We have found in Asian country especially in rural sectors new mothers are unaware about baby's health care issues therefore...
IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
It appears that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has tightened its procedures in the hope of preventing errors in terms of the language used in its report (‘Future shock’, November 16-30, 2011).
IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore in 2007 for its efforts on climate change. But later became a focus of controversy because of factual errors in its report published in 2007. The latest report published on extreme weather, one of a string of reports the panel is issuing on relatively narrow issues, does not break much ground scientifically. It essentially refines findings that have been emerging in climate science papers in the recent years. Indeed, the delegates of IPCC meeting at Kampala in Uganda adopted scientifically cautious positions in some areas.
For instance, some researchers presented evidence suggesting that hurricanes are growing more intense because of climate change, but the report sided with a group of experts who say the claim is premature. The report finds only “medium confidence” in a link between human activities and intensification of extreme rainfall on a global scale. While the summary warns of enormously increasing risks from drought and flooding in decades to come, it is bound to disappoint climate campaigners. The section on disaster losses reflects the uncertainty injected in such analysis by confounding factors, including rapidly shifting human population and paucity of solid data over long periods.
S Jeevananda Reddy
Former Chief Technical Advisor
World Meteorological Organization
The article “The secret garden’” (November 1-15, 2011) is inspiring. I recently started Sundarbans Diversity Research Initiative (SDRI) at Satkhira in south-western Bangladesh. The programme aims at encouraging young people to research the biodiversity of the largest mangrove forest and help conserve it. SDRI has also led a campaign to plant kewra, a tree species fast disappearing from the Sundarbans. I also plan to develop an archive of the species in the Sundarbans.
Why this Polavaram?
The Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh is an environmental disaster on many counts (‘Polavaram in tender turmoil’, November 16-30, 2011). It has not only uprooted thousands of peasants and tribals from their homeland but has also robbed them of their living.
Despite being aware of its adverse impact, it is strange the government cleared the project proposal, while denying mining rights to Vedanta in Odisha. The Centre’s illogical step shows it applies different yardsticks without assessing ground realities. Today, when every relevant information fed through electronic media is debated and discussed, an average farmer is aware of what is good and bad. Then why the project?
K R Srinivasan
New Bhoiguda, Secunderabad
Progress, not delay, matters
This refers to the write-up “Monsoon dates to be revised” (November 1-15, 2011). Shift in the onset of the South-west monsoon by a week or 10 days as mentioned in the write-up could be for many reasons, including climate change and El Nino (abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean).
We have experienced many years of such delays. Over the years, farmers have gathered enough experience to adjust sowing and harvesting of crops. Even during early or timely onset of monsoon, its progress is either blocked or delayed. Hence, it is not the delay in the monsoon that matters but its progress, distribution in time and space. However, a regular or systematic delay of the monsoon onset may impose stress on extraction of groundwater, overexploited for paddy crops. Unfortunately, farmers in some states transplant paddy in May when the atmospheric evaporation is the maximum (16mm per day), leading to more pumping of water as well high frequency of irrigation. Programmes should be started to make farmers aware of less water-consuming crops.
K K Nathan
Scientist (retired), Indian Agricultural Research Institute
Paradox of pharma
This refers to “Faulty formula” (November 16-30, 2011). It is, indeed, tragic that commercial interests are shaping the policies of today’s India at the cost of people’s health, especially at a time when disparities between the rich and the poor, and debts on healthcare are on the rise. No amount of public debate and ground reality influence the decision makers. In developed countries, the state provides healthcare services to its people before allowing companies to make profits. In the US, elections are fought and won on the issues of health, while in Britain financial condition does not determine access to healthcare. It is a paradoxical situation in the Indian pharma industry. On the one hand, essential drugs are made unaffordable and inaccessible through the pharma pricing policy, and on the other, unnecessary, expensive new vaccines are aggressively promoted irrespective of their proven essentiality, safety and efficacy through the National Vaccine Policy. Both these aspirations are pushed through government through policy formulations, legalising the current dubious trends in the market.
