July 2013VANA PREMI LIfe Time Subscription - Rs. 2000/- Yearly Subscription - Rs. 200/- Single Copy Rs. 20/- Vol .14 JULY - 2013 No.7 JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION 45 OF RETIRED FOREST OFFICERS ANDHRA PRADESH July 2013 VANA PREMI VANA PREMI Vol : 14 July - 2013 No.7 Editor : Qamar Mohd. Khan The Association of Retired Forest Officers, Andhra Pradesh President : Sri. S.D. Mukherji, I.F.S. (Retd.) Tel : 23551065, 9885236493 Vice President : Sri. Krishna Bhoopal Rao, I.F.S. (Retd.) Tel : 23743774, 9866307808 Secretary : Sri K. Santokh Singh, I.F.S. (Retd.) Tel : 27962929, 9848808101 Jt. Secretary : Sri. P. Upender Reddy, Dy. C.F.(Retd.) Cum Treasurer Tel. 23342582, 9848754778 Associate Editor : Sardar Iqbal Singh Contents 1. Editorial ..................... QMK 2 2. Letters to Editor ....... 4 3. Tackling The Maoist Problem .................................... S.D. Mukherji 5 4. Dawn of 21st Centuary Father ............Dr. B. Raghotham Rao Desai 8 5. A Poacher Was Poached .................................... K. Pradeep 9 6. Green Warrior Queen ..........Sarada Lahangir 12 7. Wildlife Dwindling! .........N. Lakshminarayanan 14 8. Emigration - Why People Migrate? .......................Mehdi H. Hajiyani 17 9. The Painted Storks of Veerapura 19 10. Birthday Greetings ... Secretary 22 11. Off The Beaten Track ..............................N. Shiva Kumar 23 12. A Tale of Two Tiger Reserves ...............Sunny Sebastian 25 13. Miracle by Governance - Village with 60 Millionsires .... Ramesh Menon 27 14. Tour to Sikkim: An Everlasting Learning Experience ........................... N. Venu Latha 32 15. Invitation ................... Secretary 34 16. Rain rain go away, our cities can’t keep the water at bay ........ 35 17. The 18th Camel ......... 39 18. Healthy Steps to a Longer Life 40 19. Copper Vessels for Pure Water 42 20. News and Notes ....... 43 Executive committee members 1. Sri C. Subba Rao, I.F.S. (Retd.), 9848018796 2. Sri Sultan Mohiuddin,I.F.S. (Retd.), 9440057333 3. Sri M. Padmanabha Reddy, I.F.S. (Retd.), 9849269105 4. Sri J.V. Subba Rao, 9848486146 5. Sri A. V. Govinda Rajulu, 9440764611 Editorial Board 1. President : Ex-Officio President of Assn. 2. Editor : Qamar Mohd. Khan Tel : 40121132, 9849233624 e-mail : [email protected]
3. Associate Editor : : 4. Member : 5. Convenor : Sardar Iqbal Singh, 040-20081143, 9849909877 A.H. Qureshi, IFS (Retd.) Ex-officio Secy.of Assn TARIFF RATES FOR ADVERTISEMENTS Back side of front and last cover page (Colour) for one year ...................................... Rs. 20,000/Outer Cover half (Colour) for one year ........... Rs. 15,000/Inner Center Spread (Colour) for one year .... Rs. 20,000/Inner full page (B&W) for one year .............. Rs. 15,000/Inner half page (B&W) for one year .............. Rs. 10,000/Inner full page One Time (B&W) ....................... Rs. 2000/Inner half page One Time (B&W) ...................... Rs. 1500/- Total pages 44 1 July 2013 VANA PREMI EDITORIAL World’s growing Human Population: According to the world population clock the population of our globe on 5th June 2013 at 11 o clock was 7,121,049,902 and this population is steadily increasing. World cereal production in 2013, including rice, is forecast to reach a record 2 460 million tonnes. Global cereal utilization is forecast to reach 2 402 million tonnes in 2013/ 14, with a surplus of 58 million tonnes. According to the latest Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, there are 870 million hungry people in the world. Three-quarters of all hungry people live in rural areas, mainly in the villages of Asia and Africa. The FAO says that the world currently produces enough food for everybody. Overall, around the world in recent decades, a green revolution has taken place. It has allowed earth’s food supply to keep pace with our world’s growing population, for the most part. So, why people are still hungry? According to the FAO, lack of access to food is the problem. High domestic food prices, lower incomes and, in 2011, increasing unemployment due to the global economic situation is the reason many people cannot afford to buy the food they need. More than anything else food is wasted. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations was Think, Eat ,Save. Think, Eat, Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages us to reduce our food print. World Population Day is observed on July 11 every year, to bring awareness of global population issues. The event was established in 1989. It was 2 inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, approximately the date on which the world's population reached five billion people. Rapid rate of growth: World population had reached 6 billion in 1999; 6 billion figures were reached on October 12, 1999. World population has reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011. The increase of one billion populations was seen in just 12 years time. At the dawn of agriculture in about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was approximately 5 million. Over the 8,000-year period up to 1 A.D. it grew to 200 million. A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: Whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion. The following population growth is expected in the coming years. 2020 - 7.7 billion, 2025 - 8 billion, 2030 8.3 billion, 2040- 8.8 billion and 2045 9 billion this means that in 32 years we are expecting an increase of 2 billion population on our planet. Alarming wastage of food: While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2045), it is estimated that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. July 2013 VANA PREMI Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts. If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. So think before you eat and help save our environment! Every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger Indian scenerio: India, with 1,270,272,105 (1.27 billion) people is the second most populous country in the world, while China is on the top with over 1,360,044,605 (1.36 billion) people. The figures show that India represents almost 18% of the world’s population, which means one out of six people on this planet live in India. India is all set to surpass China in population by 2030. With the population growth rate at 1.58%, India is predicted to have more than 1.53 billion people by the end of 2030 or slightly earlier than that. The population of India since getting independence from Britain in 1947 increased almost three times. India has the largest illiterate population in the world. The birth rate is 22.22 births/1,000 populations, while death rate is 6.4 deaths/1,000 populations. Every year, India adds more people than any other nation in the world. China’s ‘One Child Policy’ in 1978, has brought tremendous results. Our current food production is 250 MT and we must double it by 2040 to feed the ever-increasing population. There is an urgent need to undertake a second Green 3 Revolution by bringing research. India now has worse rates of malnutrition than sub-Saharan Africa: 43.5% of children under five are underweight and India ranks below Sudan and Zimbabwe in the Global Hunger Index. Supreme Court recently castigated the government for allowing 67,000 tonnes of badly stored grain to rot – enough to feed 190,000 people for a month. The government has promised a new food security bill to provide cheap food for the poor. In India a billion people will be going to bed hungry and some 3,000 children die each day from hunger-related causes. Global Hunger Index placed India in the “alarming” category, ranked 65, below even North Korea. Conclusion: Though the food production is more than the requirement due to many reasons about 870 million people remain hungry on this planet. Population is enormously increasing every year, but land remains the same and it is not possible to increase our food production. If we want to increase our food production with the existing technology then we have to reduce the area of our forests which will result in decrease of oxygen, more of carbon dioxide, no water and extinction of our wild life, which is again necessary and essential for the survival of human kind, and therefore definitely not desirable. Unless we reduce our birth rate substantially and increase our food production it will be almost impossible for us to live on this planet. QMK July 2013 VANA PREMI LETTERS TO EDITOR Dear Sir, I am very much thankful to Sri C.J. Reddy for his prompt telephonic conversation with me and also his elaborate reply to the queries raised by me earlier, in Vana Premi issue of June 2013. The detailed explanations offered by him on this subject have no doubt been instrumental in eliminating certain misconceptions on my behalf. The one point I missed inadvertently in recalling my experience about toppling of the ten year old planted teak trees was that they were of the stump origin and not of the seed/seedling origin. Hence the tap root was totally absent in them. However, I agree with his contention about the role of the side/stem roots in providing stable anchorage to the teak tree in its future life. Another point on which CJR has not thrown much light is about the pollarding or forking of the trees at the height of 10'. I believe that length of a timber log also plays an important role in obtaining the valuable monetary returns from the same and this factor is sacrificed here for obtaining the larger girth. My third point is whether the heart wood or the sap wood in teak timber has a decisive role to play in deciding its strength and durability and what was the proportion of heart wood and sap wood in the samples of the planted teak on which the tests were conducted by the Timber Mechanics Branch of FRI Dehradun? The general belief that the heart wood contains more dense timber imparting strength and durability to teak timber, than its sap wood needs more enlightened corroboration from the experts. I am very glad to note that he is the same ‘Reddy garu’ of 1959-61 Batch of SFRC and hats off to his dedication and love for the teak plantations. I am eagerly looking forward to the visit to ideal teak plantations raised by him near Hyderabad, provided my health permits me to do so. V.S.Joshi. Mobile: 94222024636. Dear Sir, I was very happy to go through the brilliant editorial of yours on ‘water’ in the latest issue of Vana Premi, which was very timely too. If the magazine took its birth during KBR’s times who nurtured it so well during the period of its infancy when it germinated, became a seedling and grew into a sapling, you, as an able successor in the Editorial Section, have seen to it that the same grows into a robust tree, capable of catering to the needs of different kinds of readers having all sorts of tastes and demands. I am enclosing a small article on a contemporary topic which may be to your liking. Very shortly I will try to send another article in English, though I captioned the same in Urdu as “Cricket-mein baazigari : mubah karne-ke mutalluq sarkar-ki zu-ul-jahati” , wanting to write down the entire article in Urdu.I will try to translate the title suitably in English, since the article itself happens to be in English. With Best Wishes, remain, Yours sincerely, Dr.Raghotham Rao Desai 4 July 2013 VANA PREMI TACKLING THE MAOIST PROBLEM By S.D.Mukherji Since the gruesome killings of 28 persons including top congress leaders, its workers and policemenduring the Congress th supporting the tribal people against opening up new mining companies. Another major cause of increasing poverty among the local people is the degradation of forests and its biodiversity, a source of livelihood to the local people. The Forest Department is blamed for denying the benefit from the forest to the local people and bringing forest contractors who have exploited the forests and its inhabitants for their own benefit. Government has enacted Forest Rights Act of 2006 that confers rights to the local tribal on forestland. However, this has resulted in more forest destruction with no solution to either the backwardness of the tribal people or curbing the Maoists. On the other hand Maoists have earned crores of rupees from timber smugglers. Government is now talking of increasing the Central security forces to deal with the Maoists. Chattisgarh government is also planning to increase the state police force for fighting the Maoists. Indian Air Force has opened a new unit at Nagpur to provide air support to the security forces. Possibilities are being explored to supply sophisticated night vision equipment and radar that can penetrate through the forest cover. There are plans to erect additional mobile towers to improve the mobile 5 led ‘parivartanyatra’ in Chattisgarh on the 25 of May 2013, the newspapers are flooded with opinions on the future course of action to deal with the Maoists. A major section of public opinion considers: Maoists are terrorists and they must be crushed with all the might in the hands of the government. Others feel Maoists cannot be compared with terrorist and hence all-out offensive cannot be launched against them. Some others say: it is a socio economic problem arising out of the failure of the successive governments to provide succour to the local people living in remote forest areas. According the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs mining activity is the major cause of the misery for the tribal population. The lands of the local people have been acquired by the government and given to mining companies by giving meagre cash compensation. No meaningful rehabilitation measures were taken as a lasting solution for the poor people who lost their land, the only source of livelihood. Whereas the Maoists receive huge money regularly from the mining companies for trouble free extraction of minerals at the expense of the poor people who have lost the land. However, lately Maoists are July 2013 VANA PREMI connectivity for better communication. All this planning is to eliminate the Maoists but surely at the risk of killing more number of local people living in the remote forested areas. There is hardly any method to separate the Maoists from the local population and therefore escalation of offensive in these forested regions is going to spell disaster for the local inhabitants. It is a tragedy that in spite of huge mineral and forest resources in Maoist infested regions worth thousands of crores of rupees the tribal has remained poor whereas all others have made fortune. The civil administration has remained defunct in most of the Maoist dominated region. People living in these remote forest fringe villages have been deprived from the benefit of developmental programmes. They continue to live in pathetic condition - ill health, poor education, lack of communication, unemployment and persistent hunger - in spite of the government allocating huge amounts year after year on their welfare programmes. The local people are constantly harassed by the security forces seeking information about the Maoists. Maoists have taken advantage of this persistent backwardness of the local people and joined hands with them for finding a safe haven for themselves. This situation needs a change so that local people are not crushed in the fight between the security forces and Maoists. The poor people living in the remote forested region deserve a better livelihood and freedom from oppression. 