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Inland waterway terminal at Haldia gets green nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proposed Inland Waterways terminal at Haldia, West Bengal, has been accorded Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance subject to specific conditions regarding protection of Gangetic dolphins and marine biodiversity. The proposed Haldia terminal on National Waterways-1 (NW- 1) will facilitate the bulk transportation of material and products through barges.The final CRZ clearance for the project came nearly six months after the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on Infrastructure Development and Coastal Regulation Zone recommended it for clearance on May 11.The Rs 516 crore project partially falls under the CRZ-IB, CRZ-II and CRZ-IVB zone and according to the EAC, the terminal’s construction will have impacts on aquatic flora and water quality. In its clearance, the environment ministry has directed that 2% of the project cost or 10.32 crore has to be spent for marine and coastal biodiversity protection and conservation measures by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). West Bengal Coastal Zone Management Authority has to monitor implementation of these measures every six months.Further, IWAI has to commission a study on Gangetic Dolphin habitats and formulate roadmap for its conservation with a time bound manner, within two years, the ministry said. For protection of marine ecology, the ministry has directed IWAI to ensure that mudflats around the project site should be conserved with specific focus on waders. Waders are a group of birds that feed in wetlands and mudflats.The IWAI’s Haldia terminal project is an integral part of the larger Jal Marg Vikas Project on River Ganga that involves development of the 1,620-kms long National Waterway-I between Allahabad and Haldia. In December 2016, in December 2016, Mumbai-based ITD Cementation India Limited won the bid for construction of the terminal and the work was awarded this year on June 30.According to the Ministry of Shipping’s release in September 2016, the terminal has already received an estimated cargo commitment of 5.92 million tons per annum. The Haldia terminal will be developed within the Industrial Zone of Haldia Dock complex and will include jetty, berth, storage sheds, roads green area, administrative building, silos and other allied facilities.

Heavy rain forecast in Gangetic WB

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Met department today forecast heavy rain in several districts of Gangetic West Bengal, while the sub-Himalayan West Bengal districts which are reeling under floods are likely to receive one or two spells of precipitation. Isolated heavy rain is likely over the districts of East Midnapore, West Midnapore, North and South 24 Parganas, , Howrah, Hooghly and Jhargram districts till tomorrow, the Met department said. The sub-Himalayan districts of the state, which have been affected by floods owing to very heavy rains since last week, are likely to receive one or two spells of rain in the next couple of days. Asansol in the western part of the state received the highest rainfall at 37 mm in 24 hours till 8.30 am today. The metropolis received 23 mm rainfall during the period, while Bankura closely followed at 22 mm, the Met department said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Flood woes in Bengal man-made : Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told the assembly today that the present flood situation in Gangetic West Bengal had been primarily caused by relentless discharge of water by DVC and was becoming increasingly a “man-made” phenomenon. Making a statement in the house, Banerjee said that although there had been rain the situation had been aggravated by disproportionate release of water by DVC which had inundated 4.22 lakh hectares. The flood woes in Gangetic Bengal is increasingly becoming a “man-made” phenomenon. The flood this year has affected more than 1.67 lakh persons, who are now taking shelter in relief camps and the government is providing adequate relief materials to the affected, she said. She said that water discharge from DVC dams was in excess of that in 1978 which saw an unprecedented flood in the state. So far 2.78 lakh cusecs of water had been discharged by DVC. “Now 48 people have died and this is really serious,” the chief minister said adding she had met union power minister Piyush Goyal under whose administrative control DVC is, the prime minister and union home minister and apprised them of the problems of water discharge by the DVC dams. As Jharkhand was at a higher altitude, water release from that state was causing sufferings in Bengal, she said and urged all political parties to unitedly protest against the water discharge by DVC . West Bengal government was dredging the canals and had spent Rs 2000 crore in constructing irrigation embankments but there was also a need to dredge the DVC barrages and dams to raise water holding capacity, Banerjee said. There will be more rain in August and September and there was still scope for more water-logging, she added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