National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources
No easy choices
The article ‘Outrage of the 99%’ (November 1-15, 2011) has endeavoured to initiate a debate on the pluses and the minuses of capitalism. The West in general and the US in particular have witnessed recession in the recent years. Unemployment caused by it has made people raise their voice against the capitalistic system of economy and governance, the system which hitherto claimed to be the messiah of democratic values and development.
The antithesis of capitalism, communism, is no better. A few years ago, Russia faced a similar recession. Does this mean that the mixed economy system adopted by India is the answer? Apparently, no judgement can be passed at this stage because India is still way behind the US and Russia in matters of development.
In India, the focus has more or less remained city-centric. The rural sector did not get the attention it deserved. This resulted in exodus towards cities, farmers crying for electricity, fertilisers and remunerative prices for their agro products. Rural India is living without sufficient basic amenities; a fertile ground for socio-political resentment. The cities, too, are bursting at their seams.
L R Sharma
Sunder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh
The photograph in the article “Sweet beris of Thar” (July 16-31, 2011) is eye-catching. The cow of Red Sindhi breed is native to Sindh province in Pakistan. After the Partition, India lost three important breeds of cattle—Red Sindhi, Sahiwal and Tharparkar of Thar desert. I hope farmers of Barmer district in Rajasthan will preserve the breed.
Diesel subsidy gone wrong
This refers to the editorial “Diesel: when bad policy makes for toxic hell”. The government introduced subsidy on diesel decades ago to offer economic advantage to farmers for use in tractors, to support mass transportation (via bus, train) and transportation of consumer goods. As the years passed, business houses influenced policy makers, making them close their eyes towards the misuse of the subsidy. Why cannot the government stop production of diesel-driven cars and electricity? There is a strong case for raising excise duty on the two in the next budget. Municipalities must impose a heavy tax on the use of diesel generators exceeding specifications, in offices and housing complexes.
N M Prusty
Chairperson, Sphere India
(National Coalition of Humanitarian Agencies)
In Ireland, the latest changes in road tax greatly support the sale of small efficient diesel cars. 70 mile per gallon (MPG) (1 MPG=0.42 kilometres per litre) is becoming the norm there. Diesel is available at €1.45 per litre at the pump where the government tax is 70 per cent of the price. Agricultural diesel is sold at a rate of €0.89 per litre. In the US, the laws restrict the sale of small diesel vehicles with the exception of New Hampshire where they are more common.
S M Bennet
One cannot deny the fact that modern diesel vehicles are more fuel efficient than their petrol counterparts. Instead of keeping diesel prices ridiculously low, they should be kept at par with petrol. A reimbursement system for public transport and truckers should be framed. They should produce fuel receipts in order to get refund from the government. Railways too can get the fuel directly from the fuel companies at a subsidised rate. Heavy taxing of diesel vehicles will not happen as car companies have invested heavily in diesel engine and they will never allow it.
This refers to the article “Rice originated in India” (October 15-31, 2011). Instead of getting into the debate whether it originated in the subcontinent or China, we should make efforts to increase production of the paddy crop. The present concern is the difficulty in meeting the increasing demand for water. We should introduce less water-consuming crops with high yield.
Down To Earth Clarifies
This is in response to a letter sent by D C Sharma, CEO of Vapi Waste and Effluent Management Company Limited, on November 24, raising objections on the cover story “Gentle on critical pollution”(July 1-15, 2011).
Sharma points out that in the write-up the total chemical oxygen demand (COD) value at Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) outlet has been indicated as “terminal COD” of the entire Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP).
We clarify that the data was given by the Central Pollution Control Board, Vadodara. It clearly mentions that the COD values are for outlet of CETP and not for UASB outlet. Sample collection conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) was from the CETP terminal outlet, which is outside the CETP boundary, and not from UASB outlet. To maintain transparency, the COD test was not done by CSE. CSE outsourced the sample testing to Choksi Laboratories in Ahmedabad. This fact is also indicated below the table.
Sharma also writes “few other mistakes (perhaps typographical) have also been noticed, wherein the BOD values have been reported higher than COD values”. We clarify, there was only one typographical error and an erratum for the same has already been published in the August 1-15 issue.