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China-Nepal rail link may go through protected Himalayan park

Engineers deliver their expert recommendation and say there may be no other way, but tunnel would be underground
If approved, the route would include sensitive habitat and environmentalists fear damage

There may be no choice but to put part of the much-anticipated railway between China and Nepal through the main protected area of the Himalayan mountains, according to a senior engineer involved in the project. The US$8 billion railway would be likely to boost the economy of Nepal – the second poorest country in Asia, after North Korea – but Chinese law forbids large-scale construction activities in an environmental protection zone. Six routes for the railway have been proposed over the 1,000-km border between the two countries, with Chinese experts divided on which one to choose. The main debate focused on the core protection zone of Mount Qomolangma National Park, home to Everest, the highest mountain in the world. A consensus has been reached, according to a paper published in domestic journal Railway Standard Design last Wednesday, which said the railway would cross the range through a 30km (18.6 miles) tunnel.

Liang Dong, a lead engineer with the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group in Xian, Shaanxi province, said in the paper that more than a third of the tunnel would be inside the national park’s core protection zone, but would be entirely underground.

The Himalaya Tunnel, all on the Chinese side, would be the first through the Himalayan range and connect Rikaze in Tibet with the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, via the border town of Gyirong. The route would be 513km long (318.7 miles) and require an estimated investment of 53.6 billion yuan (US$8.27 billion), according to Liang.

The proposal will be submitted to the Chinese and Nepalese governments as the experts’ final recommendation with a “sufficient, firm stance against challenges,” Liang said in the paper.
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The rail project has been opposed by India, which remains Nepal’s dominant trading partner, although its trade with China has increased rapidly in recent years. India-Nepal trade exceeded US$8 billion in 2019, while Nepal and China’s trade just reached US$20 million in the same period, despite a five-fold increase from a year before. Nepal is also a strategic buffer zone between China and India, two nuclear-armed giants whose border disputes have turned heated, and sometimes fatal.

While India’s influence on Nepal remains strong, Kathmandu has shown an increasing interest in working with China on a range of issues from geopolitical affairs to economic development.

With per capital GDP only about a tenth of the world average, Nepal has struggled with many social issues, including child labour, illiteracy and infectious diseases. The mountainous country has rich resources – such as hydropower and a range of products from carpets, and textiles to tea – but its trading opportunities are limited by its lack of access to the outside world. Beijing and Kathmandu signed a treaty in 2016 to build a railway between the two countries as part of an infrastructure construction blueprint under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In 2019, the Nepalese authorities officially abandoned the Indian narrow railway standard and adopted China’s broad gauge system.

The Nepalese embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposed route.

Acccording to Liang, each route had its pros and cons, and some proposals were rejected early in the evaluation process. Those which were too costly or difficult to engineer received little support, he said. Some of the rejected routes bypassed the national park entirely, but doubled or even tripled the length of the railway. Others cut the distance to a minimum but required a long, steep tunnel that even the most powerful electric train would have difficulty using safely.

Liang said there was only one other real contender, which proposed a route via the old border town of Zhangmu. This proposal was equivalent to the preferred route in terms of length and avoided the core protected area. While some experts favoured this proposal because of its smaller environmental impact, it was rejected because of its less stable geological conditions and other disadvantages.
Why Nepal is still rebuilding, half a decade after the earthquake
8 Mar 2020

Zhangmu was severely damaged by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and there are many faults in the area created by large earthquakes in recent history. Numerous ice dam lakes would also pose a threat, due to increasing melt water caused by global warming.

Liang said the Gyirong route’s advantages would allow the rail line to operate more safely and last for longer, among other considerations. If approval is granted, construction of the Himalaya Tunnel will be challenging.

Kang Xuan, Liang’s colleague and an engineer evaluating the environmental impact of the project, said in a paper published in Railway Engineering last year that tunnel construction would violate the law if it caused visible damage to the protected zone, especially in the core area.

