The Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network was featured in the Hindu today.
Sea turtle lovers are concerned at the disturbance caused to turtle nesting habitats along the Tamil Nadu coastline, where casuarinas have been raised by the State Forest Department.The sea turtle’s egg-laying season began a month ago. Volunteers of the Chennai-based Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) had written to the World Bank stating that the Forest Department should reverse the damage done.The SSTCN also wanted the Bank to provide funds for taking up transplantation work.Akila Balu, co-ordinator, SSTCN, said after the tsunami, the World Bank funded an Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP) in Tamil Nadu.Under this programme, the State Forest Department had taken up the work of raising casuarina plantations to act as a bio-shield on the coastline. The casuarina saplings were planted right up to the high-tide line. In the process, it eliminated large stretches of sea turtle nesting habitat.Department’s defenceA senior Forest Department official said casuarinas had not been raised all along the State coastline.Adequate space had been provided between each sapling through which the turtles could enter the sand and lay eggs.The ETRP is a conservation-oriented programme, and so far the department has not received any complaints that the casuarina plantation had affected egg-laying of the Olive Ridleys, the official said.“In most of the areas, the saplings are not touching the high-tide line. If we plant closer to the line, the saplings will not survive. On the whole, the plantation will surely not affect the egg-laying turtles,” the official added.
To find out more, visit the SSTCN website.
cross-posted at the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network
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While India prepares to spend many billions of dollars on fighter jets, it cannot provide clean water for its citizens.
Cholera and diarrhoea, having assumed epidemic proportions in three tribal dominated Orissa districts, have so far claimed 164 lives as officials confirmed five more deaths in worst-hit Koraput on Thursday.
The death toll, which had mounted to 159 on Wednesday, further rose to 164 with confirmation of five casualties in Dasmantpur block of Koraput district, Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) R K Agarwal said.
While the toll in Koraput district went up to 73, the situation remained by and large unchanged in Rayagada with 64 casualties as the killer diseases claimed as many as 27 lives in Kalahandi, official sources said.
The water-borne diseases had assumed epidemic form in nine blocks of these three backward districts located adjacent to each other though separated by hills and the waterspread of the vast Indravati reservoir.
Despite state government’s claim to have effectively controlled the spread of the diseases, residents of the affected areas alleged that the administration had failed to provide adequate medical facilities to the patients.
This is disgusting and very symptomatic of the urban-rural divide that exists in India. Unless the government can provide basic infrastructure to its rural citizens, all those fancy malls and F16s mean little.
The system carries 4.5 million people everyday.
New Delhi: Seven major explosions rocked Mumbai on Tuesday. The serial blasts occurred at Borivili, Khar, Meera Road, Matunga, Jogeshwari, Bhayander railway stations and a seventh on the Khar-Santacruz subway. Maharashtra DGP P S Pasricha said 70 to 80 people have been killed in the blasts. Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said he believed that over 300 people have been injured in the serial blasts.
Even before the gunbattle with terrorists in Mumbai could end, a slanging match on Friday began between ruling Congress and opposition BJP on the issue of handling of internal security and dealing with terrorists.
BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani accused the intelligence agencies of failing to get a whiff of Mumbai terror attacks, alleging their preoccupation with "Hindu terror"– an apparent reference to Malegaon blast probe –helped the terrorist plot go undetected.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, BJP's anti-terror mascot, sought to upstage Congress by visiting the three Mumbai spots where the operations against terror were on and was promptly branded as a "publicity monger" by the ruling party.
Congress also raked up the Kandahar hijack episode during the BJP rule and alleged release of terrorists in return for safe release of passengers onboard had brought India to its knees
It also sought to puncture Narendra Modi's anti-terror plank alleging he had failed to provide manpower for a centrally-funded coastal policing
AICC spokesman Manish Tewari accused Advani, who is also the Leader of the Opposition, of failing to accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Mumbai, which would have sent a strong signal of a united India against terrorism.
