Assamese Scientist discovers pathway to curb viral diseases

Image

by Chandan Kumar Duarah

A good number of students, researcher and scientists from the northeastern part of the country engaged in different fields, acquired tremendous achievements in foreign countries. Very recently an Assamese scientist working in USA, has shown a new path that can help cure any viral disease like influenza, herpes or HIV. Dr. Ankoor Roy and his colleagues’ achievement has been recognized worldwide by Structure, a prestigious scientific journal.

In an interview Dr. Roy said they used P22 bacteriophage as a model system for the research. The researcher and his team have identified small protein which plays a critical role in identifying its own DNA and pumps its own DNA to form a new virus particle inside the host cell. Structure solved by them will help to design drugs against herpes and HIV virus as they also have the same mechanism and protein. This will ultimately help to stop the recognition event of its own DNA and multiplication the virus particles inside the host. It is to be mentioned that understanding the viral life cycle is very important to develop drugs against them. Till now there is no cure for any viral disease, like influenza, herpes or HIV. Most of the studies are directed towards understanding the life-cycle of virus.

Dr. Roy who graduated from Gauhati University and is now working in Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia says both bacteria and viruses are very small, but bacteria, given the proper nutrients, can grow and produce on their own. Viruses cannot “live” or reproduce without getting inside some living cell, whether it’s a plant, animal, or bacteria. Bacteriophage is virus that looks like an alien landing pod. With its six legs, the bacteriophage attaches to the surface of the much larger bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli). Once attached, the bacterophage injects DNA into bacterium. The DNA instructs the bacterium to produce masses of new viruses and so many are produced that the E. coli bursts. Because of the similarities between bacteriophage and animal cell viruses, bacteriophage (P22) is viewed as a model system, Roy said. Dr.Roy is the only son of Mr. Hemendra Kumar Roy and Mrs. Tarudevi Roy residing at Shantipur (Guwahati) in the state of Assam, India. His wife Dr. Monalisa Majumdar is a Research Engineer at L. G. IRIS in USA and fortunately the protein structure illustrated by Mrs Majumdar takes place on the cover page of the journal “STRUCURE”..

 Image

Dr. Ankoor Roy

The team used a bottom up approach where they identified and determined the structure of a small protein crystallography, which is responsible for identifying its own DNA from the pool of bacterial DNA. This work is very significant from the point of understanding the biology of virus and deigning drugs against it.

Keywords: bacteriophage, Escherichia coli (E. coli). Terminase, procapsids, nanomeric, dodecamer, ATPase, virology.

 The writer is former Robert Bosch Fellow (Germany) and Assamese popular science writer

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chandan Kumar Duarah in University of Turin, Italy during his visit

Chandan Kumar Duarah in University of Turin, Italy during his study

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The University of Pisa

Image

Galileo Galilei became professor of mathematics at the Pisan Studium in 1589.