6 The situation today is while the government is fully aware of the deplorable condition of the Maoist affected areas and trying to develop these backward regions to provide a better livelihood to the local people, Maoists are strongly opposing any development as they are afraid of losing the grip on the local people. By preventing the development of these backward regions, Maoists want to show to the local people the failure of the government steeped in corruption and excuse for development for their exploitation. The poor people crave for a better livelihood but they have no means to cooperate with the government as any such attempt is viewed seriously by the Maoists and its consequences are terrible, including elimination. Therefore, the biggest challenge for the government is to establish its credibility before the local people by breaking the barrier built by the Maoist and provide livelihood security. In order to implement the developmental strategy government has identified 82 districts in 9 states that are dominated by Maoists, tribal people and the forests – the most backward districts in the country. Government has approved an Integrated Action Plan for developing the backward areas in these districts. A committee consisting of District Collector, District Superintendent of Police and District Forest Officer have been constituted to plan and implement the developmental strategy to provide better livelihood to the local July 2013 VANA PREMI people and eliminate the Maoists domination over the area. Unfortunately, the implementation of IAP lacks the desired commitment in absence of close interaction with the affected people. The District Collector is the head of the IAP committee. He has to coordinate the various activities covering different departments of the government and, therefore, has very little time to spend with the villagers living in remote forest areas. As regards the District Superintendent of Police is concerned his role is mostly confined to mobilizing the security forces, maintain the law and order and save guard the livelihood of the people from the hands of Maoists. He has to deal with the offensive launched by the Maoists. His meeting with the villagers would, therefore, be limited and confined mostly for intelligence gathering with very little time to plan for the village development. The DFO is the only officer who is required to pass through these remote forest fringe villages regularly during the course of his visit to the forest to attend his normal duties. Similarly, his subordinate officers- Sub DFO, Forest Range Officer, Forest Section Officer and Forest Beat Officer- are also required to pass through these villages regularly in course of their field work in the forests. Moreover, majority of these villages were approached by the Forest Department to form a committee for the implementation of Joint Forest Management, a strategy for protection and development of 7 forests with the participation of the local people. DFO was, therefore, considered as an important member of the district committee for the implementation of IAP. He is best suited to visit these forest fringe remote villages, talk to the local people, find out their problems and discuss in the district committee for planning and execution of welfare measures. Unfortunately, in the actual implementation, it has been observed, the DFOs have not taken any initiative to develop the remote forest fringe villages as a part of the IAP. The state government has also not issued any specific instruction to the Forest Department for its important role in the implementation of IAP. It is time when this omission is rectified. Government must ensure that Forest Officers are fully sensitized on IAP and the developmental aspect of the forest fringe Maoist affected villages. It may not be out of place to mention that Indian Forest Service Officers are successfully working in various wings of the government, other than forest, and they can easily handle the developmental aspect of forest fringe villages, provided necessary opportunity is provided. Government may take necessary action at the earliest on these lines as forest fringe villagers are desperate for the assistance from the government to come out of persistent hunger and backwardness, an ideal situation for the Maoists. July 2013 VANA PREMI DAWN OF 21ST CENTUARY FATHER By Dr. B. Raghotham Rao Desai It was in “Abignanaa-Shaakuntalam” that the great Sanskrit poet Kaalidaasa makes a mention of “Putra Gaatra Parishvanga” pleasure which king Dhushyantha denies himself when he refuses to acknowledge, in the open court, that he had ever met Shakuntala, leave alone marrying her and begetting a son. This happened, however, to be a twist which the immortal poet brought into the drama (adapted from Veda-Vyaasa’s epic ‘Mahabharatha’) by intentionally introducing a character called Durvasa (and his curse), since the audience of those times could never accept a hero with villainous traits. And Dushyantha was the drama’s hero! The Indian society has changed at an unprecedented speed, and the new-age father feels that the best moment of his life is when his child runs into his arms as he returns home from his work; the traditional roles of the mother and father having changed equally fast in most families. Today when the mother works and possibly earns as much as her spouse, his role needs to involve tenderness, patience, innovation and security-creation through words and actions. There can no longer be an acceptance of erstwhile ‘fatherly’ qualities of sternness, non-availability, or rare treats on holidays. Not anymore the common growl is heard like “Let dad come home. I will tell him what you have done. He will fix you” from a hapless mother faced with bad behavior or bad grades from a son or a daughter. Nor the children need to quake in fear when they hear such threat 8 and await the punishments to be meted out for being rude, irresponsible in their educational activities. No more the ‘father figure’ happens to be a threat whose presence demands silence, and fear, since they are no more the sole providers who were hither-to unapproachable except through mothers. They cannot at present be so strict, not any more doling out retribution or physical punishment if a child does not come up to their expectations. Gone were the days when fathers used to be like that and mothers were seen as forgiving, acting like ‘soft cushions against the failures of life’. The new definition of a family life has successfully wiped out the ‘dreaded father’ image of the past. Fathers of today are protectors, playmates and confidantes of their children. They are no longer perceived as the only providers of the family and they are no longer obsessed with their incomes. In fact they have a new role as care-givers, as they can look after their children when the mother is away on professional duties, utilizing their ability to mix toughness with tenderness, in a beautiful manner. Thus, they enjoy the feeling of contributing to the growing years of their children. One can even state that no longer a proto-type father exists: he can be a friend or just an indulgent parent adding humour to the lives of his children. Lastly, though, it may be said that there is no given formula to become a successful father: being a father is a trial and error model of learning for the most part of it. July 2013 VANA PREMI A POACHER WAS POACHED By K. Pradeep This is an incident that took place in the beginning of my career. I have been recruited as RO in emergency batch in 1976 – underwent a short time training in Yellandu, for 6 months then worked as Range Officer, for a period of 18 months and then went for regular training at Coimbatore in 1978. The incident I am now recounting is prior to my Coimbatore training. It was the year 1978 and, I was working as a Forest Range Officer, Wildlife Management, Rajahmundry. I was the only Range Officer in the entire Division and the jurisdiction was from Srikakulam to Sullurpet. The DFO was Sri KC Augustine- a thorough and very kind hearted gentleman. The staff is very very skimpy - in fact there was no subordinate in Rajahmundry – except an attender and a jeep driver. I was a new recruit and a new to the - department, place and people in and around Rajahmundry, but my DFO was widely known and well respected. The paternal attitude towards me helped in acquiring a very sound and strong working relation. At that time the staff working in Wildlife wing is looked down- and I think the same continues even now! At that time we heard some whispers that a team of poachers are active in and around Addatheegala Range – and they have some big clout. As I mentioned earlier, there was no staff to assist me in the local enquiry – but only the strong support and encouragement of my DFO. 9 After a couple of visits to Addatheegla Range, and some discreet enquiry, I could zero in onto a fellow- a compounder in the local Govt. hospital – named Varma. He was also having a medical shop! My further proding revealed that he was good shooter, has no gun( enquiry from local police station about a license) - but can manufacture bullets! I was frequently visiting Addatheegala in the evenings/ nights and monitored the movements of Varma– which was very easysee if he is in the medical shop! It came to our notice that usually the hunting party selects holidays with full moon days. So our monitoring has narrowed down and we started concentrating the full moon days. On one such full moon day, me with DFO, our only attender and driver went to Adaathhegala – we had dinner in the forest guest house, and leaving the DFO in the rest house, I strolled towards the medical shop – it was about 9pm by then. The shop was closed. On enquiry, I learnt that Varma had some visitors in a jeep in the late evening and he closed the shop and went with them. I immediately rushed to the DFO and informed him. By then it was about 10 pm and the compounder with jeep left around 8pm. The Addatheegala range is in Kakinada Division of East Godavari district and adjoining Marripakala Range of Visakhapatnam Dist.( Of July 2013 VANA PREMI Gudem- Marripakala sanctuary- at that time the proposal itself was in the nascent stage). The usual route for hunters was – Addatheegala – Veeravaram( a hamlet in East Godavari Dt., about 15 km from Addathhegala)- Mamidipalem( in Visakhpatnam Dt.,)and Veerevaram – it is a ring road . The road to Veeravarm hamlet is connected through a narrow culvert from black top raod to Addatheegala. That means the approach to the ring road from Addatheegala is only through Culvert to Veereavaram. The approach road from Blacktop road to the culvert is a gravel road. That particular day happened to be a shandy day – and the weekly trade takes place on this gravel road. When we reached the gravel road, we observed fresh jeep tracks – which means, a jeep passed through this road after the shandy – if not, the tracks would not be so clear. Now, the question is whether the tracks were coming out from the ring road OR entering the ring road! by then my Adeline was pumping up, and I was pretty certain that we are going to hit a jackpot. But my DFO was trying to becalm me. To confirm the Jeep direction, we went into the hamlet, ( Veeravaram) – the hamlet was nothing but a sprinkling of 30 huts or so – no electricity – and it being a wintry night – all were asleep. We knocked on the door of the hut facing the road and enquired whether any jeep went in to the forest in the evening, and prompt came the answer – Yes! a Govt. jeep supposed to belong to Tribal Welfare Department- with 6 to 8 people went in to the forest a couple of hours back! The jeep halted in the hamlet to enquire about a villager, who lives in Mamidipalem – because 10 anybody leaving Mamidipalem have to pass through Veerevaram. By then it was around midnight. And our long and gripping vigil started. After some discussion, our arrangements to tackle the jeep were put in place - first we got hold of a wooden cot for our DFO to settle down – no chairs were available. The spot selected was the culvert – the other side- away from the hamlet. The plan was to allow the jeep to come on to the culvert and, I should stop the jeep on the culvert. Our jeep which will be hidden in the hamlet will block the rear of the culvert. The culvert is so narrow, that we can have them restrained in the jeep itself. I made use of a huge Terminalia arjuna tree to hide myself, so that the people in the jeep cannot see me till they reached the end of the culvert. The DFO’s cot was on the opposite to the T.arjuna tree, and he will appear to be sleeping, with a blanket over him! Around 4 am, we could see the headlights of a vehicle and all 4 of us were tense and alert – and as planned, we allowed the jeep to come on to the culvert and then I came out of my hiding and approached the Driver side and took away the keys - and the DFO came on the other side – by then our jeep came on to the culvert and blocked the rear. Our DFO took possession of a gun held by Varma sitting in the front seat. We went to the back of the jeep and lifted the flap. In our jeep head lights we saw freshly cut venison of a spotted deer in a bamboo basket, its skin , head, antlers, two huge knives and a battery operated search light. It was a Govt., July 2013 VANA PREMI jeep- and the occupants were 1) Govt jeep driver 2) Revenue Inspector 3) an attender from Tribal welfare Department 4)One DyTahsildar from Tribal welfare Dept. 5) Compounder - Varma 6) one civilian –a friend of the RI. The recording of statements, Panchanama etc. were completed and our driver drove the seized jeep while our DFO drove our jeep with the accused and brought them to the Police Station in Addatheegala, and handed over the gun and knives in the Police station. We anticipated a strong after effects – because of the involvement of a Govt., jeep and Govt., servants. To counter any such unwanted pressure, our DFO asked me to issue telegrams to some senior officers- so I sent telegrams from Addathhegala Post Office about the case and involvement of Govt jeep and staff to Secretary, Tribal Welfare, Hyderabad, CCF Hyderabad, CF Visakhapatnam, CF Rajahmundry, DFO Kakinada, Collector Kakinada and Collector Visakhapatnam. The staff and jeep are from Kakinada collectorate, the place of hunting is in Visakhapatnam district. The venison was auctioned off and amount remitted and then the accused along with the jeep were produced before the Sub Divisional Magistrate Peddapuram, who also is the RDO. Here there was lot of complications, because the SDM is from Revenue dpt., and almost all the accused are from the Revenue dpt. including a Dy Tahsildar and his jeep. Our telegrams have helped us here – such a forethought!! While we were busy in Addathhegala with auctions etc. The Spl. Dy. Collector, Tribal Welfare 11 to whom the Jeep belonged and was on camp that night in Addateegala, fled to Kakinada in RTC bus!! The trial went on for many years and concluded in 1982. Obtaining permission to prosecute govt. servants was an issue. By the time the trial commenced I was in Coimbatore- and I made several trips to Peddapuram, only to be adjourned! Then on our appeal the then SDM conceded our plea, and posted the trial to be taken up after my training in Coimbatore. By