Bridges are being cleaned up for children to be included in India’s Covid vaccination campaign with the Government’s Subject Matter Expert Committee (SEC) recommend the granting of an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in the age group of 2 to 18 years.
THE BEGINNING of the kinnow season in Punjab also leads to the fall of fruits, considered a total waste by the farmers. But this fallen fruit can prove to be a boon in improving soil, water, air, groundwater depletion, water contamination, and overall ecology. Not only the health of the plants can be improved, but it also helps to prevent the indiscriminate use of chemical sprays of fungicides and bacterial diseases on crops, especially vegetables, tubers like potatoes and grains. Farmers can harvest these fallen fruits in their kinnow fields and prepare bio-enzymes (BE) at low cost.
About 100 farmers in the Punjab, especially in the kinnow belt, have started making BE from this fruit waste – peel and ‘D’ grade, very small kinnows.
What are bio-enzymes?
Bio-enzymes are organic solutions produced by fermenting organic wastes including various fruits, vegetable peels and flowers, mixing sugar, jaggery / molasses and water. It takes 60 to 100 days to ferment organic waste. To speed up fermentation, yeast can be used as a culture to prepare it in 45-50 days. BEs are also widely used in our daily life.
Area under fruit cultivation in Punjab
In Punjab, about 94,000 hectares are used for various fruit crops, including about 40,000 hectares (one lakh acres) of kinnow orchards in the Hoshiarpur, Abohar, Fazilka, Mukatsar and Bathinda areas. On average, 25 to 30 tons of kinnow are produced per hectare and around 10 to 11 tons of lakh represent the total production of the state.
Kinnow is a year-long crop and the main harvest period is from late November to March, but some citrus varieties start to hit markets in October. Experts from the horticulture department say that around 15 to 20 percent (1.5 lakh to 2 lakh tonnes) of total kinnow production falls from the tree before and during the harvest period. Experts say fallen fruit is a major challenge for farmers in the state because small pits have to be dug to bury them, otherwise the fallen fruit will rot and invite a fly attack on healthy fruit still on the plants.
But now some farmers are using this waste to improve the pH level and soil fertility of their land by making BE from this waste.
What the farmers say
Farmer Paramjit Singh Jhajria from Maujgarh village on Abohar Ganganagar road in Fazilka district has a 17 acre kinnow orchard. He prepared 20,000 liters of bio-enzymes from the deceased family from last and current season. “I receive an average production of 1,700 quintals of kinnow from my orchard. Almost 20 percent of the crop fell because it is a natural phenomenon. As I am an organic farmer, I collect all the fallen fruit from my orchard which was otherwise clean but unfit for consumption. After washing them, I put them in clean barrels and used the formula given by the experts in the horticulture department to make BEs, ”he said, adding that he now uses them for improve soil health and spray on kinnow plants to repel pests.
“The soil pH level in the Abohar belt, Fazilka is around 8.5-9% compared to the required normal of around 7%,” said Vikram Verma, horticultural development manager (HDO) Soil, Citrus Estate Hoshiarpur.
“Even the canal water has high pH levels of up to 9%, which seriously affects productivity. But after using BE, which I mix in the irrigation water at the rate of 100 liters of BE per acre, the soil health of my land has improved dramatically, ”Paramjit said, adding that it works at works wonders on cotton, kinnow and vegetable plants because it is a pest repellant.
“Every crop has its own scent and color that attracts particular types of pests and damages the crop, but when we spray these BEs on it, the pests don’t come to the plant,” he added.
Vegetable grower Gursewak Singh from Mal Singhwala village in Mansa district does not own a kinnow orchard but tends an acre of field owned by a kinnow grower just to pick the fallen fruit and prepare the BEs.
“I do not use any fungicides on my four acre vegetable fields, but I only spray BE by mixing one liter of BE with 50 liters of water, which acts as an insect repellant on my plants and also improves the process. photosynthesis of my crop, which prevents the use of chemicals on my plants and soil. I save 3,500 to 4,000 rupees per acre in spending chemical fungicides on my vegetables, which improves soil health by not spraying a lot of chemicals on it, ”he said.