While the most sensitive section would be only 13km (8 miles), there are many rare plants and animals, including long-tailed langurs and snow leopards, in the area. According to Kang’s estimate, it could take more than 70km (43 miles) to transport cement, steel and other construction materials from mixing plants outside the protection zone to the tunnelling site. There would also be nowhere within the national park to dump debris. “Environmental impact must be evaluated thoroughly and effective ways must be found to prevent possible damage caused by construction activities,” he said in the paper.

A nature reserve would solve China-India border fight, says scientist

A researcher with the school of ecology and nature conservation of Beijing Forestry University said a tunnel could cause long-lasting impacts on the natural habitat. These include a potential change in the natural groundwater distribution network. “Some springs or creeks may disappear forever,” said the researcher, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. “Sometimes a small disturbance underground can cause a significant impact to the surface environment. The higher the mountain, the higher the risk.”


Why Rainwater Harvesting is Crucial to Solving India’s Water Woes

India is reeling under the most severe water crisis in its history for several reasons including two consecutive monsoons that failed.

According to a Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by NITI Aayog nearly 600 million people, which is almost 50% of the country’s population, are facing water shortage issues right now.

One of the many options that we have to ease the water shortage issue is implementing rainwater harvesting. Given the critical situation that we are in, it’s now more important than ever to install rainwater harvesting systems and make it a mandatory fixture in houses and apartments.

In this post, we explore the reasons behind the water crisis and how rainwater harvesting can help.

Why is India facing a severe water shortage?
In addition to inadequate monsoons, there are several reasons why India’s water supply is diminishing rapidly.

Depletion of groundwater
According to the UNESCO World Water Development Report, India is the biggest extractor of groundwater in the world, drawing 260 cubic km per year, which is more than China and the US combined. That comes up to 25% of the groundwater extracted globally. With 21 Indian cities expected to run out of groundwater, India is faced with an alarmingly dry future with the need to not just replenish its water sources but also change the way it sources water.

India’s shoddy infrastructure has led to improper distribution and large amounts of water being wasted. Statistics from the Central Water Commission reveal that India receives as much as 4,000 billion cubic metres of rainfall, but only a mere 8% of that is captured efficiently. Leaky pipes, limited or ageing storage infrastructure like dams, and lack of recycling systems like rainwater harvesting have worsened India’s water crisis.

India’s pipelines are notorious for not just being old but also for not being present in hilly terrains or rural areas. Even if there are connections, the supply is highly restricted and is time-bound, making it challenging to access. This, in turn, has given rise to the water mafia, which ensures that water reaches only those who can afford it.

India is fast losing its water bodies to rapid real estate development, environmental degradation, and industrial pollution. The lack of proper wastewater treatment systems has also compounded the issue.

How rainwater harvesting can help
Recycling and reusing water is important, but it needs to be amply supported by rainwater harvesting. No doubt, contaminated lakes and ponds are a big source of precious water, but it is much easier to simply store rainfall. It is more affordable, less time-consuming, and easier to implement than the complicated systems that are required for wastewater treatment.

There are myriad ways in which rainwater can be captured and stored like installing rain barrels with pipes, hanging rain funnelling chains, rooftop containers that channel rainwater into sumps and borewells, and if you have space, then setting up a mini-reservoir in your garden.

Following any of these simple DIY processes can drastically reduce or even eliminate your water bills, and cushion the impact as well as slow down climate change. Most importantly, it can help an entire country quench its thirst with unlimited water.

In her previous life, Swati was a writer and editor for 12 years in the corporate world. She has experience crafting content for various industries ranging from financial services to senior executive hiring to lifestyle. Currently, she is enjoying the challenges that come with being a freelance content professional and entrepreneur. She also finds more time for her passions that include reading, photography, travelling, and running.