the time the trial concluded –two of the accused expired- two were suspended and retired and the A1 – the compounder was fined. We succeeded in getting a conviction- The entire credit goes to our DFO who stood as Rock of Gibraltar without bowing to any pressure, and a gem of a fire brand Asst. Public Prosecutor who dealt this case – and without being modest I too feel a little pompous for contributing in this episode. I have been threatened by Varma and his goons. I was again posted as FRO, Wildlife Management, Rampachodavaram in 1989, I visited Addatheegala- and I met Varma! He was so amiable and cordial, and he told me that after the case, he stopped hunting and became a naturalist! In fact he was one of my best informers of any poaching activities. The case at that time made waves as it was sensational –involving some senior Officers and a Govt. vehicle, and getting a conviction was the ultimate victory July 2013 VANA PREMI GREEN WARRIOR QUEEN By Sarada Lahangir Sinapalli may be a small block in Nuapada district of Odisha, but its thick forest cover attracts many a nature lover to this otherwise nondescript region. Located between the borders of Kapsi and Sardapur villages is a densely wooded hillock that the locals call Kapsi Dongar. Venture towards this verdant wilderness, and from among the trees could emerge a fierce, middle-aged woman armed with an axe on her shoulder. This is Hara Dei Majhi, the 55-year-old protector of this hillock. The illiterate tribal woman has been keeping a sharp vigil over these 11.25 acres of forest land for over three decades now. After all, this, she says, “is the legacy of my late husband” . Anang had initiated the planting of trees on what was once a barren patch at the foothills of Kapsi Dongar. He understood the vital role forests played in balancing the eco-system, and so nurtured the trees like his own children. In the beginning, Majhi was not involved in his work. “As we were poor, we depended on minor forest produce and tendu leaves to keep our home fires burning. However, due to gradual deforestation our livelihood was affected and we became daily wage labourers to feed ourselves. But Anang hardly had time for wage work 12 because he felt that the task of protecting the forest from timber smugglers was more important.” She even resented her husband’s preoccupation with the forest, as it meant he could not provide adequately for their family of five. But looking back, she says, “He made me understand the need for forest conservation. He said that it was the green cover that ensured good rainfall; that provided tribals like us with food. Gradually, I started taking an interest in his work and even helped him in guarding the trees.” Anang spent his entire life taking care of the forest, and it was amidst its green cover that he passed away in 1995. Even today, Majhi cannot forget that fateful, stormy night. “My husband lost his life while protecting the forest. It was raining heavily and he got ready with his baton, spades and proceeded towards the forest, which is about 3 km from the village. Later, when he did not return, I went to search for him with some neighbours,” she says. Majhi found Anang with severe injuries — he had hurt his head and was bleeding profusely. Although in pain, he told her that he had caught some timber thieves cutting trees. When he tried to chase them away, they attacked him July 2013 VANA PREMI and fled. As there was no government medical facility in the village, they had to wait until morning to get him treated. “Our village vaidya gave some medicine, but it did not work. My husband refused to go back home. He told me he wanted to breathe his last in the forest. He also urged me to take care of the forest,” she continues, her eyes moist. Majhi took on her husband’s unfinished business as a challenge. But protecting the forest as well as looking after three small children was easier said than done.“I had no proper source of income. I could not go to distant places for wage work, leaving behind my kids and the forest. So I worked part time as domestic help.” A typical day for her began with a one-hour patrol of the forest. Back home, she would complete household chores, feed the children and head out to work in other people’s homes. At four in the evening she once again went to the forest. “Sometimes I would stay late into the night in the danger,” she says. Requesting her neighbours to keep an eye on her children when she was away, she was convinced the forest too needed her attention. “The State’s forests are on the verge of extinction because of timber smuggling, extensive mining, and unplanned industrialisation. The forest is the lifeline for us tribal people. More than 60 per cent of tribals do not own any land. They either survive on minor forest produce or clear out a small area to cultivate pulses, ragi and millet. So, for us, it is important to save this habitat.” Local activist Bijay Kumar Sahish says there are two major threats to the forests, “First, forest fires are very common, particularly during the hot and dry months of March and April. While some are accidental, quite a few are started deliberately. It destroys the wildlife and the flora and fauna. Also, there is the other menace of timber thieves. Har Dei has been fiercely guarding the Kapsi Dongar forest from these dangers.” Incidentally, the Kapsi Dongar forest has more varieties of trees, including teak, sal, tendu and mahua, than the adjoining forest tracts. In a bid to involve the local community in her effort, in 2001 Majhi formed a committee, the Kapsi Dongar Vana Surakshya Samittee, with support from the district forest department. Over the years, as the leader of this group she has been successful in ensuring that the forest remains encroachment-free and flourishes, and has won some awards too. Sarat Chandra Panda, District Forest Officer, Khariar Forest Division, is all praise for her, “I have seen many groups protecting the forest in Odisha during my career, but Hara Dei is unique. Her dedication and love for nature has inspired many villages in the region to form Van Surakshya Samitees. Even the incidence of forest fires in our block has halved in the last five years.” Of course, these accolades do not mean her struggle has ended. With only a token monetary help from the Government, she still has to work hard to survive. At a time when forests are fast disappearing everywhere, Majhi’s unique crusade to treat every tree as a dearly loved child will continue to inspire — and, hopefully, encourage others to follow suit. “Vana Premi Salutes Majhi and Anang of Kapsi Dongar for protecting the Forests and sacrificing his life” 13 July 2013 VANA PREMI WILDLIFE DWINDLING! By N. Lakshminarayanan A perception widely prevalent among people living around forests and others is that the wildlife populations of large mammals have increased phenomenally. In regions of high intensity human-wildlife conflict like Coimbatore, Valparai and Sathyamangalam in Tamil Nadu, this perception is widespread and getting fostered with every passing day. There are several reasons for the wildlife to emerge out of forests and their appearance outside the forested areas does not mean their numbers have overshot the limit? In India, elephant is the largest mega herbivore that unfortunately involves in direct conflict with human beings, owing to many factors. Less than 25% of the total elephant habitat falls within the Protected Area (PA) network that comprises the wildlife sanctuaries and the national parks. The 14 rest of their habitat lies outside the PA network, which is a mosaic of multiple-use forests (government reserved forests), plantations and cultivation that have penetrated into the natural forests. Living outside the forested landscape is a destiny imposed on the elephants in this epoch as we have been incessantly chiselling out their habitats for our expansion. These days their survival outside the Protected Areas is extremely tenuous as exemplified by the increased conflict-related deaths. Even the 25% of the elephant habitat falling within the PA network is not completely devoid of problems. Within the PAs we have linear intrusions like roads, canals, dams, railway lines and settlements fragmenting the habitat and reducing its quality. Some of the PAs and July 2013 VANA PREMI reserved forests have a very high density of cattle that competes with elephants and other wild herbivores over the available plant biomass. Even the best large mammal habitats like the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in the Nilgiris continue to suffer annual man-made fires that destroy the precious fodder available for the ungulates. The quality of habitats has also degraded due to our intrusion resulting in the proliferation of invasive toxic plants like Lantana camara , Parthenium hysterophorus, Chromolaena sp and scores of other Forest Invasive Species (FIS) that have colonised good wildlife habitats. In many PAs, productive riparian forests and vayals (swamp fallows) that support luxuriant vegetation were taken over for paddy cultivation and thus the herbivores are deprived of food availability. The collection of huge quantities of minor forest produce that includes edible fruits and even the bamboo has depleted the food source for the wild animals. All these factors have directly or indirectly rendered wildlife such as the elephants “straying” out of their habitats. There is also a hypothesis of population constriction of large mammals in some PAs because of the indiscriminate habitat loss in the surrounding areas and the wildlife obviously seeks refuge in the areas with minimum human disturbance. This again cannot be claimed as increase in population. 15 Comfortably ignoring all these facts, there is a vehement claim that wildlife populations have increased everywhere. The human-wildlife interface has indeed increased significantly as more roads are laid inside the forests and lengthy hard edges are created around the wildlife habitats. Even the once obscure forest roads now have many visitors and the forest boundaries have been filled with tourist resorts, industries and housing colonies. Daily encounters: -Wildlife habitats continue to suffer shrinkage and fragmentation. These days an elephant or any other wildlife, for that matter, may have to ‘encounter’ human beings several times during its daily movement within its range. A decade ago elephant herds might have peacefully crossed the Mettupalayam-Ooty road under the cover of darkness. This is just not possible today with over 3,000 vehicles on average plying on this road day and night without any respite. The herds stay baffled on the roadside awaiting a lull in the traffic to cross the road. They stand exposed, being watched by hundreds of people. Many of them think that the elephant numbers have increased just because they saw them! A mere increase in the sighting rate within or outside the habitat does not mean that there is a true increase in the wildlife population. Wildlife populations, especially the large cats July 2013 VANA PREMI and even the elephants, suffer high mortality rates. The unnatural mortalities resulting from poaching, road kill and electrocution continue to haunt the wildlife populations jeopardising their very existence. Further, there is no factual basis for claiming an increase in populations as we don’t have reliable baseline information to compare the numbers over a period of time. Moreover, a scientifically accepted manner of enumerating wildlife populations is nonexistent in most of the areas. A recent article published by a renowned primatologist in Down to Earth (Title: Monkeys common no more ) claims that even the common monkeys around us are dwindling in numbers and they occur in low densities in forests. This is much contrary to the popular belief that monkey populations have exploded. Wild pigs were in the news for the wrong reasons. The Kerala government recently allowed the killing of wild pigs that ‘stray’ out of forests in some districts. This decision is based on the opinion that their numbers have exploded in the State. Wild pigs belong to the family of Suidae and are the most widely distributed prey species for tigers. All the three major predatory carnivores in our region, the tiger, the leopard and the dhole (Indian Wild dogs) predate on wild pigs. A long-term scientific study on tigers conducted in the tropical forests of Karnataka by deploying 16 techniques such as the scat (faecal matter) analysis has revealed that, on average, 9.5% of tiger’s diet constitutes wild pigs. Experts with years of field experience assert that the wild pig population is subject to high seasonal fluctuations. An increase in their numbers in some areas may be a wholly temporary phenomenon. Knee-jerk reactions to specific situations and the resultant, hasty decisions such as the lethal control of wild pigs may reduce the prey base of the predatory carnivores and even increase the humancarnivore conflict. Undeniably, the human population is exploding and our demand for forests and forest produce are reaching a point of no return. The baseless claim about the population increase of wildlife species is an emerging threat to wildlife conservation. Resultantly, there is a false complacence that the wildlife is doing well despite our negative interventions in the habitats. Major threats to long-term survival of the wildlife such as poaching and habitat loss are getting overshadowed. There is an unnecessary increase in the resentment level of the villagers living on the borders of the forests against large mammal conservation. False propagation of number increase in wildlife populations will only distract us from key conservation priorities and wipe out the last level of sympathy people have towards wildlife. July 2013 VANA PREMI EMIGRATION – WHY PEOPLE MIGRATE? By Mehdi H. Hajiyani Emigration is the act of permanently leaving one’s country or region to settle in another. There are two types of migrations “voluntary” and “involuntary” . Some of the reasons for involuntary migration are - drought, famine, religious or social or political persecution, mass human migrations – like the expulsion of Native American Indians to reservations, expulsion of Jews by Nazis, partition of India, ethnic cleansing of Bosnia, creation of Israel in Palestine, etc. are examples when people were forced to migrate. Voluntary migration is an individual or a personal decision. A person migrates to seek “better” whatever it is that he can’t find to his satisfaction in his country of origin. He carefully weighs what he is willing to give up for what he is going to find and accept in exchange. Different people have different reasons for voluntary migration education, job prospect, economic opportunity, climate, fears of religious or political discrimination, just to mention a few. I want to focus on the “voluntary migration” that most of us are witness to. More specifically the emigration of people of Indian sub-continent, to the US. In the late ‘50s and‘60s many of us, for one reason or other, chose the US or UK for higher education. This I call the “first wave of émigré” for this discussion. These émigré were educated and wanted higher education, knew and paid the 17 price, maintained the required grades in colleges and universities, worked odd jobs if necessary to support