Formula to prepare BE
Paramjit Singh said he bought 40 plastic drums with a capacity of 500 liters each (a one-time investment) to which he added 99 kg of kinnow, 33 kg of jaggery and 330 liters of water in each and tightened the lid, which should be loosened for a few seconds every day for 30 days to release the gas due to the fermentation process. After 30 days, the lid is opened in the same manner over a two-day interval for two weeks and then the keg is kept airtight and opened occasionally. The bio-enzymes are finally ready in three and a half months. “We can use it for a whole year as a spray on the vegetables and mixing it with the irrigation of the fields,” he added.
Officials, experts speak
Vipesh Garg, horticultural development manager in the Punjab horticulture department, motivated farmers to use fallen fruit from the kinnow to make BE. “This is a huge industry available to farmers in Punjab,” he said.
He further stated that he had done a laboratory study on the effect of BE citrus fruit on crop diseases at the National Botanical Research Institute (NRBI) in Lucknow, and the results are very promising. “It has shown good results against bacterial diseases like black rot, bacterial canker on crops like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnip, tomato, radish and oil seeds , etc. wire shank on crops like rice, grain, potato, tomato, sugar beet, cabbage, soybean, cucumber, etc. added.
Bangalore-based BE expert Priti Rao, BEs Entrepreneur Academy, said: Chemicals, in our soil, air and water. In a state like Punjab where the water table is rapidly depleting and water contamination is also a major problem, BEs can revive the soil, which helps in better water recharge and also stops water contamination by improving soil health, ”she said. .
Explained: In Punjab linked to polls, unusual political brawl involving Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sahir Ludhianvi
In poll-linked Punjab, the Congressional government’s proposal to rename a high-rise residential project in Ludhiana has fueled an unusual political battle involving a politician and a poet – both well regarded in their respective fields.
Launched as “Atal Apartments” after former Prime Minister and pillar of BJP Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2010-2011 during the previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has now decided to rename the housing project to “Sahir Ludhianvi Apartments” – a decision which invited sharp criticism not only of the BJP, but also of its former ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) who also called this decision of the government of the Congress of “disrespect” towards a “great leader “like Vajyapee. Indian express explains the controversy.
What is the ‘Atal Apartments’ project? What is its current status?
A high-rise housing program launched in 2010-11 during the SAD-BJP regime, “Atal Apartments” was named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Initially, the project was proposed to have high rise apartments on 8.80 acres of prime land at Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar of Ludhiana. The project was started by Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), a state government agency, which claimed it would be the first high-rise housing project in Ludhiana with apartments up to the 12th floor. During its conceptualization in 2010 and after its launch in 2011, the local organizations department in Punjab was with the BJP. In 2010, Manoranjan Kalia of BJP was the Minister of Local Organizations under which the project was conceptualized and the foundation stone was laid by his successor, Tikshan Sud (also of BJP) on December 21, 2011.
However, even after eleven years, the project is on fire and construction has failed to take off on the ground. On two occasions, the program was dropped due to the reduced number of inquiries received from potential buyers. In January 2019, the LIT launched a new “demand survey” for 636 apartments and invited new applications. Almost 800 applicants have deposited Rs 10,000 each showing their interest in buying apartments, but the program was dropped again in 2020. While some applicants then got their refunds, others are still waiting with the hope that the project resumes.
What is the new LIT initiative that has stirred up the controversy?
With Congress leader Raman Balasubramanium as president, LIT has now proposed to relaunch the project with “Sahir Ludhianvi Apartments” as the new name. Born under the name Abdul Hayee on March 8, 1921 in Ludhiana in the Undivided Punjab, Sahir Ludhianvi became a famous poet and lyricist. To this day, her name is synonymous with Ludhiana and has put the city on the world map. According to the new plan, the project will include 576 apartments, including 336 for high income groups (HIG) and 240 for middle income groups (MIG), costing Rs 37.9 lakh to 47.5 lakh depending on the location of the 1st to 12th floor.
How did the BJP react?
Cornered in Punjab amidst the agitation of farmers, the BJP is now trying to capitalize on Vajpayee’s legacy with this new issue and is organizing protests in Ludhiana against this decision. Its leaders say they are not against Sahir Ludhianvi who was “without doubt one of the greatest poets the country has ever had”, but “replacing the name of Vajpayee with a project is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. at no cost ”.
