Quote for the day!!!!

Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retianing your birthright to be a person - Abdul Kalam

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Need of the hour!!!!!! Nuclear power or Nature???

Maslow, in his hierarchy of needs suggested the first and the basic need of human beings as the physiological needs (Food, cloth, shelter). The way we are living, I think, Mr. Maslow forgot to add electricity as one among the basic needs.

We have moved ahead of time in such a way that life without electricity would become meaningless. Human beings are trying all their means to generate electricity in all possible ways they can. With the depletion of non-renewable sources, the alternate for electricity came in the form of Nuclear power. Developing nations are trying their level best to co-ordinate with the developed nations to obtain fuel and equipments to set-up nuclear facility.

Not far behind, India is catching up the race to set up its very own nuclear plants. Nuclear power is the fourth largest source of electricity generator in our country. Even though it is an achievement to be proud about, we have forgotten to look at the negative side of it.

How many of us are aware of the real scenario regarding the Koodankulam and Jaitapur Nuclear power plant?

After the assessment of facilities, livelihood and having obtained the consent of the ministries, it was decided to set-up nuclear facilities in these areas.

A nuclear plant in partnership with Russia was proposed to be built in Koodankulam, a small village with a population of 70,000 in and around the place. 

It is located at the Gulf of Mannar, one of the richest bio-diversity areas of the world. 

Like any nuclear reactor, they also need Freshwater for its functioning along with seawater to cool down the reactors.

Disadvantage of setting a nuclear plant in this area would be the livelihood of people getting affected. The houses need to be relocated and people have to shift their place of living to far-off places from the plant. Also, fisherman has to discontinue their only income of fishing, as the seawater would not be a habitat for fishing due to the release of water from this plant. The difficulties faced by the people in these areas could be manageable, as the government would arrange for alternate ways for their existence.

Another nuclear plant under the scanner is the Jaitapur Nuclear plant, which is built in coalition with the French government.

 As we all know, the Jaitapur plant is situated in the eco-sensitive coastal Maharashtra region. 

The environmental ministry has cleared the proposal for building this power plant, ignoring the consequences of the nature. 

One of the commonly known norms for any nuclear site is the earthquake factor. Even though the proposed site has a severe threat of earthquake, still the environmental ministry has given a nod to go ahead.

Hope the ministry considered the threat of earthquakes, while giving a nod to this proposal. Even though the nod from the ministry came before the disaster of Japan, has the ministry revisited its approval afterwards?

Even the formation of human chain and demonstration by environmentalist during the visit of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, had no consequences. The protest by green peace activist and environmentalist fell on deaf ears, as the government went ahead with its proposal.

If my writing has suggested that am against the setting of nuclear plants, I would say sorry for creating such an impression. Like any other soul on earth, it is difficult for me to stay without electricity even for a short period of time and I accept the benefits of building a nuclear power. I am also a great supporter of nuclear power for our country.

But, my angst is on the fact that nature gets destroyed, which leads to the imbalance in the ecosystem.

What about the trees and plants that would be destroyed in this process?

What about the bio-life that would be destroyed by these power plants? 

Just because they cannot express their views, it doesn’t mean that we can exploit it to the fullest. It is understood that unless nature is destroyed at a certain place, nuclear power will remain a dream. But, what is the recovery process we have adopted to recreate nature at other places?

Do we have a process in place to build or develop nature at different places?

We have seen ‘n’ number of proposals regarding creation of nuclear plants or infrastructures, but how many proposals have we come across, which speaks about the development of nature?

It is time for us to realize that we are becoming victims of our own actions.

Better late than never…….

Rather than pondering upon the destruction, let’s try to re-build or re-create the nature at alternate places for the betterment of environment.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dam999 - Who has the final say???

“Dam, what 999???”, was my first reaction when I heard the name – Dam999.

I was more shocked, when I heard that the dam is located nowhere other than the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. After surfing the web, realized that Dam 999 is none other than our Mullaiperiyar dam.