themselves, learned and adopted as best as they could the “American way” . Most of the first wave of émigré know and have experienced firsthand what it is like to leave our own country or region and be in a totally different social, cultural, economic environment. In this regard, those who came without any financial support had to “earn and learn” at the same time, were better able to adapt. After successful completion of their education a few went back. But those who decided to stay saw and were willing to accept and successfully adopt some of the virtuous qualities of the West – equality, human rights, rule of law, freedom of expression, practice of religion, and above all the US Constitution that guarantees these freedom equally to all men and women, unlike many countries we emigrated from. Once the first wave of émigré comfortably settled in the US they then were able to lawfully sponsor their “relatives” . I refer to them as “second wave émigré” . Some of these sponsored relatives were/are unable and ill-prepared to adopt and cope with their new Western environment. Primarily because they seemingly lacked “the drive” of the first wave of émigré sponsors did – to learn and educate, to July 2013 VANA PREMI compete and to do better, to improve our lot and to progress and be prosper – a more desirable way to help family and relatives. Especially the grownups of the second wave émigré and their children who were well set in their way of doing things, and were somewhat content, found it rather difficult to adapt to their new circumstances and surroundings. Soon, their glossy concept of “America” and the “American way,” faded and were replaced by reality of the “America” and the “American way” of life, which many are unwilling or unable to accept and adopt. Many found it undignified to do any job their servants and “kamwalis” did back home for them. They found themselves isolated and alienated. They began to compare and contrast some trivial aspects of life here in the US with what they left behind. They started finding flaws in the West and Western culture, not that there isn’t any. Some sought and found company of likeminded associates. The Boston bomber’s uncle called them “losers”- incapable of seeing and appreciating opportunity and adopting virtues of what this country has offered them. Some of their associates were/are radical, pariah, and religious extremists. They want and demand “freedom” and “right” to criticize and condemn many Western ways and practices, which they did not have before. However, they would not accept or allow others any such “rights” to criticize their practices or belief. They insist that their interpretation is the only right interpretation and that there can’t be and are no other interpretations. 18 Because the second wave émigré were isolated and never participated in free and open discussion or debate on any subject, they never learned what this free society called “America” is all about. Some of the second wave émigré and or their children were quite susceptible to such sermons and constant preaching of extremist viewpoints. When we the first wave of émigré landed on the shores of this land of free we were prepared to have our ways, beliefs, and our practices scrutinized and criticized, just as we scrutinized and criticized theirs, respectfully. However, the second wave émigré and or their children considered this freedom expressed by others offensive and off limits. The sermons and preaching became more inciting and violent. The mixture of Ignorance and irrational and intolerant faith is potentially disastrous. The consequence of such thinking and association of like-mindedness is irrationality, un-reasonableness, unyielding rigidity, no compromise, no tolerance of any contrary view point, close mind, no “live and let live” , no respect for others rights or beliefs, no acceptance of “I believe what I want, and you believe what you want to believe” . This we see continued today in many parts of the world. Some questions come to mind: If things are so bad in the West why do people immigrate? If those who have migrated and found the host country and its culture so unsuitable and unacceptable and not to their liking, could they go back to the country of their origin? July 2013 VANA PREMI THE PAINTED STORKS OF VEERAPURA Journeying through the village of Veerapura, Rohan Menzies discovers a mysterious connection between the people of the village and the birds that visit once a year. Is it myth, superstition, or something much deeper? Leaving behind a noisy, polluted and crowded city, traveling about 95 km down the BangaloreBellary highway, towards the border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, you find a dreamlike village called Veerapura. The rather unremarkable approach road belies its secret. Loose gravel shoots out from under the tyres as you traverse these muddy roads. With fields on both sides and shepherds guiding their flock towards grazing land, it appears to be just another village in South India. But as you get closer, the more unique this apparently normal road becomes. You begin to notice that the towering trees lining the roads are mottled with pink, you see flashes of black and white in the skies, and hear the call of hungry fledglings. The cows stand unfazed while young Painted Storks (Mycteria leucocephala) perch on their backs. A most unusual sight for city slickers, more familiar with the likes of crows and pigeons around our houses, these Storks are a far more familiar sight to the people of Veerapura. On the road to, Veerapura Painted Storks are a locally migrating species that follow the rains. They require water bodies filled with fish to feed themselves and their young. According to the IUCN Red List they are a Near Threatened Species 19 whose populations are steadily declining due to habitat loss, hunting of adults and loss of eggs due to predation. In 2002, Veerapura has had a record 5000 birds nesting in its trees, making it perhaps the largest heronry of Painted Storks in Asia. Each nesting site is vital to a struggling species. The Storks have been using this location as a breeding ground for decades now and as a result have become a huge part of the very identity of this village Veerapura is home to about four hundred people, many of whom have started moving out to larger towns and cities like Bagepalli and Bangalore. This has seen a shift in occupation as well, since a farmer’s son may no longer be a farmer, preferring instead to start his own shop or small business in a nearby town. The visible reverence that the people of Veerapura have towards the Storks was very intriguing. Most people in cities have begun to lose that kind of connect with nature. Curious, we decided to speak with the people in the village about the deep connection they have with the birds, to understand if it was symbolic of something more significant. As we moved through the village, one story kept resurfacing, recounted every time with enthusiasm; the story of one man who cared about the birds a fraction more than the rest, Mr. Venugopal. A 30 year old farmer, he has been rehabilitating injured birds in the village for over 10 years. He would pick up fledglings that July 2013 VANA PREMI had fallen from their nests, most often due to stormy weather, and bring them back to his house to give them the food and medication they needed until they were well enough to return to the trees. Over time he learnt more about rehabilitation from a wildlife expert from Bangalore, Mr. Saleem Hameed, and he was then able to dress wounds, check for fractures and administer injections, all of which improved the birds’ chances of survival. What started off as a one man army began to spark interest in his neighbours and led to other villagers joining his effort, bringing fallen birds to him for care. Even the children get involved, alerting him whenever they find a bird in distress The harbingers of good fortune; When we asked the villagers about the significance of the Storks, every answer we received was interesting. The farmers attributed their good crops to the presence of the Storks in the village. The home-makers said that it beautifies the village. Many said that the birds bring goodwill to the village. And only one young boy said it was a sign of rain. The prevailing idea was that the presence of the Storks ensures smooth functioning of everything within the village, from good crops to good health, beautification to goodwill, protection and good business. In truth, the Painted Storks are as significant to the village as the people are to it. It would seem like a large number of factors play a role in the appearance of the Storks and this in turn plays a pivotal part in the happenings of the village. It is easy for us to deconstruct the situation and analyse it logically until it is reduced to nothing, 20 but to the people of Veerapura, they know that when the trees are filled with these colourful birds, it bodes well for the village. A way of life worth protecting; Two old men who seemed to have lived lives filled with experiences told us a couple of stories that summarize the way of life of the people in the village of Veerapura. On one side of the village, a frail old man sitting under an Peepal tree slowly lifted his head and began speaking with a prominent vibrato in his voice. He told us that a few years ago, a firecracker manufacturing company tried to convince the villagers to give up their jobs and start manufacturing firecrackers for them, or they could move and allow them to setup the factory with other employees. The entire community of Veerapura came together, refusing to do either, because it would be bad for the Storks. They knew that the noise and activity would scare the Storks away, perhaps forever. The elders of the village are sentimental about the fact that the Storks have been breeding there for about a century. Mr. Narsamappa who is over 80 years old still recollects how the birds nested there when he was young. And as he told us the story I could see how meaningful the Storks were to him and to others around him. On the other side of the hamlet, under a low shed, sat another old man, Mr. Narsappa who looked much younger, with a steady voice, good hearing and definitely more adamant about telling us his story, he told us that quite recently an industrialist approached the villagers and asked them to give up their land to setup an July 2013 VANA PREMI industry. They firmly said no, and to guarantee their own protection, told the government about the Storks. The authorities helped make sure the project didn’t take off and helped protect the Storks. Symbolic science; The people of Veerapura are observant and truly appreciate the wonders of nature. As they see the Painted Storks descend from the skies as a colourful cloud, bearing rain, we see the logic behind it all. The birds follow the rains, and their appearance is therefore synchronous with the arrival of the rain clouds. If the rains fail, the birds arrive late or leave the village immediately in search of water. In this way, the birds have become a sign to the village; their arrival means the rains are not far and the crops will prosper. If they are late, it is surely a sign of trouble. The people have recently begun to notice a troubling trend of delay in arrival of the birds. They know that the reason for this is because there isn’t sufficient water for the birds. The farmers feel it too. The lakes dry up, the bore wells don’t have water and there are no other means by which they can irrigate the fields. The lack of rain also leads to harmful fluctuations in the birds’ migratory cycle because the nests are built late, the hatchlings fledge later and the birds that are meant to retreat in April sometimes stay on till August. This significantly alters the dynamics of reproduction of the Painted Storks and has a subsequently detrimental effect on their populations. 21 The people of Veerapura consider the birds an auspicious sign that the village will prosper that year, but we could so easily say that’s just how nature works. The Storks are important indicators of the rain and the good produce that follows. Interestingly, the birds are not worshipped in any way, purely respected as an important part of the ecosystem they share. The results of a simple survey can sometimes lead to something so complex, it is unfathomable to most. Although not based on scientific research or understanding, the people of the village have come to realize, through a cultural inheritance that values the Painted Storks, the birds are an essential cog in the circle of their lives. That in order to maintain the balance, the Storks and their place in the village, must be protected. Veerapura offers lessons that other towns and cities would be wise to learn from. The people could choose to sell their property and move to another location with far more money than they have right now, but they do not. They choose to stay and protect the habitat of this magnificent species. They choose conservation over self-preservation. The Painted Storks now face another threat, one that has already started to take a toll on them and the villagers. Climate change is slowly toppling all the norms and forcing everything to create new systems. The storks must fight this ever-increasing danger in order to survive. But in Veerapura, the people will fight the storks’ battles for them as long as they value the annual return of the migrating painted wonders. July 2013 VANA PREMI Birth Day Greetings We wish the following born on the dates mentioned “ A very Happy Birth Day” S.No. Name of the member Sarva Sri 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. K.Buchiram Reddy K.Madan Mohan N.Varaprasad Rao M.Prasada Rao 07-07-1932 10-07-1942 10-07-1948 10-07-1947 D.O.B. