several thousand crores, probably more than Rs 45000 crores, is devising ways and means to bridge this deficit and also to use this revenue generated in various developmental projects within the state.

Apart from the massive liquor sale that gives the government of Uttarakhand an annual income of approximately Rs. 2300 crores, it’s also trying to generate revenue from other sources.
The government which pays a heavy interest on external borrowings has no alternative but to generate sufficient revenue from different other sources within the state, in order to not only pay the interest but also to further the development programs and also to run the state’s economy efficiently.
To generate this additional revenue the Uttarakhand BJP government led by Trivendra Singh Rawat is likely to enhance the circle rates of lands in the various cities and towns and its surroundings. This is to generate significant revenue in the process of buying and selling through earnings on stamp paper duties and from the registry of properties.
After Uttarakhand came into existence 19 years ago. Initially people hardly had any interest to invest in land or housing but after its formation the land sale has increased manifold in Uttarakhand particularly in the plain areas such as the capital Dehradun and its outskirts, Rishikesh, near Mussourie, Haridwar, Haldwani, in the outskirts of Mussourie, Dhanaltie, Udham Singh Nagar, Nainital’s outskirts and even at secluded hill areas. These investments are mostly with an aim to open resorts, hotels as well as for residential houses business establishments by businessmen and the middle class. There are also some large scale investments by the rich.
The real estate agents, land brokers, and colonizers are even selling agricultural lands on a square meter basis after purchasing large tracts of lands by cutting colonies, thus minting huge profits.
In almost all the townships and cities and their outskirts, people are thronging in large numbers to purchase properties and land.
The main reason behind this phenomena is shifting of major offices to Dehradun and other cities and the opening of new offices.
The bureaucracy, the business community as well as the employees of these establishments have therefore thronged the plains of Uttarakhand in multitude and have constructed houses for which they had earlier purchased lands.
An additional reason for investment in these hilly areas is it being environment-friendly and having pleasant people.  Therefore not only people from Uttarakhand but also people from Delhi and other metropolises including NRIs have invested money in Uttarakhand by purchasing lands. The idea is to benefit from an increase in the land rates after a few years and if need be to otherwise settle there after retirement.
The property business in Uttarakhand has prospered by leaps and bounds as the rich and affluent have purchased large tracts of land at throwaway prices a few years ago for establishing hotels, resorts, private hospitals, and other businesses which are now fetching them huge profits.
At several places in Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Dehradun huge multi-stories and hi-tech buildings have sprung up.
After this increase in the circle rates the cost of land at Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mussourie, Haldwani, Pithoragarh, Nainital’s outskirts, etc will further increase inflating the land cost. It would not be that easy for the new buyers to purchase whereas those who have already purchased these lands would reap handsome profits in the near future if they sell them.
There had been an investment of several hundred crores in Uttarakhand by land sharks and mafias. They’re bound to benefit from this move of the government if the circle rates move up by 25 to 35%.
While the state government will benefit from this move, the poor and the middle-class would be overburdened if they want to buy land for constructing houses says Congress leader of Uttarakhand Kishore Upadhyay. It’s an anti-poor and anti-middle-class decision says, Upadhyay.
On the other hand, Uttarakhand’s Agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal appreciates the government’s decision and has stated that an increase in the circle rates will result in the cost of the land to increase. The land and house owners and especially the farmers will benefit from high rates for their land.
Not only this but they will also be able to get higher amounts of loans from banks after an increase in the land rates adds Uniyal.
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EDITOR'S PICK

Listen to your broccoli and it will tell you how to eat it!!!

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Broccoli, a high nutritive value veggie was cultivated in Europe for the first time. The versatile veggie ranks as the fifth popular vegetable in the world. It is an exotic vegetable that resembles cauliflower, a common vegetable in India. Broccoli in the raw state contains near about 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat. The low-calorie veggie not only supports weight loss but also the calcium-rich cruciferous member helps in reducing the new fat cells production and stimulates the breakdown of deposited fat in the body. So let us learn a few broccoli recipes.

Sicilian Spicy Pasta

Ingredients: 1 cup boiled penne or spaghetti any form of pasta of your choice, 2 tsp chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp chopped red chilies, 1/4 cup broccoli, 1/2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, pepper, oil and salt to taste.