How much ignorant I am to not to have known that this dam is also called Dam 999? Not only me, there are my fellow citizens, who are also not aware of this fact. Isn’t it disheartening to see that we are not aware of our very own resources?

In 1886, when British ruled India, a lease agreement was signed between Maharaja of Travancore and Secretary of State for Madras (as it was called before Independence) for a period of 999 years for irrigation works. Thus, the dam obtained the name – Dam999. A fully functional dam was built in 1895, thereby benefitting both the state of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The dam is built as an epicentre to the five districts of kerala namely, Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Trishur. These districts constitute a population of nearly 35 lakhs. As per the construction, the water flowing towards west from the Periyar and Mullaiyar river is stored in the Mullai periyar dam, thereby creating a Periyar reservoir. 

From the reservoir, the water has been diverted east, thereby enabling it to enter Tamil Nadu, through a tunnel, which would join Vaigai. The main objective of building the dam is to improve the irrigation facilities in Tamil Nadu, by facilitating a better water supply all throughout the year for the agricultural lands in these areas.

When the constitution of India was formulated at the time of Independence, the free nation cancelled all the agreements that were signed during the British rule. Rules changed and new rules were framed to get new agreements in place

The lease agreement of Dam 999 was also cancelled and the efforts taken to bring a new agreement in place were never heeded. Having been at loggerheads for ages, an agreement was finally signed in 1970, after failed attempts during 1958, 1960, and 1969 by the two states.

As per the agreement, Tamil Nadu would pay Rs. 30 per acre for the land being used and Rs. 12/KW/hr for the electricity being generated from the dam. Tamil Nadu has successfully paid all the dues till date.

What made it so special about this dam to hit the headlines?

A dispute has erupted between both the states for several decades regarding the stability & water-level in the dam. Even after set-up of so many committees and intervention of the state and central government or even the Supreme Court, a consensus has not been reached till date.

The state of Tamil Nadu wants the level of water storage in the dam to increase from 136ft to 142ft, which is being opposed by Kerala.

Is it dangerous to increase the water level by 1.82mt (6ft)?

Are the low mathematical figures of 1.82 or 6 has got huge hidden meaning in it?

The answer lies with Nature and the Keralite’s are acting accordingly. The dam has been built 100 years ago using the raw materials of yester years, which means stability of the dam is at stake. 

Also, the Centre for Earth Sciences have mentioned that the dam is in the weak zone and an earth quake of magnitude higher than six in Richter scale is possible in this area. Any natural disaster like this would lead to the development of fissures and cracks in the dam.

As the saying goes, “A chain is as strong as its weakest link”, the dam would stand, as long as these cracks are able to hold till repair work is done. The earthquake could be compared to a ticking time bomb, which could create a mass destruction leading to the destruction of the districts nearby, thereby posing a serious threat to the lives of 35lakh people living in this region.

Isn’t there any alternative to the loggerhead?

A proposal has been suggested to build an alternate dam in the same site, which could still meet the demands of Tamil Nadu. Even though the construction of the new dam takes time, it looks like the best alternative at hand right now.

The TN government has its own concerns saying that a new dam would not fulfil its water demands, as the water flow might be less than what is assured. This has led to a standstill in the activities related to the dam.

On the other hand, Kerala government wants a new dam to be built on the same site for the protection of its people in the five adjacent districts, before the collapse of the existing dam.

This issue is one among the hot topics being discussed in the current winter session of parliament. One of the latest developments is the request for CISF by TN to prevent any unexpected sabotage to the dam by the miscreants.

What we notice is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lot many hidden issues, which we are not aware of. It is better to reach a consensus as soon as possible before a tragedy of mass scale occurs.

I would like to mention a quote by a famous person, "If everyone remembers a tragedy, then what is the issue in taking precautions to prevent such tragedy in future?"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What mistake have I done???

The traffic on the roads just started to increase as the evening had just begun.