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. Rajesh Mittal Onkar Singh S.M.Selvaraj R.Sundara Vadan Ratnakar Jauhari Ajay Kumar Naik P.Adivappa A.V.Joseph 25-07-1955 27-07-1953 01-08-1953 01-08-1956 02-08-1970 03-08-1965 03-08-1953 05-08-1956 D.O.B. C.Ramakrishna Reddy 11-07-1931 M.Padmanabha Reddy 14-07-1941 M.K.Prasad B.Pratap Reddy K.Santokh Singh Dr.K.Kesava Reddy V.Parthsarathy Hitesh Malhotra Sarva Sri 14-07-1945 18-07-1928 21-07-1937 01-08-1935 02-08-1944 03-08-1952 D.O.B. S.No. Name of the S.F.S. Oficer Sarva Sri 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. N.Qadar Vali A.Shankaran S.Ravishankar Smt.S.Sujatha B.M.Chanakya Raju Smt.T.Jyothi Mrs.G.Krishna Priya V.Anjaneyulu Smt.I.Padmaja Rani B.Janaki Rao Ms.M.Babita P.Dhanraj Smt.M.Hima Sailaja L.Ch.Tirupaelu Reddy 06-07-1960 16-07-1956 16-07-1964 18-07-1975 18-07-1957 23-07-1975 24-07-1982 24-07-1966 26-07-1976 26-07-1961 27-07-1972 28-07-1963 29-07-1980 01-08-1956 Secretary S.No. Name of the I.F.S. Oficer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Prashanth Kumar Jha N.Pratheep Kumar Dr.Chandra B.Malasi Tejsingh Kardam Rahul Pandey D.Nalini Mohan Swargam Srinivas N.Shyam Prasad Dr.K.Gopinatha Mohd.Ibrahim 07-07-1959 07-07-1963 08-07-1957 10-07-1954 14-07-1974 15-07-1962 15-07-1962 16-07-1955 21-07-1963 22-07-1954 22 G.Chandrasekhar Reddy 18-07-1965 July 2013 VANA PREMI OFF THE BEATEN TRACK By N. Shiva Kumar Wildlife watching is a tricky occupation and to conduct the arduous task of wildlife census nonstop from noon-light to moonlight is even more complicated. Despite the prevailing heat conditions and a sizzling temperature of 44 degreess Celsius, a full-scale wildlife census was recently conducted at Sariska and Ranthambhore wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan. On May 25 and 26, nature lovers congregated at Sariska National Park (SNP), located a mere 200 km from Delhi. The reason behind wildlife enthusiasts and trigger-happy photographers making a beeline for the park was that rare opportunity to experience animal census operations firsthand. While it was adventure for some to spend a night in the forest, for others it was a getaway from the daily drudgery of city life. Certain first-timers thought that it is a fun exercise, but in reality, it is serious work of conservation. Spread over 850 sq km, SNP is home to a variety of fauna such as spotted deer, chinkara, nilgai or blue-bulls, jackals, hyena, leopards and reintroduced wild tigers. Having an undulating rocky terrain with wide valleys, the forests comprise of typical dry deciduous trees that dramatically change colours with the seasons. The forest is lush green in the monsoon with numerous streams and mini waterfalls; turn invigorating with balmy atmosphere in the winter, but dramatically turn tinder dry in the summer. Summers are chosen for animal counting because the animals scurry for shady corners during this time — making the job easier for 23 forest officials. The preferred day-night invariably coincides with a full moon when there is ample light for easier sighting. The wildlife census is a 24-hour non-stop vigil from atop a strategically chosen spot that is usually a makeshift platform called machan made of wooden logs and perched high upon a sturdy tree. Mostly all machans are rickety and pretty uncomfortable, giving sore bottoms by the end of the exercise as I had experienced during my participation in various such censuses. According to the District Forest Officer (DFO) at SNP, the waterhole technique is applied where animals are counted from a hiding place or machan as they visit waterholes. The survey is taken at a time when there is the least availability of water at all water sources in the entire census area. To facilitate this method of counting, 271 machans were specially built overlooking water points which are basically waterholes to quench the thirst of small and big creatures. Sharad Khanna, CEO of Indian Wildlife Adventures who escorted a team of volunteers from NCR, said: “The waterhole survey started at 10 a.m. and continued throughout the night until the next day till 10 a.m. with the help of a fact-sheet where species and their total numbers were diligently recorded. Use of binoculars and cameras were permitted for better viewing and determining the sex and age of the animals with help of experienced forester who accompanies each volunteer.” The result obtained is an index of wildlife animal presence in that particular area. At the end of July 2013 VANA PREMI the 24-hour exercise, the available data is computed to arrive at a guesstimate. Data thus compiled over the years will show results that can be deciphered for better conservation methods by researchers. Though wildlife census involves many more practices like pugmark methods, scat sampling, roadside counts, pellet group count, cameratrap method, waterhole census in the most widespread and comprehensive. The technique not only covers the entire sanctuary but also involves volunteers so they also get to appreciate and participate in the nation’s wildlife conservation, informed the DFO. On an earlier occasion, to study the status of wildlife population in Sariska, I was placed at a prime location and provided with water and food. While the daytime was scorching, it also gave me chances to be up-close with birds and beasts. As the beautiful big orb of the moon rose on the horizon, there was some respite from the heat but soon this turned miserable as the temperatures dipped to shivering standards. In the wee hours, there was temporary cloud cover and suddenly a resounding roar shattered the silence of the night but nothing was visible. Until daylight dispelled darkness and forest officials came to take us back to the base camp, it was not known that it was a leopard that let out the spinechilling roar. The tell-tale pugmarks revealed it all. SFRC ALUMNI MEET BHOPAL XIVth SFRCians meet BHOPAL from 24th October to 27th October, 2013. Inaugural Function on 24-10-2013 at 4-00 PM followed by cultural programmes , Happy Hours & Dinner 25-10-2013 Visit to SANCHI STUPA in the forenoon &Lunch.Visit to Lord Shiva temple at Bhojpur in the Afternoon, followed by Happy Hours & Dinner. 26-10-2013 Visit to local places in Bhopal followed by LUNCH, Happy Hours & Dinner. 27-10-2013 Vaedictory Function from 10-00 AM to 12-00 Noon followed by LUNCH & Departure. Accommodation is available from 24th Noon onwards only. Subscription- Rs.16000/= for Couple & Rs. 8000/= for Single person on twin sharing basis. Last date to receive subscription is 31st JULY, 2013. Account payee D.D. payable at BHOPAL to be drawn in the name of “ XIV th ALUMNI SFRC MEET BHOPAL 2013” & sent to Sri. UMAKANT PARASHAR, Secretary, XIVth SFRC Meet Bhopal, C/14, MIG, Nehru Nagar, Kotra Sultanabad, Bhopal (M.P.) Contact No. of Secretary.... 91-9425008056 E-mail ID [email protected]
Note:- Indicate your name, batch & State on the back side of the Cheque. D.D. should accompany your Bio-Data. 24 -Upender Reddy July 2013 VANA PREMI A TALE OF TWO TIGER RESERVES By Sunny Sebastian First there was the Sariska debacle in which all the tigers were found missing in the reserve in Rajasthan’s Alwar district sometime in 2004-05. Then there was similar misfortune in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna Tiger Reserve in February 2009 — the wild cats became extinct there. Sariska led the way soon by reintroducing tigers under a recovery plan with the support of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in June 2008. Panna followed suit in March 2009. It reintroduced one female each from Bhandavgarh and Kanha. Thereafter, it appears, both the reserves charted their own journeys. The Panna experiment turned out to be a big success. The 576-sq.km reserve, spread over Panna and Chattarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh, soon became home to a flourishing population of big cats. The reserve, 25 km from Khajuraho, once ravaged by problems, has now 12 tiger cubs, besides the five adults brought in as part of the reintroduction. And that gives Sariska, the leader, a complex, for its three tigresses are yet to give a litter. The tale of the two reserves came in for comparison this weekend at Alwar when the main protagonists of the tiger reintroduction process got together to discuss the rebuilding 25 of Sariska. “Where there is a will there is a way,” said R. Sreenivasa Murthy, Field Director in the Panna Tiger Reserve, giving a presentation on tiger relocation and their successful breeding. The Panna story included the truancy of the lone male, which apparently showed “homing” instincts to repeatedly move in the direction of Pench — it had to be brought back with the help of 70-strong forest staff and four elephants for a second time. The Panna experiment did not stop at just reintroduction. The park authorities opened a new chapter in conservation by introducing two orphaned female cubs to the reserve in March 2011. They were the litters of a collared tigress that got killed in a fight with another in Kanha in May 2005. They were picked up and handreared for one-and-half years to be released into an enclosure in Kanha. “The Panna team met with success in the rewilding of the tiger. One of them, T4, delivered cubs in November 2011,” said Mr. Murthy. Mr. Murthy and H.S. Pabla, who retired last year as the Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh, said they did their part and left the rest to the tigers. “In Sariska, females ST2 and ST3, showed signs of pregnancy but no litters were July 2013 VANA PREMI produced. The cause of not breeding is not known,” said K. Sankar, scientist with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, who has been part of the Sariska experiment. “There appears to be no disturbance to the tigers. The prey density is one of the best in the country. However, the human habitation inside the park surely is an obstacle. In fact, the Sariska tigers have only 50 sq.km in the 882-sq.km reserve for themselves.” While some experts, including Sunayan Sharma, president of the Sariska Tiger Foundation, which organised the workshop, felt that the radio collars around their necks might be hampering the breeding, others emphatically dismissed it as inconsequential. “There is no connection between the radio collar and breeding,” said Dr. Sankar. “We have consulted the NTCA and they are of the opinion that collars cannot be the reason,” said U.M. Sahai, Head of the Forest Force, Rajasthan. What made all the difference in Panna? “I have no explanation why tigers are not breeding in Sariska and they do in Panna,” said Mr. Pabla. His suggestion to the Rajasthan authorities in this connection included introduction of breeding tigresses — instead of virgins — and not to have too many males around. Mr. Murthy said the presence of elephants in Panna was of great help to tigers. Moreover, Panna had an advantage of not having any village inside. Raghuveer Singh Shekhawat, Field Director, Sariska Tiger Reserve, is confident of a breakthrough in the reserve. “What is all this fuss about litters? We need to leave certain [things] for the tigers to decide,” said Samir Sinha, author and head of TRAFFIC India. Courtesy: The Hindu PEOPLE, MASSES, DEMOCRACY, POLITICS AND POLITICIANS Plato defined ‘people’ as “Swinish multitude” for; they follow blindly, more often than not, the wrong leader. Another philosopher jokingly said that there is no need for ‘M’ in the word, ‘Masses’ as the word with or without ‘M’ means the same. Another wise man gave the derivation of the word, ‘Democracy’ as demon’s autocracy. Some say that these definitions really apply to the present day ‘People’, ‘Politics’ and ‘Polticians’. Source: The Hindu dated January 7, 1986; Courtesy: K.B.R. 26 July 2013 VANA PREMI MIRACLE BY GOVERNANCE VILLAGE WITH 60 MILLIONAIRES! By Ramesh Menon I wish Govt. India and the state govts. should publicise this achievement of the Village on a large scale using all media available. I am sure even if 10% of the villages in the country follow the example many problems that the villages face will be solved. I also wish some NGOs take up this work and spread the word. MIRACLE BY GOVERNANCE: - A village with 60 millionaires! Once impoverished and droughtprone, Hiware Bazar in Maharashtra is a shining example of how a visionary leader can use good governance to make degraded areas resourcerich and transform the future of its people through empowerment and inspiration. Raosaheb Pawar, 85, a former wrestler, cycles to the village square at Hiware Bazar in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra to sit under shady trees and chat with others, most of them as old as him. Life is good for all of them as they have become prosperous, and often the conversation is about their village that was such an unliveable place 25 years ago. Raosaheb thought that most of the villagers would die of poverty and hunger. Today, a deep sense of joy and gratitude swells within him as he talks about how just one young sarpanch came into their lives and transformed their future. He proudly says he owns 45 acres of lush 27 fertile land, one tractor, one harvesting machine and three motorcycles. His annual turnover: Over Rs. 15 lakh. He is not the only one. There are 60 millionaires in the village today who are all farmers! Just a little over two decades ago, Hiware Bazar was a village without hope. It was racked with droughts, year after year. There was no water in the wells. The land was seriously degraded as the trees had been cut and used as firewood or sold. There were no job opportunities. There were numerous illicit liquor dens and alcoholism was tearing into the social fabric. Domestic violence was naturally rampant. Remembers Raosaheb: “We lived in a very ordinary poor village, but were happy with our simple lives. But after 1972, when a severe drought struck, the peace was shattered. People became irritable and restless as the struggle to stay alive became severe. Petty reasons were enough to trigger off bitter quarrels as there was so much despair and frustration. Villagers started consuming liquor and it added to our ruin. Many of us left our empty fields and migrated to nearby cities to work as daily wage labourers.” Poor Governance: - There was no governance worth the name. The village was sliding towards July 2013 VANA PREMI disaster. As India started to ramp up economic growth, new opportunities began to sprout and young Indians started dreaming of a resurgent India. The youth in Hiware Bazar wondered why they too could not be a part of that dream. What the village needed was a visionary leader. Thus, they got together in 1989 and persuaded Popatrao Pawar, the only post-graduate in the village, to contest for sarpanch. Popatrao was just in his mid-twenties and his family wanted him to take up a white-collar job as they saw no hope of him doing well if he stayed on in the village. As it was, 90 per cent of villagers had already migrated. Hiware Bazar was no place to live in. Despondency, hopelessness and unaddressed anger punctuated their lives. But the youngsters of the village just would not let him think of anything else - they insisted that he take over as sarpanch and lead them to a new dawn. A bureaucrat revered Popatrao also had other dreams. He wanted to excel in cricket and make it to the Maharashtra Ranji team. But the youngsters of the village just would not let him think of anything else - they insisted that he take over as sarpanch and lead them to see a new dawn. Ultimately, when he announced that he would contest, the elder contestants withdrew and he was elected unopposed. As soon as he took over, he got the liquor dens closed down and banned the consumption of liquor, tobacco, paan and gutka. There was scarcely any opposition as the whole village knew what addiction had done to them and their dear ones. 28 Says Laxman Pawar, a farmer: “When the liquor dens were closed, we saw hope for the first time.” Water management: - The next step was to ensure that every rain drop that fell in the village stayed within and did not flow away. Numerous check dams were built by the villagers as Popatrao told them that they should be proactive, not wait for the government to do everything. Trees were planted before the rains every year. Ponds were dug up to store rain water that gradually enriched the water table. Soon, they had created 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 32 stone bunds, and nine check dams. “We used just allocated state government funds. The shramdan cut costs and also ensured quality work. It was as if we were building it for ourselves and for our children. Participatory governance goes a long way,” says Popatrao. Being in the rain shadow region, Hiware Bazar got just about 15 inches of annual rain. Soon ponds and trenches stopped rainwater from flowing out of the village. After the very first monsoon, the irrigation area increased from 20 hectares to 70. “ In 2010, the village got 190 mm of rain, but we managed well because of water management,” says Habib Sayyed, who works closely with Popatrao on monitoring the water situation. Watershed management has also helped them harvest multiple crops. Before 1995, there were 90 open wells with water at 80-125 feet. Today, there are 294 open wells with water at 15-40 feet. Villages in Ahmednagar district drill nearly 200 July 2013 VANA PREMI feet to hit water. Hiware Bazar village: -In the course of a few years, with the water level in the wells rising, farming became a full time activity. It immediately created conditions for prosperity to bloom. In 1995, 168 of its 182 families were below the poverty line. Today, government estimates put it at only three. But Popatrao says that by Hiware Bazar’s definition, there are 12 BPL families. The village considers a family under BPL if it cannot have two full meals a day, cannot pay for children’s education and cannot afford health-care services. “Give us another one year to make Hiware Bazar a BPL-free village. No one here will be poor,” says Popatrao, as the village administration is already working on a strategy to draw them out of poverty. In 1995, only one-tenth of land in Hiware Bazar was arable. Out of a total of 976 hectares, 150 hectares was rocky. Nature was against them as there were recurrent droughts. Now, even that stubborn land is being tamed with the rocks being removed and the land ploughed so that sowing can start when the rains come. AnshabapuThange had two acres lying fallow 15 years ago. But once water was available, he went back to farming. Today, he has 25 acres growing maize, flowers and fodder. He also has 30 buffaloes yielding 250 litres of milk a day.