Senior BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia, who was then minister for local bodies when the project was conceptualized, said: “Congress is setting a very bad precedent which is totally unwarranted and unacceptable. Sahir Ludhianvi has his place in history, in the world of poetry. But how can the Congressional government even think of replacing the name of a legendary leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, respected by all and who was a prime minister that every compatriot loved. With this precedent, tomorrow the BJP could start renaming buildings named after congressional leaders. I will write to Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi soon to condemn this decision and demand its immediate return. This idea of giving the project the name of Ludhianvi is simply illogical. So many other buildings or any other project can be simply named after Ludhianvi to pay homage to him, why only the one with the name of Vajpayee is renamed? “
Pushpinder Singal, Chairman of Ludhiana District, BJP, said it was a good idea to honor Ludhianvi but not by already renaming a dedicated project to Vajpayee.
“So far the Congressional government has not paid homage to Sahir Ludhianvi, no statue of him has been built. With the exception of an auditorium at SCD Government College, there is no place or memorial dedicated to Ludhianvi in the whole city. But instead of focusing on creating a memorial for Ludhianvi, LIT is now targeting a project named after Vajpayee. This is because we recently exposed LIT’s decision to auction prime land in Ludhiana for peanuts and the auction had to be called off. The BJP will protest statewide if this decision is not overturned and if Vajpayee is not respected, ”he said.
Has former BJP ally SAD also opposed this move?
Yes, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has also spoken out against the renaming of the project, even as the SAD-BJP alliance ended last year. Maheshinder Singh Grewal, a top SAD leader and now Ludhiana West’s party candidate for the 2022 polls, said that regardless of their alliance with the BJP, Vajpayee is respected by all. “Vajpayee was not a politician but a statesman. He had his own credentials as a parliamentarian that no other leader can match. He was not an accidental prime minister like Rajiv Gandhi. Renaming a project to its name is completely unjustified. It has nothing to do with the SAD-BJP alliance, but it is socially very important to have a project named after Vajpayee so that our future generations will know about it, ”said Grewal.
How has Congress been defended on the issue?
Congress leader and LIT president Raman Balasubramanium said it was the BJP that was playing “petty politics” on the issue.
“The project has been completely redesigned with its entire construction plan, etc. modified to make it complete value for money for people. We also respect Vajpayee ji a lot, but we needed a local hero who was connected to the city and not controversial. People have suggested that since there is no building or memorial named after Sahir Ludhianvi in the city, we can rename this project as a tribute to him. Our goal is by no means to disrespect Vajpayee. The BJP has totally lost ground in the Punjab and is now trying to raise baseless questions ahead of the polls. Rather, they should try to solve the real problems first, such as that of the farmers. Vajpayee never believed in petty politics, but unfortunately this is what the BJP does on his behalf, ”said the LIT president.
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Officially, the T20 World Cup kicked off on Sunday, with the game between Papua New Guinea and Oman. To watch the big guns play, fans will have to wait until October 23, when Super 12 teams take to the pitch, starting with Australia and South Africa. The International Cricket Council’s format for this year’s T20 World Cup is one of slow burning.
What is the format of the tournament?
The five-day period until October 23 is actually an extended qualifier. The T20 World Cup is played with 16 teams. They have been split into two groups and eight out of 16 teams will play round robin matches, with the top four qualifying for the Super 12.
The groups were selected on the basis of the ICC T20I ranking as of March 20, 2021. Of these eight teams, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are qualified automatically and the others have reserved their places through the qualifying rounds.
Eventually the whole group would be contracted to 12 and once the Super 12 was settled, split into Group 1 and Group 2, the top four teams from both groups would advance to the semi-finals. The two finalists would meet in Dubai on November 14.
How many teams are there in Super 12?
Eight teams entered Super 12 directly: India, Australia, England, New Zealand, the West Indies, South Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Again, this was done based on the ICC T20I rating.
How is the format different from the 2016 edition?
The last edition of the ICC World T20 was played in a Super 10 format. The Super 10 had eight direct participants, while Bangladesh and Afghanistan qualified in Group A and Group B respectively. this time expanded the pool.
Why has a 16-team tournament been going on for almost a month?
At first glance, 28 days for a 16-team tournament with 45 games is probably a bit too long. Only a few months ago, UEFA organized Euro 2020, played in several European countries. The tournament, with 24 teams and 51 matches, took place from June 11 to July 11. The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with 32 teams and 64 matches, took place from June 14 to July 15. In terms of duration, from October 17 to November 14, the T20 World Cup almost matches these larger football tournaments (in terms of number of participants).
“It’s 45 games,” said an ICC insider, agreeing that “the start of the tournament is a fault of the event” and “there should be four groups of four (teams each)”.