Photograph: Chandan Kumar Duarah

The University of Pisa was officially established in 1343,[1] although a number of scholars claim its origin dates back to the 11th century.[weasel words]
The first reliable data on the presence of secular and monastic schools of law in Pisa is from the eleventh and the second half of the twelfth century, when Pisa had already achieved a remarkable economic development. Further, the next century form the first documents that prove the presence of doctors of medicine and surgery.
The earliest evidence of a Pisan “Studium” dates to 1338, when the renowned jurist Ranieri Arsendi transferred to Pisa from Bologna. He along with Bartolo da Sassoferrato, a lecturer in Civil Law, were paid by the Municipality to teach public lessons.
With the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, the University of Pisa became one of the new state’s most prestigious cultural institutions. Between the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries the following prestigious lecturers taught at Pisa: the lawyers Francesco Carrara and Francesco Buonamici, philologists Domenico Comparetti and Giovanni D’Ancona, historians Pasquale Villari, Gioacchino Volpe and Luigi Russo, philosopher Giovanni Gentile, economist Giuseppe Toniolo and mathematicians Ulisse Dini and Antonio Pacinotti. The first European institute of Historical Linguistics was founded in Pisa in 1890.
During the years of fascism the Pisa Athenaeum was an active centre for political debate and antifascist organisation.
After the second world war the University of Pisa returned to the avant-garde in many fields of knowledge. To the faculties of engineering and pharmacy, established pre-war, were added economics, foreign languages and literature and politics. In 1967 the ‘Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento S. Anna’ was founded which, together with ‘La Scuola Normale’, formed a highly prestigious learning and teaching centre.
Today the University of Pisa boasts eleven faculties and fifty-seven departments, with high level research centres in the sectors of agriculture, astrophysics[citation needed], computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and veterinary medicine. Furthermore the University has close relations with the Pisan Institutes of the National Research Council, with many cultural institutions of national and international importance, and with industry, especially that of information technology, which went through a phase of rapid expansion in Pisa during the nineteen sixties and seventies.
The papal bull ‘In supremae dignitatis’, granted by Pope Clement VI on September 3, 1343, recognized the ‘Studium’ of Pisa as a ‘Studium Generale’; an institution of further education founded or confirmed by a universal authority, the Papacy or Empire. Pisa was one of the first European universities that could boast this papal attestation, which guaranteed the universal, legal value of its educational qualifications.
The first taught subjects were theology, civil law, canon law and medicine. In 1355 Francesco da Buti, the well-known commentator of Dante’s Divine Comedy, began teaching at the “Studium”.

PhD studies are instead usually offered and arranged by the departments. The lectures are mostly given in Italian, except for a number of courses at the faculty of foreign languages and literatures and some scientific programmes, such as the international MSc in aerospace engineering (EuMAS), the Master of Science in Space Engineering[6] and the Master in Computer Science and Networking,[7] jointly offered with Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Students have at their disposal also a Language Centre, where they can attend to courses of foreign languages, a Sports Centre (Cus Pisa), who also arrange for many Sports Intramural Leagues and allows to make the sports practice in almost all the disciplines available in Italy, and three University Refectories (Mense universitarie).
The University of Pisa is not organized in the form of one unique campus, but its many buildings are scattered in the whole Pisa area, especially in the city centre.
Today the University of Pisa boasts eleven faculties and fifty-seven departments, with high level research centres in the sectors of agriculture, astrophysics[citation needed], computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and veterinary medicine. Furthermore the University has close relations with the Pisan Institutes of the National Research Council, with many cultural institutions of national and international importance, and with industry, especially that of information technology, which went through a phase of rapid expansion in Pisa during the nineteen sixties and seventies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chandan Kumar Duarah reports achivement of Assamese scientist

 

Altruism has been reported among bacterial population and among humans and other animals, like monkeys, and elephants. But in mammalian cells at the cellular level the idea of altruism has never been described before. Fortunately Mr Bikul Das an Indian (Assamese) scientist who is doing his research at Stanford University School of Medicine has just found that altruism is far more common in Homo sapiens, and goes right down to our cells. Cancer cell is considered as a disease of cellular evolution to reach a state of self sufficiency and immortality. The final stage of these evolution is the appearance of aggressive and metastatic cancer cells. These aggressive cancer cells exhibit some molecular and cellular features of embryonic stem cells. A research paper by Mr Das has been published in leading international journal “Stem Cells” (June, 2012) revealed that human embryonic stem cells under duress produce molecules that not only benefit themselves but also help nearby cells survive.

It is thought that this find will open a door for a better understanding of hESC (Human Embryonic Stem Cell) altruism could provide new insights into cancer therapies, as well as enhancing researches of other scientists.