“Earlier, we did not have grain to eat. It is water that helped us become rich,” he says. Such success stories abound in this village that has 235 families and a population of about 1,250. In 1995, the monthly per capita income was around Rs. 29 830. Now, it has crossed Rs. 30,000. Healthy Practices: - Hiware Bazar looks different. What really stands out is that it is squeaky clean. There is not a single piece of garbage on the roads. How many sweepers has the village panchayat employed? None. Popatrao told the villagers that each of them has to keep the village clean as they owned it and it was not for sweepers to do the job. The cement houses along well-planned clean roads are pinkish brown. There is a sense of discipline and order. And that strict order applies to open defecation and urination. Every house has a toilet, a fact that few Indian villages can boast of. Many houses use bio-gas, doing away with polluting fuel. The fields are lush with maize, jowar, bajra, onions and potatoes. Sugarcane and banana cultivation are not encouraged as these crops demand lot of water. Hiware Bazar is an oasis in a drought-racked area. No wonder, the village sees reverse migration today. Villagers who had left to become daily wage labourers are now returning to life in this village that has its rewards. Once it became sustainable, there was prosperity. Farming was no more a bad word. 93 families have returned since 1997. More importantly, aspirations have increased with a better and peaceful lifestyle back home. School students from the primary level go through a compulsory course on water literacy. To ensure that water is not over-used, water budgets are designed; cropping patterns are prescribed only upon estimation of water use and measurement of water levels. Monthly July 2013 VANA PREMI readings are taken to calculate the amount of water available. In 2007, the village won the National Water Award for community-led water conservation. The water audits determine which crops can be grown in a season, says Shivaji Thange who works closely with the watershed committee. In the mid-nineties, a five-year plan was drawn up for ecological regeneration, integrating available government schemes. Around 10 lakh trees were planted increasing the forest cover and raising the water table. The temperature also fell by two per cent with the greenery. Babool trees used to be cut for fuel, but now, they are being protected as villagers harvest gum from it that is priced at Rs. 2,000 a kilo. The forest department is assisting villagers, making it a new commercial proposition. Participatory Governance : -As villagers were pulled in to make decisions and then implement them, there was no opposition as they got the feeling of ownership. The village was not divided by narrow politics.“We monitored everything we did so that funds were utilised properly. We had audits of all the work we did,” says Popatrao. There is a different gender sensitivity, too, that one sees here. The gram panchayat has now decided that the second daughter’s education and marriage expenses will be taken care of by the village. In the sevenmember panchayat, three are women. Sunita Shankar Pawar, is the sarpanch this year but 30 Popatrao as deputy sarpanch is the cynosure of all eyes. To improve farming and livestock production, the villagers took bank loans. Last year, the disbursement touched Rs.38 lakh. Late P.C. Alexander who was Maharashtra’s governor, found it remarkable that Hiware Bazar villagers repaid 100 percent of their loans, while the rich in India had defaulted with over Rs. 65,000 crore in unpaid loans! Introducing Simple Ideas: - As farming increased, so did work. Getting labour was expensive, so Popatrao introduced the idea of collective farming. When a farmer is sowing, others join in to help so that he saves on labour. This practice has caught on and has created a new sense of belonging among all of them. Popatrao says that it is not money that can bring about rural change, but people working together to reach common goals without caste, creed and politics playing spoilsport. Popatrao turned to concentrate on another activity that had the potential of bringing villagers additional revenue. He got them to stop cattle from grazing in the forest as it had ecological implications. Instead, he persuaded them to grow more fodder as there was water. The focus on livestock resulted in the gradual increase in milk production bringing in steady revenue. In the mid-1990’s, milk production was just about 150 litres a day. It has touched over 4,000 litres a day today. The sarpanch did not July 2013 VANA PREMI rest on his initial laurels. He got the school working which was almost non-functional. Once again, children started going to school. He started a children’s parliament which monitored if teachers were regularly attending the school and if the students had any complaints. As students completed school, the desire to study further now takes them to a nearby college. In fact, thirty-two students from the village are now studying medicine. There is no doctor in the village.“There is no need of a doctor here as everyone is healthy. No one can fall sick when the streets and houses are clean. We do not have open sewage systems, garbage lying around or open defecation which spreads disease,” says Popatrao proudly. He motivated villagers to adopt family planning, take care of their health and hygiene, and even advocated that couples take a HIV test before marriage. Popatrao had a different outlook and villagers did not object as he always explained his ideas at meetings before taking any decision. Collective decisions have helped keep rancour away. The village has just one Muslim family and as there was no mosque for them to offer prayers, one was built for them. Banabhai Sayed and his family take part in all festivals and effortlessly sing bhajans. Thinking Ahead: - The village has always thought ahead. In 2008, the gram sabha passed a resolution requesting the avoidance of using 31 cars within the village to save fuel; cycles could be used instead. If villagers want to go to Ahmednagar about 17 km away, they resort to a car pool. Most farmers opt for motorcycles. Popatrao has now been made chairman of Maharashtra’s Model Village Programme that aims to create 100 villages like Hiware Bazar. He says he succeeded because of the participatory approach adopted and embraced by people who decided what they wanted and brought in need-based feasible plans. “I took 21 years to transform my village. Now, I have zipped the strategy to take just two years. With community participatory approach, we can create a new era of rural change.” While tangible changes are visible, it is intangible lessons like change of consciousness, redefining political goals, willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the common good and cohesiveness in decision making that make Hiware Bazar a lesson for rural India. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, a UN report, points out how looking after nature makes both economic and ecological sense. In India, Hiware Bazar has shown how it actually works. Ramesh Menon is a Delhi-based author, journalist and film maker. He got the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism for a piece that he wrote for India Together on pesticide poisoning in the fields of Punjab. July 2013 VANA PREMI TOUR TO SIKKIM: AN EVERLASTING LEARNING EXPERIENCE By N. Venu Latha “The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” -Samuel Johnson Travelling is a wonderful means to experience life and Nature. It is said that practical and real life experiences result in better learning to the theoretical knowledge. This proves to be an absolute truth. I was fortunate to be a part of the group moving on a 13-day exposure visit to Sikkim. The trip was expected to be a training programme for the department but in addition, it was a mind refreshing, thought provoking and self realising motive towards life and Nature as its backdrop. It was in March 2003, we started for Sikkim. We not only witnessed but also experienced the spectacular view of the sun-rise at Tiger hills in Darjeeling on the way to Sikkim. The huge mountains covered with snow in Yumtang are a delight to visitors’ eyes. The immense power of the Nature either in balancing or in destroying is evident there through the drastic and unexpected changes of weather and its adverse consequences. Obviously in such places, life is only on hard work, simplicity and health. This becomes the bottom line meant to learn and remind its importance in life. 32 The so called comforts of sophisticated and busy urban lives somehow lack the quality and postpone the ability to capture the real essence of living. It is only after a visit to such a Nature treated place, one can unveil the truth in life. The local people are observed to believe only in hard work and sincerity. Their innocent and healthy smiles reflect their fair heartedness, and minds with unpolluted thoughts irrespective of gender and age. It taught us a point to remain positive towards life rather than transforming ourselves according to the changing situations or experiences that are just a part of life. It is obvious that such positivity tends to have a good impact on health and its maintenance. This may be the core reason why hospitals are hardly spotted there; where as we have an otherwise and saddening situation here, as hospitals and medical shops are found on every nook and corner of the street. After having been to Sikkim, one can completely accept the fact that a hospital is not an indispensable part of our lives. A close observation into the lives of the people on mountains reveals their hard work and makes us realize how much we overlook the need of daily physical exercise by our bodies. July 2013 VANA PREMI People there mostly move on foot, no matter how long the distance may be. Walking is their major mode of transport irrespective of the extreme cold temperatures. We experienced a very low temperature of -7 degrees centigrade in Gangtok that is around 5400 metres above the sea level. Their well-built body frames are proofs for their habitual long walks. They lead simple lives devoid of luxuries and its complexities; such lives provide enough time for self to enhance right thinking and allowing them to remain self-made. On contrary, our lifestyle seems to be tailor-made and mechanical with many complexities that can only result in blind-fold treading, at times unknowingly and at times knowingly, being helpless. The scenic beauty of Sikkim is a treat to eyes. The huge mountains with a touch of snow to it improving its beauty that stands for brevity. And the beautiful valleys completely covered with water-falls and pastures that prove to be no less. Orange valley is one of such kind. The valley is turned to a beautiful tourist spot making use of its natural beauty with slight intervention of man’s artistic knowledge and skill. In spite of such nature filled surroundings, every house and every hut is found beautifully decorated with bright and attractive coloured potted orchid varieties at its entrance. Some plants are arranged in the balcony, some in the hanging pots and some elegantly placed on the roof top. These skills of decoration exhibit their taste and 33 love for beauty and Nature that inevitably brings a smile on face. Such an expression is completely ignored in our world of concrete and technology that can only provide more of infotainment rather than realising and motivating everyone to do their sincere share of duty to conserve Nature. Paradoxically, it is only we who are in dire need of fresh air and water. The frozen Tsango lake on the way to Nathula Pass gives an impression of flowing marble floor. The flowers and leaves welcome throughout the journey with its panorama of colours and seem to be like a life giving source. By this it can be understood that sometimes silence can express better and effective to words. Found in its greenery, to mention some tree varieties are Pine, Rhododendron, Tea rose and Deodar. Every inch of Nature’s beauty seems to be a perfect picture of God’s creation. The strength of the age old trees standing erect against all odds reminds us of the popular saying of a philosopher: “Samtal mein sabhi akadte aur itrate hain. Pahaadon par aadmi toh kya ped bhi seedhe ho jaate hain.” In normal and comfortable conditions all pose to be great and try to express it on others in an improper and unreasonable manner but it is only in the adverse condition that not only one’s reality is brought out from within but also the deforms tend to take a proper form. So is every situation and experience leaves a learning July 2013 VANA PREMI impression in one’s life. It is not just a Nature-loving person but a heart that either has an urge to explore or is quick in response to God’s magnificent creation, is sure to enjoy Sikkim. The quantum of solace that lies in Nature’s absolute silence topped with the cool breeze blowing mild against one’s face with closed eyes is worth experiencing. As if all this is not enough, even the human’s work of art in conserving Nature is evident. The techniques involved in the safe disposal of water from the mountain slopes in order to prevent soil erosion and also to protect the trees on the slopes. The slogans and proverbs found all along the road-side treat the visitors’ brain with enough philosophy and intellectuality. Overall the tour can be concluded as educative woven in Nature’s delightful beauty that showed a right and healthy path to life. Undoubtedly, we returned from Sikkim with