Modi govt’s ethanol blending plan aims to get Rs 41,000 cr investment, lower oil import bill
When ethanol — which is made from molasses, grains, etc — is mixed into petrol, it results in a fuel that is believed to be as efficient but less harmful to the environment.


New Delhi: The central government is expecting investments of up to Rs 41,000 crore to help India achieve its ethanol blending target of 10 per cent by 2022 and 20 per cent by 2025.

This investment is likely to arrive as capacity addition for ethanol-producing distilleries in addition to building new ones, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said Tuesday as he addressed a press conference regarding the progress of the government’s Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP), and the road map for it.

When ethanol — which is made from molasses, grains, etc — is mixed into petrol, it results in a fuel that is believed to be as efficient but less deleterious to the environment.

Ethanol blending in petrol is a critical part of the Modi government’s plans to cut India’s oil import bill and shrink its carbon footprint in pursuit of its battle against climate change.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advanced India’s targeted transition to 20 per cent ethanol blending by five years, to 2025 from 2030, with an aim to begin the rollout of this fuel — “E20” — by 2023.

At the press conference, Pandey detailed the government’s plans to set aside surplus food products like sugarcane towards the goal of increasing ethanol production, while also highlighting how it will usher in new employment opportunities, primarily in rural areas, besides strengthening the agricultural economy.

“EBP will a bring positive impact on the country’s economy, along with promoting ethanol as an indigenous non-polluting and virtually inexhaustible fuel. This reduces carbon monoxide emission by 30-50 per cent and hydrocarbon by 20 per cent,” he said.

“The production of fuel-grade ethanol and its supply to oil companies has increased by 5 times from 2013-14 to 2018-19. In 2018-19, ethanol production touched 189 crore litres, thereby achieving 5 per cent blending. The ethanol supply in the current year 2020-21 is more than 300 crore litres, contributing 8-8.5 per cent blending levels. We would be achieving a 10 per cent blending target by 2022,” he added.

So far, India has drawn EBP-related investment to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore, he said, adding that India has plans to boost ethanol production by 1,600 crore litres in the coming times.


World Environment Day 2021: Messages, wishes, slogans, quotes, WhatsApp and Facebook status to share on this day (image : an art by Nishat Rehman (12),Shantipur, Golaghat)

: Every year on June 5 Wold Environment Day 2021 is celebrated to spread awareness among people to conserve the environment for a healthy and better future. This day was created by United Nations in 1974 to create awareness regarding the need to protect our surroundings.

In a wake to go digitalise, we have forgotten that our mother nature is vulnerable to technologies that are harming the environment. It is essential to save and rebuild the relationship with nature, as the environment is made up of every living and non-living beings. Also known as Eco Day or Environment Day, people on this day, organise various events in schools, colleges and offices. The aim to organise exhibition, conference and events is to encourage people to plant more trees and give tips to save the environment. World Environment Day 2021 theme is “Ecosystem Restoration”, and the global host of this campaign will be Pakistan.

As the special day is around the corner, we have brought you some wishes, quotes and messages that you can send to your family and friends just by sitting and home. Also, you can post these on your WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram status to spread mass awareness.

A very Happy World Environment Day to all my friends. Let us protect our environment to make our planet a happier place to live for generations to come.

Let us celebrate the occasion of World Environment Day by working together to save our planet from everything that harms it. Warm wishes on this day.

Start today to save tomorrow. There should be no tomorrow in taking steps to save the earth.

Wishing you a very Happy World Environment Day. Let us be responsible for our environment.

Also Read National Higher Education Day 2021: Why we celebrate Higher Education Day?..
National Higher Education Day 2021: Why we celebrate Higher Education Day?..
Let us give our coming generations a healthier and happier environment to have a beautiful life… Best wishes on World Environment Day.

World Environment Day will keep reminding us of the wrong we did to our environment and the right we need to do to correct it all.

Earth provides us with everything that we need and therefore, we must take care of it with all our efforts. Wishing a very Happy World Environment Day to all.

