TRINet Newsletter February 2012

IMD claims its radars chased ‘Thane' to the wire

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has had a mostly successful outing tracking the very severe cyclone ‘Thane' to its logical conclusion.
The damage caused by the havoc wreaked by cyclone Thane in the district has been pegged at Rs 4,000 crore, according to an official of a Central team that inspected the affected areas here. “In total, two lakh hectare of agricultural lands were affected, of which more than over a lakh hectare of lands are in Cuddalore district. In this district alone, the worth of damages would be pegged at Rs 4000 crore approximately,” said the official from the nine-member team led by joint secretary in Ministry of Home Affairs Lokesh Jha.
It could take "years" for hundreds of thousands of people in southeastern India to rebuild their livelihoods after a devastating cyclone wiped out their entire plantations of cash crops last month, aid workers warned on Tuesday.
Tamil Nadu Government would construct one lakh concrete houses at a cost of Rs 1000 crore to replace damaged huts in the Cyclone Thane affected districts of Cuddalore and Villupuram, Governor K Rosaiah said on Monday.
The crown jewel is the dazzling gold-plated temple of Lord Venkateshwara. Located in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, this is not just one of Hinduism's holiest shrines, but also one of the richest

Rio+20: The Moment When Everything Changed? 

Humanity is driving Earth's climate and ecosystems towards dangerous tipping points, requiring radical new forms of international cooperation and governance, experts say.

Legalising Compensation

Forest land can be diverted for non-forest use under India’s Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (“the FCA”). Permissions under the FCA are also required to fell trees on forest land or if a forest, which is otherwise in the “reserved” category, is to be de-reserved. The law defines “non-forest purpose” broadly as the breaking up or clearing of any forest land for the cultivation of tea, coffee, spices, rubber, palms, oil-bearing plants, horticultural crops, or medicinal plants, and for any purpose other than reforestation. Therefore, despite stating upfront that the law is meant to be for the conservation of forests, it has in-built mechanisms to facilitate the change of land use of an area conceived or recorded as a forest.

India ranks a low 125 in the Environment Performance report of the prestigious Yale University, which should be a wake-up call to Indian political leaders at all level, its officials said."India's low rank on the 2012 Environmental Performance Index  (EPI) should be a wake-up call to Indian political leaders at all levels," said Daniel C Esty, Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Study says India has the most toxic air

In a study by Yale and Columbia Universities, India holds the very last rank among 132 nations in terms of air quality with regard to its effect on human health.

Disaster Management:

Weak links have been pointed out in the security of nuclear power plants along India's coastline and these are being addressed, a top official involved in the country's disaster management efforts said Friday. 
The ramshackle neighborhoods of northeast Delhi are home to 2.2 million people packed along narrow alleys. Buildings are made from a single layer of brick. Extra floors are added to dilapidated buildings not meant to handle their weight. Tangles of electrical cables hang precariously everywhere.
Book Review:
Living with cyclones: disaster preparedness in India and Bangladesh
Publisher(s): German Red Cross (GRC)
The publication informs about people in India and Bangladesh. It reports on women who form savings groups, youths who plant coconut palms that offer protection during cyclones, children who give first aid.


Algae plus salt water equals … fuel? Bilal Bomani reveals a self-sustaining ecosystem that produces biofuels -- without wasting arable land or fresh water.
TRINet DeBunk:
What makes you, you? Is it how you think of yourself, how others think of you, or something else entirely? Julian Baggini draws from philosophy and neuroscience to give a surprising answer.

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