To be fair though, India’s forced passage of the T20 World Cup from India to the Middle East has reduced the number of venues, as the UAE only has three hubs – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah – to host Super 12 matches. Again, teams benefited from extended breaks between matches. For example, India’s first game is against Pakistan on October 24. Virat Kohli’s troops will show up for their next game against New Zealand seven days later on October 31. A T20 match is a three hour contest.
Should a World Cup have a discreet opener?
Papua New Guinea’s T20I ranking is 15th, while Oman is ranked 18th. They are not traditional cricket nations either. When asked about this, an ICC spokesperson referred to the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. “In your opinion, the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup was also mediocre – Russia against Saudi Arabia, two of the lowest-ranked teams in the event, “the spokesperson told The Indian Express, adding:” The host is (in) the game of openness, as it should be. Oman is a co-host of the T20 World Cup, along with the United Arab Emirates.
It is a moot point whether the analogy with the FIFA World Cup holds up in this case. Russia, host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is a traditional football nation, with legends like Lev Yashin and Igor Netto. The country inherited European clubs like Spartak Moscow, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Lokomotiv Moscow. Getting back to cricket and the T20 World Cup, Oman and Papua New Guinea are not full members of the ICC.
How is it going from the fans’ point of view?
A sparsely populated Al Amerat cricket ground in Oman for the opening game of the T20 World Cup suggested a lack of interest from local fans, which bordered on indifference. The ICC spokesperson, however, disagreed with the low-key notion. “It’s a World Cup, so every game is important. I think the teams entering the field today would violently disagree (with the discrete notion).
Why did the ICC expand the pool this time around?
In June 2018, the ICC granted T20 International status to all of its 104 members. The world gaming body is also pushing for the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles and T20 is seen as the widely endorsed format to be in the centerpiece of the quadrennial. The expansion is done in this direction. In fact, the ICC canceled the 2021 Champions Trophy to enter the back-to-back T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 (originally scheduled for 2020 and 2021).
The constituency of Ellenabad in Haryana is expected to witness a triangular contest – between the INLD, the BJP-JJP and Congress – in the side polls scheduled for October 30. Abhay Chautala will fight to save the existence of his party in the Vidhan Sabha, the BJP and Congress also fielded candidates who enjoy strong support in the constituency. Results will be announced on November 2.
What prompted the Elenabad poll?
On January 27 of this year, Abhay Chautala, the only deputy of the INLD, drove a tractor to Haryana Vidhan Sabha to resign to speaker Gian Chand Gupta. Chautala, who represented the constituency of the Ellanabad Assembly, was the first member of the 90-member House to resign, expressing solidarity with the farmers. According to the rules, the poll was to be completed within six months, but it was extended due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Will the agitation of farmers have an impact on the bypoll?
It will be a tough competition for the candidate to waive power, as the BJP-JJP alliance is already facing immense opposition from the farming community over the three central agricultural legislations. Insiders told The Indian Express that appointing Gobind Kanda was part of BJP’s strategy. , since it enjoys significant support in the constituency. While Chautala claimed he had immense support from the farmers when he stepped down by expressing solidarity with their unrest, Kanda also faces opposition within the BJP as he was seen as an outsider. Congress, on the other hand, had also built its entire campaign around the continued agitation of farmers to woo the majority of the rural constituency.
How is this more important to the INLD than waiving power or the opposition Congress?
For the INLD, the bypoll is far more important than the ruling BJP-JJP or the main opposition Congress. The only way for the INLD to maintain its existence in Vidhan Sabha is to go through this poll. If Abhay Chautala fails to secure a victory in Ellenabad, INLD will be completely wiped out in the Vidhan Sabha.
For the BJP, a loss in the constituency would have a negative impact on the image of the ruling party, as it has already lost a secondary vote to Congress in the assembly constituency of Baroda. Despite Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt’s roster, the party lost to rookie Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal. A victory in Ellenabad would bring the BJP’s number to 41 and give the party a slightly more dominant position over its ally, the JJP which currently has 10 MPs.
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For Congress, a victory would definitely strengthen its claim that the BJP-JJP combine is losing the people’s mandate. However, a defeat would not have much impact on Congress as it remains Vidhan Sabha’s second party with 31 MPs.
Who are the three best candidates in the running?