Let us make it a memorable World Environment Day for our planet by coming together to make our planet a cleaner and greener home for everyone. Warm wishes on this day to all.

Saving the environment means saving a life. Let’s make the world environment day more successful by taking an oath to protect nature. Happy world environment day!

Let us do our small bit to make the world a cleaner and healthier place… Happy World Environment Day.

Deforestation is changing our climate, harming people and the natural world. We must, and can, reverse this trend.

Save the trees our ancestors planted and plant new ones as a gift to our coming generations…. This is the best way to have a greener environment….. Make World Environment Day more successful by planting more trees!!!

Celebrations of World Environment Day come with a promise to save the environment and the world.

Do not pollute water, land, air, and environment because once it is lost, it is lost forever….. Sending warm wishes on World Environment Day with a promise to take care of our environment.

World Environment Day 2021 Quotes

For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realise that, in order to survive, he must protect it. —Jacques-Yves Cousteau

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another- Mahatma Gandhi

The Earth is what we all have in common. —Wendell Berry

Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval. When a man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.- Oscar Wilde

The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations. —John Paul II

I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order. —John Burroughs

Away, away, from men and towns To the wildwood and the downs, To the silent wilderness, Where the soul need not repress its music. —Percy Bysshe Shelley

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. —Frank Lloyd Wright

Water is H2O, hydrogen two parts, oxygen one, but there is also a third thing, that makes it water and nobody knows what that is.- D.H. Lawrence

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children — Native American Proverb

The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for. —Ernest Hemingway

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. —Frank Lloyd Wright

Choose only one master—nature. —Rembrandt

The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. — Baha’U’Llah

Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are. — Gretel Ehrlich

Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral. — John Burroughs

World Environment Day 2021 Messages

Taking care of the environment today will promise us a happier tomorrow. Happy World Environment Day.

We must join hands to save our beautiful planet as there is no other place in the universe so beautiful, so vibrant and so lively. Let us be more responsible. Happy World Environment Day.

On the occasion of World Environment Day, let us pledge to work hard in making Earth a greener and healthier place to live. Let us come together to plant more trees and spread greenery.

We must come together to protect and save our planet in order to make it a healthier and happier place to live for our generations to come. Wishing you a Happy World Environment Day.

Mother Nature has always been kind to us and now it is time to return all the favours by showing a responsible attitude towards the environment. Warm wishes on World Environment Day to you.

Let us save the environment for our generations to come. Happy World Environment Day.

If we don’t protect our environment today, we will repent later. A very Happy World Environment Day.

It is our responsibility to keep our surroundings clean and green and we all must make the best of the efforts to do so, to save our Mother Earth and live happily. Happy World Environment Day.

By caring for the environment, you care for yourself and for your coming generations. Let us be more responsible towards our environment to make it a better place. Happy World Environment Day.

Planting more and more trees is one of the best ways to make the world a healthier place to live and save the environment. On World Environment Day 2021, let us pledge to plant more trees.

World Environment Day will keep reminding us of the wrong we did to our environment and the right we need to do to correct it all.

World Environment Day 2021 Slogans

Harmony with the environment is the need of the hour. With discord, we will soon be left with nothing in our hands.

Never blame the environment but always blame yourself for not taking care of the most precious gift God gave us.

What should be our first priority is sadly the last one….. Always keep the environment before everything else!!!

Let us do our small bit to make the world a cleaner and healthier place… Happy World Environment Day.

Celebrations of World Environment Day come with a promise to save the environment and the world.

If you will pollute water, you can never expect to find clean drinking water. Save the environment and save our planet.

The best that we can do for our coming generations is that save the environment for them.

Let us take a pledge to make our environment healthier and greener on World Environment Day.

The onus of saving our environment is on us and World Environment Day is a reminder.

Those who ignore their surroundings will soon have to face the agitation of Mother Nature…. Let us act and take care of our environment.