Advani preferred to go to Mumbai along with Jaswant Singh whose conduct at Kandahar is possibly responsible for what we are facing today", said Tewari at the party briefing.
In a statement, Advani accused the UPA of not being serious about tackling terror. "The government's non-serious approach is reinforced by reports that the Mumbai attackers arrived in the city by the sea route.
Note to BJP, your associates are responsible for thousands of deaths in state abetted riots and pogroms against Muslims and Christians. Also, your associates are suspected in fomenting acts of terror, shut the fuck up. You are equally complicit in increasing tensions in the country.
Note to Congress, You are also responsible for thousands of preventable violent deaths. You are inept and unable to setup a basic centralized counter terrorism program, you have, on your watch, let India suffer many brazen terrorist attacks without doing anything to improve intelligence gathering or have any kind of rational response. You have been using the Muslim community to gather votes for years without actually doing anything to make things better. You have not been able to bring the organizers of riots and mayhem to justice, hell, you haven’t even tried. You have no right to talk.
If there is one thing that can be done right away, list all the violence that has occurred in the last few years and actually bring the people responsible for this violence to trial, get some convictions, do some good police and prosecution work. Maybe then we can build some confidence in the system. We can’t have Hindus going free for hate crimes/terrorism, we can’t have Muslims going free for hate crimes/terrorism.
Rule of law, quaint, old fashioned, boring, but in the long term, combining a robust counter terrorism program with a low tolerance approach to violence is our only cure.
The discussion on global warming in Parliament will end with the statement of environment minister A Raja, possibly on Monday. He is bound to restate the country’s position on climate change in the international arena — that countries must bear “a common but differentiated responsibility” for climate change, a phrase that is the central pin of the Kyoto Protocol.
De-jargonised, it means, while every country is adding to the problem, there are some that are more responsible than others, and should, therefore, bear the burden and costs of cleaning up more than the smaller culprits
The US, between 1950-2003, emitted 10 times more carbon dioxide than India did. Europe emitted 8.5 times more. Yet US and Australia, two of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol (which asks developed countries to reduce their emissions) on the pretext that developing countries like India and China are not undertaking emission cuts.
Worse still, if one looks at per capita emissions from different countries, which is a more equitable way of calculating emissions if one was to go by the principle that each person has as much right to the atmosphere as another, then India ranks a mere 120 compared to US which ranks 6 and Australia 10 on the culprits’ list. This is taking the emission levels of 2003.
Well, they are right, and they are wrong too. The developed world has a lot to more to cut back on and should make the bulk of the cuts. But India and China also need to grow using current state of the art knowledge, not using the 1950s coal intensive, energy inefficient model of increasing supply without paying attention to demand. We have also come to realize that IPCC reports, due to their consensual nature, are conservative. So, they will tend to understate the effects of climate change and overstate the costs. It may not be as expensive in India and China as long as attention is being paid to hw the infrastructure is being developed.
This is great news, as long as the program is well administered and transparent (usual caveat that accompanies any new policy announced by the Indian government).
The Indian government has announced an ambitious social security scheme which is aimed at benefiting about 390 million poor, non-unionised workers. Once passed by parliament, the scheme will provide the workers with life insurance and disability protection.
Under the new scheme, the non-unionised, casual worker will be entitled to life insurance and health and disability benefits by contributing just one rupee (one cent) a day.
The government says it wants to help the under-privileged
The government and employers will also contribute an equal amount. Those earning less than 6,500 rupees ($160) annually will be designated as living below the poverty line, and their one-rupee share will be paid for by the federal government.
It is estimated that the government will need $22.2bn to implement the scheme.
Assuming a purchasing power exchange rate of approximately 14 for India (year 2000 value), this poverty rate works out to approximatey $1.25 per day, a little more generous than the world bank’s dollar a day PPP adjusted figure, but not really. I would guess that the poor would need a little more help, but it is a start, and a good first attempt to get some kind of safety net for most of the Indian workforce.