Ellenabad is traditionally a stronghold of the Chautala clan. While Abhay’s father and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala won Ellenabad in 2009, Abhay won the assembly segment three times in a row, first in the 2010 by-elections, then in 2014 and 2019.
The BJP named Gobind Kanda, the brother of the only Haryana Lokhit party MP, Gopal Kanda. A few days after joining the BJP, Gobind was nominated by the party as a candidate for Ellenabad. Gopal Kanda represents the constituency of the Sirsa Assembly. The two Kanda brothers enjoy strong support in the parliamentary constituency of Sirsa, which includes the Assembly constituency of Elenabad.
Congress, for its part, nominated BJP rebel Pawan Beniwal as a candidate. Beniwal had contested in the constituency on a BJP ticket in 2014 and 2019. He lost both times to Abhay Chautala. Recently, Pawan left the BJP and joined Congress. In 2019, while Abhay received around 57,000 votes, Beniwal finished second with around 45,000 votes while Congressman Bharat Singh Beniwal received around 35,000 votes and candidate JJP OP Sihag received over 6,500 votes.
What is the demographic position in the constituency?
The majority of voters in Elenabad constituency remain in the villages. The total number of voters in Elenabad constituency is 1 85,869 – 98,930 men and 86,639 women according to the website of the state chief electoral officer. Of the 190 polling stations in the constituency, 166 are in rural areas and 24 in urban areas. In the 2019 assembly polls, Ellenabad had 1,81,021 registered voters. Due to the majority of the rural population among the electorate, it will be a difficult competition for the candidate to dispense with power since the BJP-JJP alliance is already facing immense opposition from the farming community due to the ongoing agitation against the three central agricultural legislations. .
The 2021 Nobel Prizes saw seven science laureates. Ardem Patapoutian and David Julius received the Nobel Prize in physiology while Giorgio Parisi, Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann together won the physics gong for their work in deciphering the chaotic climate. Benjamin List and David MacMillan received the chemistry award for the development of a tool for building molecules.
Sixty years after the Soviet Union defeated its rival superpower, the United States, to become the first state to send a human into space, its successor, Russia, defeated the United States in a different kind of space race: the shooting of the first feature film in orbit.
This Tuesday, actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Soyuz MS-19 plane to film approximately 35 to 40 minutes of footage from the film titled Vyzov, or The Challenge. With them was veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.
Barring a small problem with the automatic docking system, the flight was a complete success. Peresild and Shipenko will spend a total of 12 days in the ISS.
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Reports from last year had claimed that Hollywood star Tom Cruise, known for his death-defying stunts in the Mission: Impossible films, had been approached about making a space movie. Doug Liman, who directed Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow and American Made, was going to direct the film, with Elon Musk’s NASA and SpaceX also involved in production. Later that year, then NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the news to the U.S. Associated Press, saying SpaceX would deliver Cruise and the crew to the ISS.
What is the Russian film about?
Vyzov is about a cosmonaut who loses consciousness after being struck by space debris in the middle of a space flight. His condition does not allow him to return to earth, a surgeon flies to the International Space Station to operate in zero gravity. Shipenko also co-wrote the screenplay with Bakur Bakuradze.
Russian space agency Roscosmos, state television Channel One and studio Yellow, Black and White are behind the project.
What is the reason for making the film in space?
The realism argument can be put forward to explain why a significant part of the film is shot in space. But nowadays visual effects artists, armed with nothing more than blue or green screens and computers, can make a soundstage look like Mars, Middle-earth, or whatever. we wish. Photorealism in the film medium has been achieved to the point that it is almost impossible to tell the difference between reality and visual effect.
For example, in Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s acclaimed sci-fi thriller from 2013, every shot featuring space or celestial objects was constructed using computer-generated imagery (CGI). In fact, visual effects supervisor Tim Webber said the film was 80% CGI. The film has always been praised for its realism and won seven Oscars, including one for cinematography.
Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin explained the real reason for the project: national pride. A major figure in the film, he said his goal was to glorify the country’s spatial capabilities. The Associated Press quoted him: “We were pioneers in space and have maintained a confident stance. Such missions which help to publicize our achievements and space exploration in general are excellent for the country. “
He added, “I expect the project will help bring attention to our space program, to the cosmonaut profession. We need better visualization of space research. The space deserves to be shown in a more professional and artistic way.
What were the challenges encountered by the actors and the team?