We claim Nature to be our Mother but we never take the responsibility of caring for Her.

Posted By: Niharika Sanjeeiv. Jagran Lifestyle Desk


Rarely spotted Mandarin Duck and Black-necked Crane stop by in Assam==========“I couldn’t believe it,” says Madhab Gogoi excitedly over the phone from Assam, about his surprise date with the spectacular-looking bird in the early weeks of February. He was at Maguri-Motapung beel (wetland) in Tinsukia district, Assam, birdwatching in the wetlands when he noticed a colourful bird floating on the surface of the lake. Curious, he zoomed in with his binoculars and realised that it was the Mandarin duck, a rare bird that was last seen in Assam in the 1900s.

“It was a historic moment, as the bird has shown up after 120 years at the same location. It was last spotted at Dibru river in Tinsukia in 1902. The streak of colours on the plumage, especially the male during the breeding season is a mind-boggling mix of white, green, golden orange and blue. You can call it the ‘queen’ among water birds,” says Gogoi.


The eBird website, a platform that documents birds the world over, calls it a ‘small-exotic looking bird’ native to East Asia, and describes the male as ‘very ornate with big orangey ‘sail fins’ on the back, streaked orangey cheeks, and a small red bill with a whitish tip.’

According to birders like Jaydev Mandal, the duck “seems to have strayed from its regular migratory path”. He says over call from Assam, “They breed in Russia, Korea, Japan and the northeastern parts of China — as the name Mandarin also suggests. The species is also found in western Europe and the US. The bird rarely visits India as the wintering grounds of the birds are Mongolia and China.”

After Assam, a lone Mandarin duck was spotted last week in Arunachal Pradesh at Siikhe lake, Ziro, a first spotting of this small and exotic species in the State.
It is suspected that it is the same duck from Assam’s Maguri Motapung wetland spotted earlier this month that has made a 300-kilometre journey to get there.
Jaydev spearheaded the second edition of Bihu Bird Count that covered 27 districts and recorded 400 species of birds. “ We can call it a vagrant that briefly stopped by at the same location where it was last seen in the 20th Century, making it a record sighting.”

“Maybe it’s a casual sighting” says Nilutpal Mahanta, a PhD scholar at Gauhati University and an avid birder. “If one studies the migratory pathways listed on ebird, we learn that this bird is not a winter visitor to India. The birds that flock wintering grounds in India take the Central Asian Flyway, and Mandarin ducks don’t take that route.

It could even be a species that escaped from an illegal wildlife trader. The ducks is often captured and traded because of its beauty. Illegal trading of exotic species is rampant along China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar border,” he adds.

Rare sightings
Naturalists suspect that climate changes and habitat destruction have triggered a spate of rare sightings in Assam. A pair of black-necked cranes were also sighted in the countryside of the outskirts of the Panbari range of Manas National Park, a first-ever record in Assam.

Black-necked crane sighted at Manas National Park, Assam.
Black-necked crane sighted at Manas National Park, Assam. | Photo Credit: Nilutpal Mahanta

Explains Nilutpal, “It is a medium-sized crane that breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and remote parts of India and Bhutan. They have been mostly recorded in high altitudes of Jimithang and Sangti valley in western parts of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Locals of Panbari have named bird deu korchon (Deu means related to God and mythology, and Korchon means crane) as it has mythological importance in Buddhist culture.”

Though the environment became stable in the last year with less pollution, habitat destruction is a cause of worry, says Nilutpal. “In January, we also spotted the rarely seen Indian golden oriole in Assam. Such rare sightings make us happy but also leave us confused,” he explains.

Gogoi is happy; the appearance of Mandarin duck has kick-started a discussion on conservation. “Of the 1,200 birds that can be seen in India, over 900 species are found in the Northeast part of India, including Assam and Mizoram. Birders throng to Assam to see resident beauties like grey peacock pheasant and white winged wood duck,” he says. Then adds, “But the beauty of Mandarin has left not just the naturalists, but also the general public speechless. It has inspired them to give a serious thought about conservation. It is heartening.”