an everlasting impression in our minds, completely inspired and enlightened self. This piece of writing filled with invaluable and everlasting memories, and experiences throughout the 13-day tour to Sikkim is a form of gratitude to Sri. Surendra Pandey, the person who gave such a beautiful and meaningful shape to the tour. INVITATION The Association of Retired Forest Officers, Andhra Pradesh, Congratulates the following Forest Officers, who are retiring from service on attaining the age of superannuation on the dates mentioned against their names and cordially invites them to join the Association of Retired Forest Officers to keep in touch with their old colleagues and to keep themselves occupied. Name of IFS Officer Date of Retirement 1. Sri Onkar Singh 1.Sri M.S.Devikar 2. Sri S.M.Selvaraj Sri. K. Santokh Singh, Secretary Sri. P. Upender Reddy, Jt.Secretary 31-7-2013 31-7-2013 31-7-2013 Mobile Number Mobile Number 9848808101 9848754778 For further details they may contact the following – Crossed Cheque for Rs.2000/= drawn in favor of “The Association of Retired Forest Officers” may be sent to the undersigned towards Life Membership of Association P.UPENDER REDDY Jt.Secretary cum Treasurer, Quarter No.2/B , P.S.Nagar, Vijay Nagar Colony, HYDERABAD- 500 057. -Secretary 34 July 2013 VANA PREMI RAIN RAIN GO AWAY, OUR CITIES CAN’T KEEP THE WATER AT BAY Breaking news! The monsoon is here! It hit Kerala on June 1 and with that put an end to newspapers stories on drought in India highlighted by pictures of farmers standing on cracked earth and staring up at the sunny skies. However, very soon there will be Page-1 picture spreads of water-logged cities with traffic jams and harried people titled “The city is drowning”! Let’s not blame the media. We are as responsible for hyping up this situation as is the media. People in cities have forgotten how to welcome the monsoons. While the heat is sweltering, we pray for rains but when the rain comes, we don’t know how to use the water and we only focus on the commotion that it causes. Will the roads be clear or will there be jams? Will we get an autorickshaw easily or will we have to pay five times the rate? That’s what we are concerned about and it’s the same across most Indian cities. Metros under water:-Bangalore had its first pre-monsoon shower on May 23 this year. Rather than people being out on the streets singing and dancing in the rain, they had to worry about flooded major connecting roads, water logging and falling trees. The situation is quite similar in other parts of India as well. When Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010, a little extra rain and release of water from a barrage 35 upstream threw the national capital into chaos. There was water everywhere - from the popular Tibetan flee market near the Inter-state Bus Terminus to the ground floor of the Commonwealth games village, which housed athletes from different countries. Despite several warnings, the Games village was constructed in the Yamuna floodplain, which was meant to absorb excess rain water. The construction left no space for the water to seep into the ground and therefore caused flooding. In August 2000, floods in Hyderabad washed away 77 slums near the Hussain Sagar Lake. Curiously, the Musi River that runs along the city, did not have much water. This meant that flooding only happened due to local rainfall and not due to the rain in an upstream area, which would’ve caused the water in the river to rise as well. The epitome of urban floods happened in Mumbai on July 26, 2005. The city had 37 inches of rainfall within a day, most of it within five hours. One-third of the city was flooded and all essential services, including the robust suburban rail network, were shut down. About 900 people were swept away and many went missing. For the first time, floods did not mean just reduced mobility for middle-class office July 2013 VANA PREMI goers in a city, but death in real terms. Chennai, situated near the sea, faces floods almost every year, thanks to good rainfall and bad drainage. “Closing of schools due to flooding every year is common in many parts of Chennai,” says an article. Surat in the western state of Gujarat, an otherwise planned city, faced a major catastrophe in 2006. 150 people died and a number of farm animals drowned when the gates of the Ukai dam opened to release excess water from the region upstream of the city. 1999 was the year of floods in Kolkata. “The city turned into a lake. With water mixing with dirt and sewage overflows, the stench in many areas was unbearable,” said a news article. There were several news reports asking why a century-old crumbling sewerage was being blamed when 30-year-old new areas were also getting flooded. The wrath of ‘Purandar’: -In Indian mythology, Indra the rain God also has another namePurandar which means destroyer of cities and forts. “When the town planning of a certain city was faulty, Indra manifested his Purandar form to destroy it. The present destruction of cities is thus easily explained,” says environmentalist Anupam Mishra. The rain God pours water designated for each region. If we do not have a proper container to hold that water, it will just flow off or get stuck on roads like it does now, he 36 says Meteorologically, there is no major upward or downward trend of rainfall for the last 200 years, but a decrease in rainfall in the last 20 years with a contrast record of increasing floods has been experienced in Chennai. Thus, the oftcited reason by administration for urban floods - heavy rainfall in a few hours - does not hold. It is only an excuse for bad planning in the cities. The root cause of the problem is that cities have become less dependent on their own water sources. The number of water bodies in all major cities of India has drastically come down over the last three decades (see graph below). ‘Mumbai Marooned’ a citizens’ report on the 2005 Mumbai floods says that the builderpolitician nexus has knowingly and intentionally suffocated the city’s open spaces for commercial purposes. This loss of and subsequent commercialization and concretization of open spaces has meant that water, which previously could seep into the soil has practically nowhere to go, leading to July 2013 VANA PREMI flooding, it says. Instead of introspecting and understanding the reasons for their sources drying up, the cities looked outside. Bangalore turned to the Cauvery, Hyderabad to the Krishna and Delhi to the Ganga and now all the way up to the Giri near Renuka in Himachal Pradesh. “City administration feels that water demand cannot be fulfilled locally. So the city with more political clout goes farther away to get its water. Meanwhile, property rates keep rising and politicians and builders make money by trying to sell off floodplains as prime residential destination,” says Anupam Mishra. “But when it comes to monsoon, you can’t dictate God that we already have water for our need so please give us only this much rainfall,” he says. These floodplains and lakes in the low-lying parts of a city, did not just fulfil the water needs of a city, but also drained it off the excess rain water that poured there. When construction blocked the path of water, it led to water-logging on the city roads. The blame then fell on the storm water drains which in most cases, were designed very long ago and were not capable of handling the excess water that seeped into the ground. The ‘Mumbai Marooned’ report says that the city’s drainage system was designed in the early 20th century for a maximum rainfall of 25 mm per hour, assuming that half the rain would be absorbed by the soil and only half would flow into the drainage system. With the onset of rampant and indiscriminate urbanization, most areas are now paved, concreted or asphalted. As a result very little 37 rainwater is absorbed into the ground. Thus even at one inch per hour, the drainage system is having to cope with almost twice its intended capacity, says the citizens’ report. Natural drainage or the slope of a city was never kept in mind when cities were planned, says Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, an NGO in Delhi. “Ring road in Delhi is the finest example of that. There are no culverts to discharge excess water. There was a stream feeding into the Yamuna where the busy ITO road stands today and one can see that it is flooded first when rainfall happens. Not just this all bus stands in Delhi, are situated on lakes. If we tamper with the area where rain water is supposed to rest, then we might as well be prepared for the wrath of floods,” he says. “Typically, the rain water that drains off an empty plot of land (run-off ) is 10%. However, build a house on the same site and almost 90 per cent of the rain falling will runoff as storm water. No storm water drain can handle so much flow,” says S. Vishwanath, an expert on rainwater harvesting, especially when they are already polluted by sewage, industrial and household waste. “The government should start cleaning drains in February at least so that passage for rain water is clear. But they wake up only in May when monsoon is right in the face and then too, debris collected from the drain is left on the banks of nullahs for it to flow back when rain comes,” said Manoj Mishra. The latest fad to have caught the fancy of the powers that be is river channelisation. The July 2013 VANA PREMI belief that taming the river into a proper channel by constructing walls around it can save us from floods has proved wrong time and again but the government has turned a blind eye to it. Embankments as these walls are called, create havoc in the flood plains of the Kosi river in Bihar every year when the river changes its course and breakes them, rendering thousands of people homeless. Even though the government is fully aware of this, embankments costing crores of Rupees have been constructed around the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad, all in the name of beautifying the river zone. The present disastrous floods in central Europe, which does not even have a monsoon, saw rivers diverting up to three kilometres from their designated channels even with little rainfall, flailing the whole idea of channelisation. The Western world which introduced channelisation and development near rivers to us is itself facing its consequences and even removing embankments at a great cost now. The State of India’s Environment report on floods brought out by the Centre for Science and Environment shows that all the money spent on flood mitigation has only resulted in more floods because the government focussed only on constructing more and more embankments. The way out: -Water harvesting in lakes and ponds is no traditional wisdom, says Anupam Mishra. “It is a very contemporary solution, timetested and need of the hour, not just to mitigate floods but also to fulfil our water requirements locally,” he says. “Rain water is actually meant to 38 become ground water so every citizen has to take the initiative to recharge it,” says Mishra. When somebody constructs a house it is their responsibility to take care of the excess water from that plot of land, which would otherwise go into a storm water drain or else create waterlogging around the plot, says Vishwanath. The solution is a proper rain water harvesting system in the house itself. It would not just replenish ground water but also improve its quality and mitigate flooding. 5% of any built up area, be it an apartment complex or individual house, if used for rainwater harvesting, can mitigate floods and also reduce water bills. Some towns in Germany have made it mandatory for construction projects to take responsibility for their excess run-off or pay more for putting pressure on storm water drains. Rain water harvesting is what all individuals can do but, the administration can contribute to this effort as well. Storm water drains could be utilized as water harvesting measure rather than just act as carriers of excess water to the sea, says Sekhar Raghavan, head of Rain Centre in Chennai. The Centre provides technical and logistical support to people keen to implement rainwater harvesting measures. “Recharge wells can be constructed in open spaces around storm water drains. Water in drains can be intercepted and directed to these wells,” says Raghavan in his proposal to the Chennai municipal corporation. In areas where open spaces are not available, recharge wells can be dug in the drain itself under the man-hole so July 2013 VANA PREMI that it can be cleaned also from time to time. Re-laying of roads as per the natural drainage patterns needs to be carried out, feels Mishra. Hydrology expert Professor A. K. Gosain from IIT Delhi is preparing a model of a sustainable drainage network for Delhi. “Any new construction can thus be carried out keeping the model in mind,” said Gosain. The modelling process will take about six months once they have all data in hand, he informed. Every drop contributes to floods, so permeable gravel or stone lined parking spaces and footpaths that can absorb water rather than concretized floor would also help. And there is no substitute to planting trees in whatever area is available to promote absorption of water and control run-off of soil. THE 18th CAMEL There was a father who left 17 camels as the inheritance for his three sons. When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will. The Will of the father stated that the eldest son should get half of 17 camels while the middle son should be given 1/3rd (one-third). The youngest son should be given 1/9th (one-ninth) of the 17 camels. As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the three sons started to fight with each other. So, the three sons decided to go to a wise man. The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one camel of his own and added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels. Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will. Half of 18 = 9 so he gave the eldest son 9 camels 1/3rd of 18 = 6 so he gave the middle son 6 camels 1/9th of 18 = 2 so he gave the youngest son 2 camels Now add this up: 9 plus 6 plus 2 is 17, and this leaves one camel, which the wise man took away. The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the 18th ground the issue is resolved. It is difficult at times. However, to reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any! Contributed by Mrs. S.N. Hasan with Thanks 39 July 2013 VANA PREMI HEALTHY STEPS TO A LONGER LIFE 1. Don’t Retire : -”Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement,” says Luigi Ferrucci, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. The Chianti region of Italy, which has a high percentage of centenarians, has a different take on leisure time. “After people retire from their jobs, they spend most of the day working on their little farm, cultivating grapes or vegetables,” he says. “They’re never really inactive.” Farming isn’t for you? Volunteer as a docent at your local art museum or join the Experience Corps, a program offered in 19 cities that places senior volunteers in urban public elementary schools for about 15 hours a week. 2. Floss Every Day: -That may help keep your arteries healthy. A 2008 New York University study showed that daily flossing reduced the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is thought to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries, a major risk factor for heart disease. Other research has shown that those who have high amounts of bacteria in their mouth are more likely to have thickening in their arteries, another sign of heart disease. “I really do think people should floss twice a day to get the biggest life expectancy benefits,” says Perls. 