29 Indian cities and towns highly vulnerable to quakes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twenty-nine Indian cities and towns, including Delhi and capitals of nine states, fall under “severe” to “very severe” seismic zones, according to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS). A majority of these places are in the Himalayas, one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Delhi, Patna (Bihar), Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir), Kohima (Nagaland), Puducherry, Guwahati (Assam), Gangtok (Sikkim), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Imphal (Manipur) and Chandigarh fall under seismic zones IV and V. These cities have a combined population of over three crore. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has classified different regions in the country into zones II to V, taking into consideration earthquake records, tectonic activities and damage caused, the director of the NCS, Vineet Gauhlat, said. The NCS, which records earthquakes and carries out studies pertaining to microzonation of cities, comes under the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Seismic microzonation is the process of subdividing a region into smaller areas having different potential for hazardous earthquake effects. Zone II is considered the least seismically active, while Zone V is the most active. Zone IV and V fall under “severe” to “very severe” categories respectively. Zone V includes the entire northeastern region, parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, parts of north Bihar and the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. Parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Sikkim, northern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and a small part of Maharashtra fall under Zone IV. Bhuj, which was struck by a massive earthquake in 2001 in which 20,000 people were killed, Chandigarh, Ambala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Roorkee fall under zones IV and V. Kusala Rajendran, a professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and an expert on paleoseismology, earthquake recurrence and active tectonics, said most of the cities in the list have a high population density and fall in the Indo-Gangetic plains. “The Himalayan arc, stretching from the upper Assam region to Jammu and Kashmir, is known to be a high seismic zone and these cities in the Indo-Gangetic belt fall within reasonable limits of the Himalayas. So repercussions are bound to be felt there,” she observed. M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said 31 new earthquake observatories will come up in the country by March next year. At present, there are 84 observatories. This is being done to detect and record earthquake parameters more accurately and identify possible precursors of tremors. The NCS has also carried out microzonation of cities like Delhi and Kolkata to study the possible impact of earthquake in these mega cities.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Weather condition in WB likely improve from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Weather conditions in the western districts of West Bengal, which are being lashed by heavy rains, are likely to improve from tomorrow, the Met department said here today. West Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia have received very heavy rains since Saturday, leading to inundation of several areas, while the rivers in this region are in spate due to excessive precipitation in catchment areas. Bankura recorded 116.8 mm rainfall in 24 hours till 8.30 am this morning, the highest in the state for the day, while Asansol in West Burdwan followed closely at 101.8 mm, the Met department said. The weatherman has forecast generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rains in the districts of Gangetic West Bengal for the next three days. Kolkata, which had an overcast sky throughout the day, received one or two spells of light to moderate rain in some parts.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Met deptt predicts heavy rains in parts of West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The southern and western districts of West Bengal are likely to receive isolated heavy rainfall in the next five days owing to an active monsoon trough, the Met department said here today. “Monsoon trough is passing through the southern and western districts of West Bengal and as a result of that, isolated places in this region are likely to receive heavy rains in the next five days,” regional Met director G K Das said. “A circulation is also likely to occur in Gangetic West Bengal from Monday, which will also lead to increased rainfall in the area,” he said. The Met department has forecast isolated heavy rains in the districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar in north Bengal till tomorrow, following which rainfall activity in these places will decrease. Birbhum received the highest precipitation in the state in 24 hours till 8.30 AM this morning, recording 83.8 mm of rains. Other places which recorded significant amount of rainfall during the same period are Bankura (40.2 mm), Asansol (15.9 mm), Baharampur (17 mm) and Diamond Harbour (10.4 mm), the Met department said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Met office predicts heavy rains across West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The southern districts of West Bengal are likely to receive heavy rains in the next two to three days, the Met department said here today. Following a dry spell for the last one week, monsoon has become active again in Gangetic West Bengal and this will lead to wet weather for the next two to three days, regional Met director G K Das said. There is likelihood of spells of heavy rain in Kolkata and the districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore, West Midnapore and Jhargram, Das said. The weather office has also forecast isolated heavy rains in the districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar and Alipurduar till tomorrow. The metropolis, which has been receiving spells of rain since last night, has received 54.9 mm rainfall in 24 hours till 8.30 AM today. The other places in south Bengal that received considerable amount of rainfall during the same period are Digha (41 mm) and Diamond Harbour (55 mm), the weather department said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Buddha’s birthplace faces serious air pollution threat

Data collected from air quality monitoring stations shows high levels of pollution at the site.