Disaster, Environment

5 Bodies Recovered, Over 150 Missing in Flash Flood Triggered by Nandadevi Glacier Break in Chamoli; Uttarakhand -=====5 Bodies Recovered , 100 feared to death as Nanda Devi glacier broke and crashed into the dam in Chamoli district :——————A part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, leading to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and causing large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalaya. Over 150 labourers working at a power project in Tapovan-Reni are feared dead, an Indo Tibetan Border Police spokesperson said while quoting the project-in charge. Five bodies were recovered. The power project was swept away completely, added state Director General of Police Ashok Kumar while describing the situation as under control. Homes along the way were also swept away as the waters rushed down the mountainsides in a raging torrent. There were fears of damage in human settlements downstream, including in heavily populated areas. Many villages were evacuated and people taken to safer areas. Connectivity with some border posts was “totally restricted” due to a bridge collapsing near Reni village, an ITBP spokesperson said.

Several districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun, that were likely to be affected were put on high alert and forces of the ITBP and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed in to help with the rescue and relief effort. I am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand, prays for everyone’s safety, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. News that the 150 labourers at the project on Rishi Ganga were affected had come in the early in the day. Representatives of the power project have told me that they are not being able to contact around 150 of their workmen at the project site,” said State Disaster Response Force DIG Ridhim Aggarwal. The waters in the Dhauli Ganga, a tributary of the Ganga, was flowing two to three metres above normal, the official added. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and assured him of all possible support to deal with the situation arising from the glacier burst and the resulting floods. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah also said teams of the NDRF were deployed for rescue and relief operations of the affected people while additional troops of the force were being airlifted from Delhi


Dzukou to open for tourists from February 1
By Medolenuo Ambrocia

Kohima: Dzukou valley will re-open for tourists from February 1, even as the process for ascertaining the damage incurred during the wildfire continues.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Kohima, Rajkumar M, IFS, told EastMojo that Dzukou fire assessment is still awaited from the Forest Survey of India (FSI). The FSI will be providing an assessment of satellite imagery estimation for the damages.

President of the Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) Zakieleto Tsukhru told EastMojo that the valley would be open for tourists on February 1. He said that the SAYO volunteers are still monitoring the activities at Dzukou even after the fire was doused.

Tsukhru said that once the valley is open for tourists, all visitors will be required to produce identification proofs at the two entry points—Viswema and Jakhama. This he said will help to maintain a record of all individuals visiting the valley.

While Dzukou valley shares border with Nagaland and Manipur, he said that as per an agreement made, visitors entering the valley beside the two designated entry points would be considered as trespassers.

He said that the Youth body also plans to exercise its own survey of the damage caused during the recent fire. The fire at Dzukou broke out on December 29 and was completely doused on January 11, after which fire-fighting personnel were gradually demobilised.

Keneingutuo Richard from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) who was part of the fire-fighting team that camped at Dzukou valley to douse the fire said that even as the valley opens up for tourists and visitors, more precautionary measures should be ensured, especially during the dry season. Urging the need to practice responsible tourism, he said that an irresponsible act by one single trekker could lead to a major loss.

Adviser to the chief minister of Nagaland also took to Twitter saying “The amazingly beautiful #DzukouValley has been reopened for tourists & adventure lovers. Responsible tourism must be followed by one and all. Please #LeaveNoTrace.”