Traveling in space requires good physical and mental fitness. Both Peresild and Shipenko described the pre-space flight preparation training as grueling, but added that the end result was ultimately worth it. Peresild told reporters at a press conference (quoted by AP): “We have worked really hard and are really tired, even though we stay in a good mood and smile. It was psychologically, physically and morally difficult. But I think once the goal is achieved it will not seem so difficult and we will remember it with a smile.
“Of course, we couldn’t do much on the first try, and sometimes even on a third try, but that’s to be expected,” Shipenko said.
What’s up with Tom Cruise’s space movie?
AP reports that, according to SpaceX representatives, producer PJ van Sandwijk contacted Liman to ask if he wanted to shoot a movie in space. In January, Liman told the news agency: “There are just a lot of technical things that we are discovering. It’s really exciting because when you make a movie with Tom Cruise you have to put things on screen that no one has ever seen before.
There is no plot and other casting details available yet.
Currently, Cruise is busy post-production on the seventh film Mission: Impossible and Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to his 1986 action hit. The two big-budget studio films can keep him busy with their promotion for au less than a year. So, it may be some time before he is free to film in space and the United States catches up with Russia in this particular area.
India faces a severe coal shortage. The coal stocks of its thermal power plants can provide a few days of fuel. Union Energy Minister RK Singh said the situation is “touch and go”, and could be “uncomfortable” for up to six months.
What is the reason for the coal shortage and how will its impact be felt? What is the instruction ? Looked:
In a interview at Indian express, Singh said, “We touched 200 gigawatts during the Covid period, and demand hovered around 170-180 GW. I expect it to go up to around 200 GW and stay there. “
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By updating its already strict Air Quality Guidelines (AQG), the WHO last month sent a clear message: that the impact of poor air quality on public health is at stake. less twice as serious as expected. India has 37 of the 50 most polluted cities in the world, despite more lax air quality standards. For example, its standards for PM2.5 and PM10 are 60 and 100 µg / m3 (over 24 hours), respectively, while the new WHO standards are 15 and 45 µg / m3 (over 24 hours). .
Unsurprisingly, death rates from air pollution in India are among the worst. The Global Burden of Disease estimates that India lost 1.67 million lives in 2019 directly from breathing in polluted air, or from pre-existing conditions exacerbated by air pollution. Uttar Pradesh had the largest share with 3.4 lakh, Maharashtra 1.3 lakh and Rajasthan 1.1 lakh.
Delhi’s average life expectancy is 6.4 years lower than the national average of 69.4 years, and that number is starting to drop even for coastal cities like Mumbai and Chennai. Globally, it is estimated that exposure to PM2.5 kills 3.3 million people each year, most of them in Asia.
The problem is that our economic growth is based on fossil fuels. Coal, oil and natural gas represent about 75% of our electricity production and over 97% of road transport, but they come at the cost of significant emissions of CO, SO2, NO2, ozone and particles. And this is where the predicament lies: India prides itself on being the fastest growing large economy, and changing the way we generate electricity and restricting gasoline and diesel vehicles is considered as a brake on economic progress. At the same time, however, the ever-increasing needs for energy and personal vehicles are exacerbating the public health crisis. There is now almost a feeling among people that toxic air is just a part of city life.
The murderous threat
It’s hard to overstate the gravity of the situation. The health impacts of exposure to PM2.5 now include lung cancer, cerebrovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and acute lower respiratory disease, in addition to exacerbating illnesses like depression. Ozone exposure has been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Prolonged exposure to air pollutants affects newborns and babies still in the womb. While mothers may have to deal with the trauma of preterm deliveries and stillbirths, fetuses face an increased risk of being born with lungs that are not yet developed to function properly and birth defects that can impact the rest of their life. Simply put, air pollution is a threat to generations even before they are born.
Losses to the economy
A 2019 study found that India’s appalling air quality wiped out 3% of its GDP for the year and caused a loss of nearly 7 lakh crore (~ US $ 95 billion). Most of the losses were due to employees not showing up for work, far fewer people going out to buy goods, and foreign tourists staying away after health warnings. Official figures show a loss of 820,000 jobs in the tourism industry and 64% of companies blame the air pollution squarely.
Poor air quality has been found to compensate for 67% of the cost advantage of using solar panels over the power grid, as ground level smog and particulates suffocate their power output. . Additionally, several studies have noted a 25% drop in wheat and rice crop yields after prolonged exposure to PM and ozone.