While altruism is generally thought of as a virtue, it can have a downside for human embryonic stem cells (hESC): the altruistic cells appear to be more prone to accumulating mutations, a sign that could lead to cancers. When asked how idea to research in this particular subject came to his mind and how it materialized Mr Das said that he saw his father suffering from esophageal cancer when he was about to start his post-graduate training in AIIMS, New Delhi. His father asked him about the disease and he was unsatisfied with because there were no answer to some problems. His father died without cure. Mr Das decided to further expand his own idea on cell growth and cancer, and do research on cancer. So he started thinking on his own ideas on cell growth, about why some cells grow out of control to become cancerous cells. “During my PhD and fellowship training in Toronto (Hospital for Sick Children), I found that exposure of cancer cells to oxidative stress could induce embryonic stem cells like state (the stemness state) to cancer cells. This oxidative stress-induced stem cell like cancer cell state (cancer stemness state) is aggressive, and highly fluctuating (unstable) unlike the normal stemness state, which is stable and less fluctuating’ Mr Das who hails from Sualkuchi, Kamrup district in Assam, said.

It is to be recalled that Bikul Das never let down his sprit and idear despite many troubles he had faced. The scientist had first discussed the idea at a conference in Milan (Italy) in2005. But the experts laughed it off since had no model to demonstrate the transformation. According to Mr Das, altruism is not so easy to demonstrate. He needed hardcore evidence to convince other scientists. So he had to work on the subject with specialist Dr Herman Yeger at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He got help from Dr Rika Tsuchida (an assistant professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental Hospital) and a few students, Reza Mokhtari, Micky Tsui and Samim Lofti. Dr Peter W Andrews (hails from UK) , considered one of the two authorities of embryonic stem cell research is informed about the progress and has already congratulated Das on his success. After completion of MBBS he served in neighbouring country Bhutan under Ministry of Health and participated in a WHO training course on Tuberculosis control. In 2000 while he was in India on a break and working on a book on antioxidants and that was the time of the idea struck him strongly. “There I had proposed the idea of ‘cytoprotection’ –how cells protect themselves from free radicals, hypoxia and radiation through molecular mechanisms. But it took me 12 years to come up with a cell model to demonstrate altruism at the cellular level”- he said.

According to Mr Das one possible explanation of why cancer cell switch to an embryonic stem cell like state is that there are two kinds of stem cell states: stable state (life supporting) and an unstable state of aggression (life-destroying). Cancer cell may evolve into unstable state of stemness state.v When asked the other prospects of stem cell research with the help of altruism or altruistic cells he said -” Great promise, we just identified the stem cell type. We are now going to study the basic architecture of stemness. The question is what really define the identity of these cells. It is not genetics, because they share the same genes with other cells. It is, we beleived the EPIGENTICs, a fast emerging field.”

Now he is preparing to study the redox state of altruistic and cancer stem cells. The redox state is the fine balance of free-radicals and antioxidant in the mitochondria of stem cells and cancer stem cells where these cells turned off oxygen-metabolism but turned-on the anaerobic metabolism (glyclolysis).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What after ‘God Paricle’ …

Image

Indian (Assamese) science journalist C. K. Duarah in CERN, Geneva 

As weeks passed, rumors began to brew. Scientists from the world’s most expensive experiment called Large Hadrons Collider of CERN announced what they claim was the discovery of a “missing” particle that adds mass to matter (the Higgs boson, or so-called God particle). But people don’t want to know the detail of the Higgs. Not yet. They want to know why it is important and how this changes human history.

Not only me, the first week of the month of July must have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for science community. Now most of people aware that on July 4th scientists of CMS and ATLAS detectors of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva announced the discovery of a new particle. I visited the largest and most expensive laboratory and had a training as a science journalist when the LHC begun its operation of proton collision in 2010. I have been in close touch with CERN and a constant follower of its activities and progress it since this visit.  Anyway, Higgs has opened up the door to a conversation between scientists and the public.
First and foremost discovery of Higgs carries the scientific importance of the discovery. It will recap the importance of this manifestation of the Higgs field. The Higgs field provides the many of them acquire a non-zero mass, and the mass is crucially important to us because it allows the formation of atoms, which in turn beget molecules, which in turn beget us! Now we have found the particle, which is a component or medium of the dark matter in our universe, which look dark to our eyes. And it is expected that we might be provided with clues that reveal the trail to unraveling the ultimate holy grail of fundamental particle physics – a quantum theory of gravity. It is theorized that with a quantum theory of gravity we may be able to trace the Big Bang expansion back to its very beginning, and understand precisely how our universe arose, presumably from nothing. It is important for Standard Model of particle physics. It is one of the most successful theories to explain how elementary particles interact with the fundamental forces. It is one key to the eternal quest to understand where the universe comes from.

