Press on Environment and Wildlife
Strong Himalayan quake could affect rivers: Study (Issue of the week, October Week 3 (2005)) Can high intensity geotectonic movements like the devastating earthquake in the Himalayan range that occurred recently in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan affect the course of rivers like the Ganges and the Indus?
The possibility cannot be ruled out, according to a senior scientist with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) who has been tracking the course of the Vedic age river Saraswati which, according to him, disappeared over 5,000 years ago due to a major geotectonic activity.
The scientist PS Thakker had recently presented a paper describing the geotectonic effect that led to the disappearance of the river Saraswati at the Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology and also at the Marine Archeology Seminar at Goa early this month, reports The Hindustan Times.
His major work relates to tracking the palaeo course (ancient course) of river Saraswati and its tributaries using satellite imagery.
He says any major tectonic activity such as earthquake or volcanic eruptions can affect the course of rivers -- especially if they occur nearby.
In Gujarat, the formation of the Gulf of Cambay (Khambat) and Gulf of Kutch is attributed to geotectonic activity. Thousands of years ago, the sea level in this region was very low but geotectonic activity altered the landmass resulting in the formation of the Gulf in these two regions, he added.
He said during the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat which had its epicentre near Bhuj, a channel appeared in the Great Rann of Kutch which was nearly 100 kms long and 200 metres wide.
The most interesting feature of this channel was that different water samples taken from it showed the age of the water ranging from 12,000 years to 89,000 years old. The age of the water samples were determined by using the scientific method of Radon dating, he added.
Thakker, in his work of tracking the palaeo course of Saraswati, has studied using satellite imageries and described how this river used to come up from Kapalthirth in the Himalayas in the west of Kailash passing through Mansarovar and Raksastal in Tibet, Manapas in Uttaranchal, Rishikesh and Haridwar, Delhi, Jodhpur in Rajasthan and finally the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat where it used to join the Arabian sea.
The interesting part of the satellite imagery is that one can identify the existence of river which has totally dried up. One can also know the course of the river and its tributaries and also whether it has shifted its course. The parts in the satellite imageries where rivers existed appear as dense region having different colourations.
Anamalais awaits Project Tiger (October Week 3 (2005)) The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, the biggest in the Tamil Nadu, with 958 sq km on the Anamalais in the Western Ghats, is awaiting the Centre's declaration as Project Tiger reserve.
It will help the overall improvement of the sanctuary, according to authorities.
Last year's Census reveals that the sanctuary has 20 tigers and more than 600 elephants. The Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in Tirunelveli district is the first Tiger reserve in the State and has 29 tigers. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has sanctioned Rs. 2.04 crores to the KMTR.
Once it is declared a tiger reserve, it will get more funds from the Centre.
It could be used to provide alternative jobs to tribals residing inside the forests besides improving facilities at the sanctuary.
The powers of a field level officer will go up to that of a Conservator level officer.
He will be appointed as Field Director (a Deputy Conservator of Forests is the highest field level officer now) and assisted by an Eco Development Officer and a Deputy Director.
These appointments will ensure effective decision-making and faster financial allocations.
The sanctuary, declared an Elephant Reserve, receives Rs. 40 lakhs to Rs. 50 lakhs annually. Officials here say it is not sufficient.
At present it is facing acute shortage of drinking water and fodder during summer. The enhanced financial assistance from the Centre will help authorities in finding lasting solutions for the same, reports The Hindu.
Meet calls for pro-people river policy (October Week 3 (2005)) The national conference on River and the People organised by the Indian River Network (IRN) concluded here on Tuesday with a call for a people's policy on rivers, reports The Pioneer. .
Industrial pollution, construction of large dams, deforestation, mining and privatisation are leading to destruction of rivers, speakers at the conference opined.
Conflicting policies of Kerala and Central Governments on river water and ground water have helped the exploitation of the resources by private enterprises. The law should be clear and unambiguous on the ownership of the natural resources which should vest with the people of the area, the conference resolution stated.
For the sustainability of the eco-system, the report calls for awareness camps and journeys undertaken with public support from the origin of the river. Symbolising the flow of rivers into the ocean, the participants of the conference poured water taken from 28 rivers across India into the ocean at Puthuvype.
Carbon Trading (October Week 3 (2005)) 20 sugar, cement, paper projects likely to trade carbon — Methodologies for fly-ash mixing, power generation from bio-residues cleared, reports The Hindu Business Line.
TWENTY Indian projects from the sugar, cement and paper and pulp sectors, seeking to trade carbon, are likely to be registered soon at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC.
Bombay High Court stays the sale of Mill land. (October Week 3 (2005)) AT THE Bombay High Court, while arguing for Environmental Action Group, Mr I. M. Chagla clarified that he was not seeking a freeze on all development in the mill land.
What he prayed for was an intervention by the court "to ensure that the principles of sustainable development, balanced development, sound town planning, based on relevant socio-economic considerations and the improvement of the living and working conditions and environment as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India are followed with regard to all development/redevelopment on the mill lands, so as to protect the interests of the residents of Mumbai." Relevant articles in the constitution Art.21 and 48A are quoted.
"Enjoyment of life and its attainment including their right to life with human dignity encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservation of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation without which life cannot be enjoyed," the apex court had said about a decade ago in Virendra Gaur vs State of Haryana.
`Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life'. It mandates that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. These two Articles form the core of the country's environment law.
Courts have recognised the duty of the Government with regard to environment.
"The most vital `community need' at present is the reversal of the environmental degradation. There are virtually no `lung spaces' in the city. The Master Plan indicates that about 34 per cent of recreational areas have been lost to other uses," noted the Supreme Court in a 1996 case.
Integrated Wasteland Project to cover 9,000 ha (October Week 3 (2005)) With a view to develop wasteland lying barren in development blocks, the Bhopal district administration has sanctioned Integrated Wasteland Development Project (IWDP) for 9,000 hectare of land, reports The Pioneer.
IWDP projects costing Rs 3 crore and 2.40 crore in the first and second phase respectively have been initiated at 27 villages of Fanda development block.
The district has received Rs 165.42 lakh from the Union and the Madhya Pradesh Government under the plan and nearly 1,600 hectare of land have been treated by spending Rs 49 lakh till date.
Three project implementation units (PIU) have been constituted wherein officers from Forest and Water Resource Department have been appointed as project officers. The appointed officers are also being trained for effective implementation of the projects.
The first phase that started from year 2003 would conclude in the year 2008. The IWDP costing Rs 3 crore would stretch over 5,000 hectare of land in Fanda block.
The Centre's share is Rs 275 lakh while the State Government's share is Rs 25 lakh. Six gram panchayats including Khajuri Sadak, Bakania, Khori, Inayatpura, Kalapani and Semrikala have been selected for the first phase.
Similarly, the second phase of IWDP that commenced in 2004 would conclude in the year 2009. The sanctioned area include 4,000 hectare of land in Fanda block.
The Centre's share is Rs 220 lakh and State Government's share is Rs 20 lakh for implementation of second phase of IWDP.
Seven gram panchayats including Sukhi Nipania, Banderi, Kuthar, Karondiya, Jetpura, Nipania Jhat and Kanchi Barkhera have been included in the second phase.
Independent groups, women groups and stop water committees have been constituted for carrying out the projects.
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