Heat wave to stay away for another week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a sultry April draws to a close with abatement of the heat wave, relief will continue in the first week of May with thundershowers expected across most parts of the country, except Western India, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said. From the second week of May, the temperatures are expected to gradually rise to above normal and will also usher in heat wave conditions across Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.The Northeastern region, meanwhile, is going to receive widespread and heavy rainfall in the coming days.A Western Disturbance weather system, as an upper air cyclonic circulation over Jammu and Kashmir and another one approaching, will trigger showers in the hill states and the Northwest. Meanwhile, an upper air cyclonic circulation over Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will affect the Gangetic plains, with thundershowers expected in that region.”As a result of the thunderstorms, day temperatures are expected to be at normal and below normal levels in the first week of May. Even the minimum temperatures will be below normal in several parts of the country,” a senior IMD official said.”Maximum temperatures very likely to be normal or below normal over the northwest and adjoining central India & northeastern states till May 4, 2017. From 5th onward till May 18, maximum temperatures are likely to be above normal over most parts of the country,” the IMD said. It added, “A heatwave is unlikely over remaining parts of the country during first week.”

NGT defers hearing on Ganga cleaning till tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal today adjourned till tomorrow the hearing on the plea relating to the cleaning and rejuvenation of River Ganga. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar posted the matter for March 30 after the counsel appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government sought more time citing unavailability of officers concerned. The lawyer told the NGT that there has been change in the dispensation and a new government has been formed in the state leading to reshuffle in the administration. The bench, however, refused to grant more time saying, “Don’t tell us all this. Don’t discuss political issues with us as we are only concerned with pollution of River Ganga.” The tribunal had earlier issued a show cause notice to Kanpur municipal commissioner and the city’s water body officials asking why action should not be taken against them for degrading environment. The bench, which is hearing the Ganga cleaning case on a day-to-day basis for expeditious disposal, had earlier slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 each on officers of the Ministry of Water Resources and UP Jal Nigam for filing incorrect information on 30 drains joining the River Ganga in Garhmukteshwar area of Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, the tribunal was told by an experts’ panel that the functional sewage treatment plants in the Garhmukteshwar area of Uttar Pradesh do not operate as the domestic sewage network is not connected to the main sewerage system. A three-member committee set up by the NGT had said that the Garhmukteshwar stretch of the Ganga should receive special attention as it was the habitat of the critically-endangered Gangetic Dolphin, an indicator species for the river’s ecosystem. In February, the bench had ordered a CBI probe into the execution of the Ganga cleaning project after it noted that Rs 31.82 crore was spent on two sewage treatment plants (STPs) and a 58-km sewerage line project without due analysis and verification of the actual pollution load in the Garh drain and Brijghat drain.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

The heat is on: Mercury rises 4-60 C above normal across parts of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With clear skies and the absence of any significant weather system over the sea, several parts of western, northwestern and central India, along with the Gangetic plains, are witnessing this summer’s first heat wave. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “under the influence of prevailing winds and clear sky conditions, maximum and minimum temperatures increased over parts of northwest, west and central India by 4-6 degrees above normal. It has led to heat wave conditions.”This has left Marathwada, Vidarbha, western Rajasthan and Saurashtra sizzling, with dry and hot conditions. On Monday as well as Tuesday, many cities in these regions crossed the 40-degree Celsius mark. On Monday, maximum temperatures over 42 degrees Celsius was recorded in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Dessa, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Malegaon and Chandrapur.In Mumbai, Thane and Pune, too, the temperatures soared 5-6 degrees above normal. Thane recorded 43 degrees Celsius on Monday while Pune recorded 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. The IMD said that the heat wave is “very likely” to continue in parts of Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Marathwada and Vidarbha in the coming two to three days.“The prevailing conditions are characteristic of the summer season when there is an absence of any major weather activity. This means that the skies are clear, there is little chance of clouding and despite the lack of really hot winds, temperatures do tend to rise,” said K Sathi Devi, scientist, National Weather Forecasting Centre (NWFC).Private weather forecaster Skymet said that the spike in mercury levels in the western parts is due to “dry northerly-northeasterly winds”, which, being “drier”, lead to a rise in temperature over the region.The IMD’s summer forecast had said that heat wave conditions are likely over much of north, northwest, central, east central India and even over plains of the Himalayas. During a heat wave, maximum temperatures soar 5-6 degrees above normal. According to the IMD, the average minimum temperatures, too, are going to increase by over 1 degree Celsius, largely in the northwest and plains of Himalayas.