It is a crisis that affects everyone. What India needs to do without delay is to review its national ambient air quality standards, revise them to WHO levels and implement them without exception. Unfortunately, the new WHO guidelines are not legally binding, so a crucial first step is to conduct nationwide epidemiological studies and collect large raw health data on air pollution as a risk factor. Without it, it would be difficult to get an idea of how many Indians, regardless of age, gender and occupation, suffer from bad air and would make efforts to tackle the problem meaningless.
More importantly, authorities must recognize that Indians are no less susceptible to air pollution – so continuing to enforce more lax standards for the good of the industry places a deadly burden on the average resident.
The example of China
China has gone through a similar phase. As it turned into a global manufacturing hub, its cities were subjected to manic air pollution and Beijing was known for its smog. But it has managed to tackle the problem, even though after 10 years it is still not WHO compliant. It has prioritized zero-emission transport, phased out the use of internal combustion engine vehicles, and imposed a strict crackdown on point sources of pollution that allows few, if any, exceptions. What is most impressive is that the country is now the largest market for electric vehicles and clean energy, its per capita income has never been higher and its influence as an economic power is still on. on the rise. It debunks the myth that tackling air pollution hinders economic growth.
India’s National Clean Air Program (NCAP) is trying to integrate such solutions, but electric mobility and clean energy in India are not yet dominant in their respective sectors. The good news is that states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana have policies in place to accelerate their market share, and electric vehicle sales are posting record year-over-year numbers.
The share of renewable energies has also increased considerably since 2015 to exceed 100 GW in August 2021, or nearly a quarter of the country’s installed electricity capacity. But there is still a long way to go.
Another equally essential step is to expand the country’s air quality monitoring network. The CAAQMS monitors controlled by the CPCB are expensive – each costs over Rs 20 lakh – and there are only 312 in 156 cities. This leaves many urban and rural pockets unattended to understand the full extent of their air pollution.
Fortunately, a number of new, low-cost monitors have entered service that capture readings not only for PM2.5 and 10, but also for gases like NO2, SO2, methane, and secondary volatile organic compounds. . Still, the Center and state governments need to increase the density of the CAAQMS network to fully inform the science behind corrective actions, and all of this needs to happen as a priority. Given the scale of our public health crisis, wasting more time could very well lead to a public health emergency.
On Tuesday, October 5, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) approved the Chhattisgarh government’s proposal to declare the combined areas of Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve.
The new reserve is located in the northern part of the state, on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. It will be the fourth reserve of tigers in Chhattisgarh, after the reserves of Udanti-Sitanadi, Achanakmar and Indravati.
The proposal was reviewed by the 11th NTCA Technical Committee on September 1, and approval was granted a month later under Section 38V (1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. (” Tiger Conservation Plan: The state government shall, on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority, notify an area as a tiger reserve. ”)
A decade to go
Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary was identified as part of Sarguja Jashpur Elephant Reserve in 2011. Guru Ghasidas National Park was once part of Sanjay National Park in undivided Madhya Pradesh. Both have been identified as reserve forests, and had to be notified as a tiger reserve since 2011.
Medium size reserve
The constituent units of the new tiger reserve, Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary, cover 144,000 hectares (1,440 km²) and 60,850 hectares (608.5 km²) respectively.
Guru Ghasidas National Park is located in Koriya district; Tamor Pingla is located in Surajpur district, northwest of Chhattisgarh.
Guru Ghasidas National Park was the last known habitat of the Asian cheetah in the country. Originally part of Sanjay Dubri National Park, Guru Ghasidas Park was established as a separate entity in the Sarguja region of Chhattisgarh after the state was formed in 2001.
The former BJP state government decided to integrate the Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary into a larger elephant corridor in the northern part of the state and sought approval from the Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary in the center of the state as a tiger reserve. Resistance from the local population in Bhoramdeo, however, forced the government to withdraw from the idea in 2018.
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The Congressional government has been working to get NTCA approval for Guru Ghasidas National Park.
State wildlife experts and activists believe it is important to turn Guru Ghasidas into a tiger reserve as it connects Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and provides a corridor for tigers to move between tiger reserves from Bandhavgarh and Palamau.
Bhoramdeo, on the other hand, connects the Indravati Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh to the Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and, according to experts, the decision to create a tiger reserve in Guru Ghasidas National Park should not be not affect attempts to notify Bhoramdeo as a tiger reserve. too much.