3. Move Around : -”Exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists,” says Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It’s like the 40 oil and lube job for your car. You don’t have to do it, but your car will definitely run better.” Study after study has documented the benefits of exercise to improve your mood, mental acuity, balance, muscle mass, and bones. “And the benefits kick in immediately after your first workout,” Olshansky adds. Don’t worry if you’re not a gym rat. Those who see the biggest payoffs are the ones who go from doing nothing to simply walking around the neighbourhood or local mall for about 30 minutes a day. Building muscle with resistance training is also ideal, but yoga classes can give you similar strengthtraining effects if you’re not into weight lifting. 4. Eat a Fibre-Rich Cereal for Breakfast : Getting a serving of whole-grains, especially in the morning, appears to help older folks maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, according to a recent study conducted by Ferrucci and his colleagues. “Those who do this have a lower incidence of diabetes, a known accelerator of aging,” he says. 5. Get at Least Six Hours of Sleep Each Night: -Instead of skimping on sleep to add more hours to your day, get more to add years to your life. “Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells,” says Ferrucci. “We’ve calculated that the minimum amount of sleep that older people need to get those healing REM phases is about six hours.” Those who reach the century mark make sleep a top priority. July 2013 VANA PREMI 6. Consume Whole Foods, Not Supplements: -Strong evidence suggests that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients—selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E—age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that taking pills with these nutrients provides those antiaging benefits. “There are more than 200 different carotenoids and 200 different flavonoids in a single tomato,” points out Ferrucci, “and these chemicals can all have complex interactions that foster health beyond the single nutrients we know about like lycopene or vitamin C.” Avoid nutrient-lacking white foods (breads, flour, sugar) and go for all those colorful fruits and vegetables and dark whole-grain breads and cereals with their host of hidden nutrients. 7. Be Less Neurotic: -It may work for Woody Allen, who infuses his worries with a healthy dose of humor, but the rest of us neurotics may want to find a new way to deal with stress. “We have a new study coming out that shows that centenarians tend not to internalize things or dwell on their troubles,” says Perls. “They are great at rolling with the punches.” If this inborn trait is hard to overcome, find better ways to manage when you’re stressed: Yoga, exercise, meditation, tai chi, or just deep breathing for a few moments are all good. Ruminating, eating chips in front of the TV, binge drinking? Bad, very bad. 8. Live Like a Seventh Day Adventist : Americans who define themselves as Seventh Day Adventists have an average life expectancy 41 of 89, about a decade longer than the average American. One of the basic tenets of the religion is that it’s important to cherish the body that’s on loan from God, which means no smoking, alcohol abuse, or overindulging in sweets. Followers typically stick to a vegetarian diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, and get plenty of exercise. They’re also very focused on family and community. 9. Be a Creature of Habit: -Centenarians tend to live by strict routines, says Olshansky, eating the same kind of diet and doing the same kinds of activities their whole lives. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is another good habit to keep your body in the steady equilibrium that can be easily disrupted as you get on in years. “Your physiology becomes frailer when you get older,” explains Ferrucci, “and it’s harder for your body to bounce back if you, say, miss a few hours of sleep one night or drink too much alcohol.” This can weaken immune defenses, leaving you more susceptible to circulating flu viruses or bacterial infections. 10. Stay Connected: -Having regular social contacts with friends and loved ones is key to avoiding depression, which can lead to premature death, something that’s particularly prevalent in elderly widows and widowers. Some psychologists even think that one of the biggest benefits elderly folks get from exercise the strong social interactions that come from walking with a buddy or taking a group exercise class. Having a daily connection with a close friend or family member gives older folks the July 2013 VANA PREMI added benefit of having someone watch their back. “They’ll tell you if they think your memory is going or if you seem more withdrawn,” says Perls, “and they might push you to see a doctor before you recognize that you need to see one yourself.” 11. Be Conscientious: - The strongest personality predictor of a long life is conscientiousness—that is, being prudent, persistent, and well organized, according to The Longevity Project, co authored by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin. The book describes a study that followed 1,500 children for eight decades, collecting exhaustive details about their personal histories, health, activities, beliefs, attitudes, and families. The children who were prudent and dependable lived the longest, Friedman says, likely because conscientious types are more inclined to follow doctors’ orders, take the right medicines at the right doses, and undergo routine checkups. They’re also likelier to report happier marriages and more satisfying work lives than their less conscientious peers. COPPER VESSELS FOR PURE WATER We Indian’s spend thousands on designer taps, water purifiers for safe guards, but the age old traditional copper vessels, utensils, taps, doors etc. have now proved to be anti-bacteria which safe guards, this shows our ancestors knowledge of depth in every aspect of healthy living. Now An Indo-Australian team of researchers has found that water, if stored in copper vessels for about 24 hours, gets purified as the harmful bacteria present in it become inactivated or gets destroyed.To find out if the inactivated bacteria can become activated when one drinks the water, scientists fed water purified through a copper tumbler to rats. The rats did not develop any of the symptoms of infection caused by these bacteria.”Copper attacks the DNA and other protein molecules, present in the bacteria and causes them severe injury. This injury later leads to their death. For bacteria to die it takes about 24 hours,” said Dr Riti Sharan one of the 42 researchers.For a country like India where pure drinking water is a dream in many localities and for a vast section of its people, the Indian tradition of storing water in copper vessels reduces the chance of a number of infections, she pointed out. Dr Sharan is part of the three-member IndoAustralian team comprising Dr Sanjay Chhibberb and Dr Robert H Reeda. The researchers tested the anti-bacterial effect of copper against bacteria like Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, Vibrio cholerae and E coli. They found that copper can kill these harmful pathogens present in contaminated water. “The copper vessel should be pure at least 95 per cent copper and five per cent zinc. If the copper content is less than 95 per cent it will not kill the harmful pathogens. In our studies we have taken 99 per cent pure copper vessels,” said Dr Sharan. July 2013 VANA PREMI NEWS AND NOTES Meet Varya Akulova, the World’s Strongest Girl: VaryaAkulova is one of those extraordinary human beings most people have never even heard of. Often referred to as “The World’s Strongest Girl” , Varya holds two Guinness records and is able to lift up to four times her own body weight. Born in 1992, in the Ukrainian mining town of Krivoy Rog, Varya Akulova showed remarkable physical abilities from a very young age. When she was just one year old, Varya could do a handstand, at one and a half she did flips, at three years of age she started performing acrobatic routines with her parents, and by age four she was already doing power lifting exercises with massive weights. She set her first Guinness record in 2000, when she lifted 100 kilograms, although she weighed just 40, and in 2006 she managed to lift 300 kilograms, over four times her body weight. (Please see last cover page for photo) timetables are displayed on a board in most bars and restaurants on the beach, and one bar even has a speaker on its outside deck that broadcasts the radio transmissions between pilots and the airport’s control tower. (Please see last cover page for photo) Beautiful Safari – Kenya: - The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya, contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania. It is named in honor of the Maasai people for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area. It is globally famous for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs, game, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration. A Battery-Powered Flying Bicycle: - Three Czech companies have teamed up to make a prototype of an electric bicycle that successfully took off Wednesday inside an exhibition hall in Prague and landed safely after a five-minute flight. The amazing machine is currently controlled remotely while in development but its designers hope to have it capable of carrying people soon. (Please see last cover page for photo) Rare 1 Rupee Note: - Did you know that one Rupee was equal to USD 13 in 1917? Today 1$ = Rs 54. The devaluation was 700 times = 70,000% in 96 years. Extreme Plane Spotting at Maho Beach, Saint Martin: - Located on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin is the famous Maho Beach. While it has the characteristic white sand and turquoise water of a Caribbean paradise that is not what makes Maho Beach such a popular tourist destination. Rather, it has much to do with the Princess Juliana International Airport directly adjacent to Maho. Arriving aircraft must touchdown as close as possible to the beginning of Runway 10 due to the short runway length of 2,180 meters (7,150 ft), resulting in aircraft on their final approach flying over the beach at minimal altitude. Watching airliners pass over the beach is such a popular activity that daily arrivals and departures airline Send an SMS, and your train ticket is booked!: Say goodbye to internet. From July onwards booking rail tickets will be as simple as sending an SMS. Any mobile user can operate this system using handsets ranging from feature phones to smart phones. IRCTC In a time most of things like banking booking air tickets, calling a cab and so on can be done through mobile phone, Indian 43 July 2013 VANA PREMI Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to use SMS services of mobile phones from July to make rail ticket booking easier. According to a newspaper report quoting a senior IRCTC official,“The bookings can be made from anywhere and at any time in a secure manner without a need to log onto the internet or stand in a queue.” The report further added that any mobile user can operate this system using handsets ranging from feature phones to smart phones. In contrast to the current procedure of booking rail tickets on mobile which are done through a web browser or app, the proposed service will enable user to book ticket through a simple SMS or a menu-based dialing service which is mostly used by the banks nowadays to offer account services to its clients. Though not much clarity is there about how will the new tickets booking system work but as the launch date approaches IRCTC will be sharing further information of the same. In the last couple of months IRCT has been has been adopting mobile technology in a big way to make the rail journey of passengers, right form booking a ticket to reaching destination, a smooth experience. It all started in January 2012, when IRCT started working on revamping its mobile apps for booking tickets from smart phones (different OS). Following that Railways also allowed passengers to show SMS sent from IRCTC as proof of ticket instead of paper tickets while travelling to ticket examiner. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to wind up the telegraphic service: -Come July 15, one of India’s oldest communication services — the telegram — will become history. Financial constraints have forced the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to wind up the telegraphic service, which would be remembered mainly as a historically inexpensive but relatively quick method of sending alerts related to births, deaths and emergency situations. “The growing use of mobile phones and Internet has led to steep decline in the usage of the telegraphic service…it [the telegram] has become financially unviable. After stopping telegram service for overseas communication earlier this year, we have now decided to discontinue it for the domestic market from July 15. The BSNL Board has already approved it. Final clearance is now being sought from the Department of Telecommunications,” a senior BSNL official told The Hindu. In India, the first telegraph message was transmitted live through electrical signals between Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Diamond Harbour, a distance of about 50 km, on November 5, 1850; and the service was opened for the general public in February 1855. Over the years, the BSNL made several technical upgrades in the telegraph service, with the latest being the introduction of a web-based messaging system in 2010. However, growing Internet penetration and cheaper mobile phones in the last decade have kept people away from the 182 telegraph offices across the country. “In May 2011, we revised telegram charges after six decades to arrest declining revenues…but it did not work. It is estimated that the BSNL is suffering an annual loss of Rs. 300 - 400 crore from its telegraph service alone. As it has virtually become redundant, it is prudent to shut it down. However, there will be no job cuts and all those working in telegraph offices will perform other jobs related to telephone and Internet services,” the official added. The BSNL’s financial performance in recent years has been alarming. From a profit of Rs. 575 crore in 2008-09, the telecom giant has been reporting massive losses for the last three years. In 2012-13, its losses stood at a staggering Rs. 8,198 crore. 44 July 2013 VANA PREMI For details please see page no. 43 For details please see page no. 43 For details please see page no. 43 Registered with RNI R.No. Apeng/2002.2185 Postal Regn. No.LII/RNP/HDC/1154/2012-14 BOOK POST To Venu Graphics, Hyderabad , 9246332717 If Undelivered, Please return to : Editor : VANA PREMI Office of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Aranya Bhavan, 45 5th Floor, Room No. 514, Saifabad, Hyderabad - 500 004, A.P.