India to establish regional climate centre for Himalayas, to benefit country, neighbours: IMD chief

India is planning to establish a regional climate centre for the Himalayan mountain region which will not only provide weather-related advices within the country but also to its neighbours, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said on Monday. Mohapatra said the work for establishing such a centre has already begun and talks are also on with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

China is also building a similar regional climate centre on its side of the Himalayas, he said. Addressing a webinar on ‘Weather and Climate Services over Mountains Region’, Mohapatra said India has the eastern ghats, western ghats along the east and the west coast and the Myanmar hills in the northeast. Considering the size of Himalayas and its role in India’s hydrology, meteorology, disaster management, ecosystem and many other activities, the world has correctly recognised it as the ‘third pole of the world’, he noted.

As a part of the ecosystem, as a part of the land, ocean, atmosphere system, the mountains, including the Himalayas and all other hill ranges play a significant role, Mohapatra stressed. Being a data sparse region, the relative observational network is limited as compared to the plain ranges of the country, Mohapatra observed. He said there is a scope to improve further the physical understanding of various processes occurring in these mountains regions, their modelling and hence the forecasting and warning services.

“At the same time, we have to develop the climate applications scenarios, especially with respect to water sector, industries, tourism, agriculture, specifically in these mountains regions.

“We are planning to establish a regional climate centre for the mountains region and it will be providing advices not only to India but also to the entire region in the Himalayas,” he said.

The RCC is likely to come up in Delhi, Mohapatra later told the PTI. The RCC will provide weather-related services specially for the farmers and tribes residing there. He added that Himansh, the country’s remote and high altitude research centre, established in 2016, will also undertake weather research activities in the Himalayas. Mohapatra said a lot of initiatives have been taken by the Ministry of Earth Sciences and IMD for augmentation of observational network with deployment of doppler radars and automated weather stations and with the development of region specific numerical models and application activities with improvement in forecast activities and warning services. He said the disasters in the mountainous regions play a dominant role in deciding socio-economic activities.

Mohapatra said natural calamities in Himalayas like the earthquakes are well-recognised — the heavy rainfall leading to cloud bursts and also many other phenomena that affect the local agriculture, local industry, local bio-system, local lives. “We also have various types of disaster phenomenon in other hill ranges like western and eastern ghats. In the recent times, we all have witnessed that because of the monsoon rains, how the landslides, which have generally realised in the Himalayan ranges or the northeast states… how disastrous landslides have been realised in Karnataka and Kerala states,” Mohapatra said.

He added that similar landslides have taken place when cyclones have crossed Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Environment, Nature

Bird Watching, Cherry Blossoms: PM Modi On Connect With Nature

PM Modi advised everyone to connect with bird watching as well and added that he also recently spent time with birds in Gujarat’s Kevadia.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 71st radio programme Mann ki Baat today spoke about how our lives have taken a drastic turn due to the coronavirus pandemic but has brought us closer to nature. He said the pandemic has given us an opportunity to experience nature in a “new manner”.
PM Modi spoke about cherry blossoms first. As we step into winter, the prime minister said, the internet is abound with photos of beautiful cherry blossoms, found distinctly in Japan. However, the photos that have caught the attention of many are not from Japan, the PM adds.

“These are pictures of Shillong of our Meghalaya. These cherry blossoms have further enhanced the beauty of Meghalaya,” PM Modi said.

PM Modi said that our perspective in observing nature has also undergone a change.

November 12 marked the 125th birth anniversary of renowned ornithologist Dr Salim Ali also known as the “Birdman of India”. Praising Dr Ali highly for his illustrious life and career, PM Modi said his work attracted a large number of bird watchers to India.

“I have always been an ardent admirer of people who are fond of bird watching. With utmost patience, for hours together from morn to dusk, they can do bird watching, enjoying the scenic beauty of nature; they also keep passing on the knowledge gained to us,” PM Modi said.

He advised everyone to connect with bird watching as well and added that he also recently spent time with birds in Gujarat’s Kevadia.

The Prime Minister had visited Geodesic Aviary Dome in Kevadia late in October and shared a number of photos from the visit.

He added that time spent among birds will bring people closer to nature.

“It will also inspire you towards the environment,” PM Modi added.(NDTV)