Tag Archive | India

Flooding Questions??!!!

Once again India has welcomed monsoon with lots of anticipation of abundant yield of crops as well as replenished water bodies. The other by product of monsoon is the dreaded floods. The latter is not welcomed like monsoons but only awaited by a nervous apprehension for the reason that every year floods play havoc in various parts of the country. One of the most furious and dreaded flood wave hits the state of Assam settled near the catchment areas of river Brahmaputra. Brahmaputra is a trans-boundary and one of the greatest rivers of Asia. It is a furious river and through its course from Tibet (its origin) to Bangladesh (where it drains in Bay of Bengal) it covers a distance of more than 1800 miles. The river along its course is the most dangerous in Assam (India) region where it is flood prone.

Unfortunately the only home to one-horned rhinoceros – Kaziranga national park is right in the eye of the storm. There has been a regular case of floods at the national park since 1988, yet till now the park authorities or the ministry of environment and forest have not got a robust disaster management plan to evacuate animals in case of flood scenario. According to the statistics in 1988 floods killed around 1,203 animals and in 1998 around 652 perished. This year the death toll at national park is 573 till now and this is when the floods have just started!! More flood waves are expected this season and we do not know how many more innocent animals will die.

It seems as if authorities are dependent on the animals’ adaptation to the flood-dependent ecology. However this approach is extremely pathetic and disgusting especially when the 11th five year plan has allotted around 80 million INR to the state government for flood control. The records have it that 30 million of these funds have been utilized so far.

Then why is it that animals are still dying??? Why nothing is done to save them??

Reports have it that most of these animals are run over by speeding trucks while crossing the highway to reach elevated grounds??? There are no officials or volunteers to stop the speeding vehicles on the highway nor there are sufficient speed breakers to check the speed limit. Moreover the disaster management department could not come up with a simple water management plan!!! This apathy of the authorities blatantly shows the misuse of flood control funds. Should it not be a priority to safeguard Kaziranga which carries rare and endangered species of Rhinos??? 

Events like floods and droughts as well as their annual repetition makes us wonder that a country that boasts of being a rising economic superpower cannot even manage its water problems. And it is true that unless India leverages its agriculture based sectors as well as safeguard its ecology, it is only a matter of time when it will no longer be able to sustain other sectors or for that matter its economic growth speed!!!!



Indian Tigers: Hunters or The Hunted!!!

One of the biggest threats to tigers in India is not the receding forest cover but the ever-increasing gangs of poachers. The latest victim of one of these gangs is a full-grown male tiger of Chandrapur (Maharashtra’s Tiger Reserves). Needless to say the gangs are brutal. This poor tiger was cut into pieces and thrown at the side of the road. Just like serial killer these gangs have their own style of killing the tiger. Where some gang uses iron claws, the other uses electrocution as the means to kill.

Despite of an alert at the reserves the poachers were successful in punching holes in the tight security ring. This brings us to the question – Why did this still happen? Is the claim made by the officials, of a tight and high alert security, is just a cover to save their face?

The fact of the matter is that there is nobody to provide for the answers. Even if an RTI is filed it will only lead to vague answers instead of solid facts. The authorities could always find a loophole. The few people who are really sensitive to the problem and trying to book the culprits are transferred due to politics prevalent in the bureaucratic league. A Tiger’s skin sells for over 10 million INR in international market and its nails, hair, bones sell for over 6 Lakhs. Even a 10% commission paid to the official could easily provide security holes.

Sometimes there are reports of tigers being accidentally killed. There would be hundreds of explanation for these accidents but we fail to understand an accident happening at the hands of the trained officials. Millions of rupees are invested in the Tiger project, yet there are inadequately trained people handling the tiger population and letting them die in accidents. Tigers are not stray dogs who could be helped by common man; they are big majestic beings who could only be handled by well-equipped trained professionals.

It is sad to see the sorry state of affairs of the tigers despite the high proportion of money and publicity being invested for them. However unless the administration does not put a stop to these gangs of poacher the brutality would continue. Tigers are an indispensable part of our ecological system. With their current population dwindling at 1,706 (till March 2011) it is important to follow the popular saying ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures’.