Let us cook:
1. Take a pan and heat oil, add chopped garlic and sauté
2. Then add red chilies along with salt and pepper.
3. Then add broccoli and saute for two minutes.
4. Add boiled pasta and then parmesan cheese.
5. Saute and cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve hot.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients: 200 gm broccoli finely chopped, 2 Tbsp butter/oil, 2 Tbsp sifted flour, 1/4 tsp powdered black pepper, 3/4 cup milk, 4 cups stock or water, 1/2 tsp celery salt, salt to taste and Cream for garnishing
Let’s cook:
1. Take a heavy saucepan and heat the butter or oil.
2. Then add half the broccoli into the butter or oil.
3. Stir fry for 30 seconds on medium flame and then add the flour and panfry the mixture until it leaves the sides of the pan.
4. Then remove from heat and add the stock slowly while keep stirring to avoid lumps.
6. Once the mixture reaches to normal temperature blend it in a blender.
7. Now take a pan and add the rest of the broccoli, milk, celery salt, and black pepper.

8. Cook over a high flame, keep stirring for few minutes and bring it to boil, and then simmer over low flame for about 10 minutes.
9. Garnished with cream and serve hot.

Chatpati Broccoli

Ingredients: 250 gm broccoli cut into small pieces, 2 Tbsp oil, 2 tsp mustard seeds, 4-5 curry leaves, 3-4 whole red pepper, 1/8 tsp asafoetida powder, 1 tsp cumin, 50 gm ginger-shredded fine, 2 tsp garlic finely chopped, 20 gm tamarind-soaked in 1 cup water and strained, salt to taste.

Let’s cook:
1. Take a pan and heat oil to add mustard, curry leaves, red pepper, asafoetida, and cumin.
2. Add the ginger and garlic as soon as the seeds splutter and saute till it becomes light brown.
3. Then add the broccoli and saute over high flame for few minutes then lower the flame, cover and cook until it becomes tender.
4. Add tamarind and salt; let it come to a boil
5. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Happy cooking!! 

 

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Crime

Truck driver who had caused the death of 2 youths of Pauri Garhwal nabbed

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CM Uttarakhand and the seriously injured boy / pic samay sameeksh.com
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The recent deaths of two youths namely Ramesh Singh 23 years old and Vir Singh aged 22 years old at Sarhaul border, Gurugram hailing from Kathur and Salon respectively from district Pauri Garhwal was not a murder but accidental deaths.

One of their friend from Ghulek village who was grievously injured is still in hospital under critical conditions and recovering gradually.

Today more than 150 people of Uttarakhand from Delhi and different parts of Haryana gathered at Udyog Vihar police station in Dundahera, Haryana to register their peaceful protest demanding immediate arrest and stringent action against the culprit. The culprit who had caused this accident three days ago at the wee hours of the morning because of his rash driving – had fled the scene instead of helping the grievously injured youths who could have been saved had he ferried them to the hospital in time.

The third injured youth was lucky and had survived was rushed to the hospital by the locals available at the accident spot.

According to a video released in a WhatsApp group by some social activists these deaths were the result of a dangerous accident that occurred last Monday early in the morning while these three youths namely Ramesh Singh (23), Verr Singh ( 22) and Narendra Singh were returning back from their respective duties from Empire club in MGF Mall Gurugram.

It has not yet been known as to why these youths had gone to Sarhaul border. While they were walking a vehicle at extremely high speed ran over them grievously injuring all the three. While two youths namely Ramesh Singh and Veer Singh died on the spot succumbing to grievous injuries, the third one Narendra Singh was admitted to hospital where he is still under treatment.

There was shock wave all around amongst their families and amongst the people of Uttarakhand community. Photos of these dead and injured youths with news about their alleged murder were loaded on various social media platforms and went viral. The cause of these deaths could not be ascertained earlier. However, after a day the Udyog Vihar police had revealed that they were accidental deaths but nobody was willing to accept the police version.

They were angry that even if it was an accident the driver of the vehicle who killed these youths so brutally under his vehicle should not have fled the scene and instead should have informed the police or at least helped the injured to the hospital. But by fleeing from the scene of the accident after two deaths he behaved like a killer. However, due to excessive media hype and the Haryana CM’s directives after Uttarakhand CM Rawat’s request to him, the erroneous and rash truck driver involved in this fateful accident has been caught, as per sources.

The chief minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat had spoken to Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khatter requesting him to direct the police to bring the culprit to justice at the earliest.

The Udyog Vihar police of Haryana has shown immense vigilance and dedication in nabbing the culprit within a couple of days. However, this has happened only after media hype and peoples’ pressure. Further Haryana CM’s intervention after the request of his Uttarakhand counterpart helped in the quick resolution of this case.

This is the tempo driver nabbed by the Palam Vihar, Gurugram police namely Neeraj Bhatt of Nepal.

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