December 2010

Monsoon misery




Tamil Nadu: The north-east monsoon, 50 per cent in excess in the State, claims over 200 lives and destroys crops and infrastructure.

A SERIES of weather systems, including a cyclone that missed Chennai narrowly, saw the skies open up over Tamil Nadu between November 4 and December 5, the period when the north-east monsoon is most active. Most of the 561 mm of rainfall that the State received between October 1 and December 6, which is 50 per cent over the normal of 375 mm for the season, is said to have come during this period. It claimed the lives of 203 persons, including scores of children. In these days of specialised disaster management, this is seen as an unacceptably high toll.

Vedaranyam to house genetic garden of salt-resistant plants Read more: Vedaranyam to house genetic garden of salt-resistant plants

 VEDARANYAM: Union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh formally launched a project to create a genetic garden of halophytes, the first of its kind in the country, near Siruthalaikadu in Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district on Sunday. 

Intensified erosion sends shock waves to fisher folk

 NAGAPATTINAM: High tide induced erosion caused concern among fisher folk in certain parts of Nambiayar Nagar hamlet in Nagapattinam .


On Wednesday morning, residents woke up to find large chunks of sand being washed away from shoreline close to their habitation.

Ordinarily, the shallow lake area on the beach with its collected water merged with the sea along its chartered course. However, this time around, it had over flown to take a new course.

Change in course

The changed course along with the high tide waves eroded large parts of sand, leaving behind a cliff-like topography.

Central team will also suggest permanent flood control measures

 CUDDALORE: The Central team has come to Tamil Nadu not only to assess the extent of flood damage but will also incorporate in its report the permanent flood control measures, according to A.Muralidharan, Senior Research Officer, Central Planning Commission.

At an interactive session in Chidambaram on Friday, farmers' associations made persistent pleas with the four-member Central team led by L.Viswanathan, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry for Home Affairs, that since flooding was a perennial problem the team should not be content with recommending ad hoc relief measures but should also suggest permanent protective measures.

Responding to their requests, Mr Muralidharan said that the problem could be tackled in three ways: provision for immediate relief, measures to be taken by the State government and the efforts to be made jointly by the Centre and the State government.



Show cause issued to Mundra Port for violation of coastal regulations

India's largest private port has fallen foul of the Environment Ministry for a gross violation of coastal norms.

On Thursday, the Ministry issued a show cause notice to the Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone, owned by the Adani group and located on the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat. The port project is being accused of conducting large-scale reclamation of creeks using dredged material and destroying mangroves in blatant violation of the terms of its environmental clearance, as well as constructing several structures — a township, airport and hospital — without obtaining a coastal clearance.

The port has been given 15 days to reply and show why its clearances should not be cancelled, and all reclamations and structures dismantled. The Ministry may also impose a compensatory penalty of 1,000 hectares of mangrove afforestation, paid for by the port, if it is not satisfied with the reply to its show cause. The Ministry has already told the State coastal authority to take steps to determine the structures that violate coastal norms and remove them.

The action comes on the basis of a complaint by an NGO — Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan — following which A. Senthil Vel, an additional director in the Ministry, was sent to visit the site. Mr. Vel's report shows large-scale reclamation using dredged material was being carried out in an area of mangroves behind the port site.

Roadmap for making Chennai disaster-proof

 Gokul Chandrasekhar



CHENNAI: At a time when international efforts to combat climate change have failed to take off because of lack of political will, Chennai Corporation is gearing up to take action to protect the city from impact of climate change. The City Corporation, in association with the University of Madras and the Kyoto University in Japan, has drafted a climate action plan for Chennai, which is a roadmap for various departments within the Corporation to make the city resilient to climate related disasters. The action plan is expected to be tabled at the Corporation Council meet and passed before February next year.


Fisher folk seek separate ministry

 NAGAPATTINAM: The National Fisher folks' Forum has expressed strong opposition to a few measures and issued a charter of demands. NFF, a constituent of the Federation of State Level Trade Unions in India has passed resolutions in its general body meeting held recently.

The forum has called for resistance against SEZs, thermal and nuclear power projects and other ecologically destructive projects; and policies on free trade agreement that would have disastrous effect on climate change and disaster management.

Their demands include a comprehensive act on coastal regulation zone (CRZ), preferential access of small and traditional fisher folk to the stock of fish in Indian waters and sustainable management of fishing practices, and a separate Ministry for Fisheries to ensure that policies reflect the interests of over 10 million fisher folk population in the country.

Other demands are representation of fisher folk in all Central and state policy making bodies and release of Indian fishermen jailed in other countries besides intervention of the government to protect the Tamil fishermen from continued attacks by Sri Lankan navy.

Central team to assess flood damage holds discussions with Stalin, officials

 Chennai: The Central team to assess flood damage in the State held discussions with Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and senior officials at the Secretariat on Thursday.

The team led by L. Viswanathan, team leader and joint secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, will visit flood-hit areas over the next three days. There would be another meeting in Chennai on December 20.

After discussions with Mr. Stalin, Mr. Viswanathan told reporters that the State had submitted its report and the team would work as per norms.

Tour schedule

One team, comprising Mr. Viswanathan, Muralidharan, Jitendra Prasad and S.S. Prasad, will tour Cuddalore (December 17), Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts (December 18) and Thanjavur district (December 19).

Rs. 17.67 crore for preliminary relief works in Cuddalore

 CUDDALORE: The State government has made an initial allocation of Rs. 17.67 crore to Cuddalore district for carrying out preliminary relief works in flood-affected areas, according to Collector P. Seetharaman.

The amount has been earmarked for the following purposes: repairing the highways – Rs. 7 crore; rural roads – Rs. 5 crore; municipal roads – Rs. 1.35 crore; for improving water sources such as lakes, tanks and canals – Rs. 4.32 crore.

The fund allocation for the municipal roads would be made as follows: Cuddalore municipality (14 km stretch of road) – Rs. 70 lakh; Chidambaram (8 km) – Rs. 40 lakh; and Vriddhachalam (5 km) – Rs. 25 lakh.

In a statement released here, the Collector also said that the government was likely to sanction an additional fund of Rs. 10 crore for road works. The floods had claimed the lives of 18 persons and 315 cattle heads in the district.

Horticultural crops severely affected

 NAGAPATTINAM: Though the extent of loss of horticultural crops in the district is yet to be ascertained, estimation by farmers puts the magnitude of the damage in horticultural and floricultural fields at a higher level.

According to the Horticultural Department, 50 per cent of the total 450 hectares under horticulture was affected. But Kaveri Danapalan of Cauvery farmers Protection Association, said paddy cultivators had their own coconut groves. The rain-ravaged coconut trees would not bear fruit for at least a year. Such losses ought to be calculated, Mr.Danapalan said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mujib Shareef of Vedaranyam said floricultural practices were spread over 950 hectares at Vedaranyam while plantain had been cultivated in 850 hectares in Mayiladuthurai and Nagapattinam. Beetle had been raised in 10 hectares and groundnuts in 25 hectares at Tharangambadi. Floriculture, especially jasmine was damaged, he said seeking a compensation of Rs.20,000 per hectare.

Karthigai Kizhangu, a horticultural crop at Vedaranyam has been affected. Mr.Shareef said Karthigai Kizhangu is a costly crop with no loan facility besides a subsidy of Rs.60,000.