Ganga cleaning: NGT fines Union Water Ministry, UP Jal Nigam over furnishing incorrect data

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal has slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 each on officers of the Ministry of Water Resources and UP Jal Nigam for furnishing incorrect information on drains joining the river Ganga in the Garhmukteshwar area of Uttar Pradesh.Observing that it was hearing the Ganga cleaning case on day-to-day basis for expeditious disposal, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said such an approach of the authorities was creating impediments in the case. The green panel slapped Rs 25,000 cost each on officers concerned from the Ministry of Water Resources and UP Jal Nigam for not providing correct information on 30 drains which join Ganga.”Most regretfully, we notice that the assistance provided by the Ministry of Water Resources and UP Jal Nigam is most ineffective. In fact, they became party to the joint inspection and then pointed out before the tribunal, deficiencies in the joint inspection report… “The documents passed are without proper authentication, but they do create impediment in further hearing of the case and even the information which is patently not correct is furnished to the tribunal,” the bench said.It said that it took more time for the tribunal “to verify the contents of the information supplied, rather than to proceed further with the case and to bring the case … to its logical end.” The bench, which was considering the Ganga cleaning programme between Haridwar to Unnao, posted the matter for next hearing on March 3.Earlier, the green tribunal was told by an experts’ panel that the functional sewage treatment plants in the Garhmukteshwar area of UP do not operate as the domestic sewage network is not connected to the main sewerage system. A three-member committee set up by the NGT had said that the Garhmukteshwar stretch of the Ganga should receive special attention as it was the habitat of the critically-endangered Gangetic Dolphin, an indicator species for the river’s ecosystem.In February, the bench had ordered a CBI probe into the execution of the Ganga cleaning project after it noted that Rs 31.82 crore was spent on two STPs and a 58-km long sewerage line project without due analysis and verification of the actual pollution load in the Garh drain and Brijghat drain.NGT had slammed the state’s Jal Nigam for building the STPs on the drains joining Ganga without any survey and said it had wasted Rs 1500 crore since 1987 and still not cleaned “even a single drop” of the river.

Expect this summer to be hotter than usual, cautions Met Dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Brace yourself for an unrelenting summer ahead. After 2016, which was the warmest year on record in India, 2017, too, promises to be warmer than normal, marked by heat waves across vast parts of the country, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said in its summer forecast for the year.All parts of the country, except Northwest India, will experience temperatures up to 1 degree Celsius above normal, while the Northwest is going to be even hotter — by possibly recording more than 1 degree Celsius above normal. Already, the IMD has recorded 0.67 degree Celsius above normal mean temperatures in January.”The season averaged maximum temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal by more than 1 degree Celsius in most of the subdivisions from North, Northwest India and few subdivisions from neighbouring East Central India, and by 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius in remaining subdivisions,” the IMD said. The different regions across the country are divided into 36 meteorological sub-divisions.The IMD’s forecast added that heat wave conditions are likely over much of North India, Northwest, Central India, East Central India and even the plains of the Himalayas.During a heat wave condition maximum temperatures soar five to six degrees above normal. According to the IMD, the average minimum temperatures, too, are going to be warmer by over 1 degree Celsius, largely in the Northwest and the plains of the Himalayas.”The climatology of Northwest India is relatively warmer compared to other regions. We are also not expecting El Niño to not play a big part in pre-monsoon season,” said KJ Ramesh, director general, IMD.Global warming has resulted in a series of warm summers for India in the past few years. The IMD said that studies have indicated increasing trends in the frequency and duration of heat waves over the country, which can be attributed to increasing trends in the greenhouse gases and the warming of the sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Indian and Pacific oceans. Last year, the El Niño conditions were strong, resulting in warming of ocean waters.Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and the Gangetic plains were the worst affected in the heat waves of 2016, killing over 200 people.

Govt to carry out comprehensive census of Gangetic dolphin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time, the government will carry out a comprehensive census of endangered Gangetic dolphins, ghariyals and turtles across the entire Ganges river system to get their official count. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will carry out the exercise through Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an autonomous institution under Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, by February-end or early March. “This is for the first time, a proper comprehensive and scientific study of Gangetic dolphins will be carried out across its entire Ganges river system to establish an official count,” Consultant (Biodiversity centre), NMCG, Sandeep Behera told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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