A group of kids, who were studying fifth standard, have just returned from school, carrying school bags that are almost one fourth of their weight.

“We are already late. Come back soon”, told one of the kid to the others

“I really hate going to school. Why don’t the evening begin just after the morning, so that we would never be going to school”, an  innocent kid added to the conversation.

“It’s all in the game. Let’s get ready and assemble again soon”, told the other kid

The kids were given a warm welcome in their home, as their mom opened the door and carried their bags into the house and told the kids to freshen up before eating the evening snacks.

“Eat one more dosa. You will get tired soon if you do not have strength”, told one of the moms keeping one more dosa to her kid.

Mom, am already healthy enough. How much you expect me to eat?”, a kid in the neighbourhood told her mom, as the mom was trying her level best to make her kiddo eat.

As kids in each home got ready to go out, each of the mom warned their kids to not to join with Rahul while playing.

“Mom, Rahul has not done any mistake. Why do you always say so?”, was the reply

“Either you listen to me or stay back in home”, came the reply

“Please mom”, pleaded each of the kids in their respective home. 

Their pleading fell in deaf ears, as they had to promise their moms that they would not play with Rahul. It was routine for the kids to come back from school and then spend the entire evening, playing in the ground located in their flat premises.

As the kids were playing, Rahul was looking sadly as usual watching the kids from the balcony of his house. As one of the kids noticed Rahul, he signalled his fellow mates and everyone looked at Rahul pitifully for not being able to include him in the games. 

Rahul was studying in second standard, when their family moved to the neighbourhood, a year back. He slowly obtained the friendship of the kids in the neighbourhood. They used to study in the same school and move together all the time. The kids liked Rahul, as he is the youngest among them and very much entertaining too. 

A month back, Rahul fell ill and was not able to join the kids in their routine.

Days rolled on, and one fateful day, Rahul went to join the kids in their routine. But, the parents in the neighbourhood did not allowed their kids to join with Rahul.

Dad, what is wrong in playing with Rahul? He is our friend. Please allow us”, pleaded one of the kids.

“You are a small kid. You will not understand if I tell you. Just listen to what I say. Do not try to counter me”, the angry dad replied.

“Dad, we are also aware about AIDS. Our teachers have told us that it is a deadly disease during the awareness programme conducted in our school. But, this does not spread by touching or by playing with someone”, told one of the kid to his dad.

How dare you speak against me?”, told one of the dad and slapped the kid for speaking so. This is not only the case in his home, but also in every other house in the colony, with whom Rahul used to play. Thereafter the kids were allowed to play if and only if they do not have Rahul in their group.

It was during a blood transfusion given to Rahul, during which time the blood given to him was not diagnosed properly and HIV infected blood was transfused to him. Once the neighbours came to know that Rahul has got AIDS, they were completely against him staying in the flat and even complained to the manager of the flat to vacate them from their premises.

It was very painful for Rahul to bear this, as he was just a small kid and was not able to understand what AIDS is? Or why the kids were not allowed to play with him? From then onwards, it has become a routine for Rahul to stand in the balcony and watch the kids playing in the ground. 

"What mistake have I done?", Rahul used to ask himself daily.

Rahul is just another kid, in this world who has been deprived of happiness for no mistake of his.

Even the present generation kids are aware of the disease, but as a grown-up, how many of us have neglected them?

How many Rahul’s are there amongst us, who are still not able to understand the disparity being shown to them?

How many of us are aware about the details of this deadly disease?

How many of us are aware that Dec-1 is recognized as the World AIDS Day?

To know more about this deadly disease, visit WHO:

Key Facts (source-WHO):
·  HIV is one of the world's leading infectious killers, claiming more than 25 million lives over the past three decades.
·  There were approximately 34 million people living with HIV in 2010.
·  A cure for HIV infection has not been found but with effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs, patients can control the virus and enjoy healthy and productive lives.
·  In 2010, around 6.6 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries, but over 7 million others are waiting for access to treatment.http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/index.html