The particle found by two teams of ATLAS and CMS detectors looking for the Higgs particle were 99.999% sure, a 5 sigma result, the “gold standard” for such work that they what they were seeing wasn’t a fluke. Scientists were sure that CERN would not get to 5 sigma by the time June last Melbourne conference on high energy physics. So it happened in the very last week. It was obviously an emotional moment when the announcement was made at the seminar on July 4. It was 48 years ago that that came up with a mechanism to account for the existence of mass, predicting the Higgs boson in the process.

Physicists were hoping that the LHC would throw up particles that would validate super symmetry, but it hasn’t happened so far. Now scientists who are associated with research of super symmetry theory are very happy with the discovery of Higgs boson. Because some parts of super symmetry (SUSY) theory – called minimal models – would not hold if the particle was heavier than 135 GeV. If the Higgs boson had turned out to be more massive than 135 giga electron volts (GeV) some of researcher’s work on super symmetry would have had to be abandoned. Fortunately, the Higgs Boson particle seems to have a mass of 125 GeV. SUSY is now a critical part of theoretical physics. It resolves many inconsistencies in theories and holds them together in a neat and beautiful mathematical framework. Already the simplest versions of the supersymmetry have been ruled out and the Higgs boson at 125 GeV could require even more changes, making many physicists nervous.
At the moment, they are scientists calling it a “particle consistent with the Higgs”. The next step is to find out for sure that is what it is. In one sense it is the end of the road, in that it’s last piece of the standard model to be discovered.  But in another, it’s the beginning of where machines like the LHC go next. The next stage of exploration will include measuring all the properties they haven’t seen. Hopefully this will provide clues for things like super symmetry, which could be a comprehensive way to go beyond the Standard Model because it provides a framework for things like dark matter.

The Higgs-heretics points out the holes in the data so far collected allow other interpretations to also “fit”. One of the main points to their disbelief is that while the new particle has so far behaved like the long-sought Higgs Boson, it was also much lighter than expected. This opens up possibility of a pantheon of Higgs Boson-like particles. This reason would help explain other mysteries, such as the elusive “dark matter” which is thought to make up more than a quarter of the universe. The reasons physicists have been questing for the Higgs Boson for so long is it may be what gives atoms their mass. Without mass, nothing can bind together to form stars, planets and living things.

The Standard Model still has holes in it something needs to account for the dark matter and energy in the universe. Alternative theories to super symmetry exist. Some require additional forces in nature, new interactions among particles, or for the Higgs boson itself to be composed of simplest pieces. However those models have their own problems to be a consistent model of nature. As yet super symmetry is still the front-runner for theories beyond the Standard Model and most physicists remain optimistic for its prospects. Some scientists are hopeful that besides the discovery of the Higgs, they will also see something else. Already the simplest version of the super symmetry has been ruled out and the Higgs boson at 125 GeV could require even more changes, making many physicists nervous.

First and foremost discovery of Higgs carries the scientific importance of the discovery. It will recap the importance of this manifestation of the Higgs Field.  Higgs field provides the many of them acquire a non- zero mass, and the mass is crucially important to us because it allows the formation of atoms, which in turn beget molecules, which in turn beget us! It is important for Standard Model of particle physics. It is one of the most successful theories to explain how elementary particles interact with the fundamental forces. It is one key to the eternal quest to understand where the universe comes from. Secondly it is of economic and better future. It is that scientific quest worth billion dollars in the difficult financial times.

The string theory of physics is also an important theory, which is impossible to test so far. It could gain in credence if evidence for super symmetry crops up at the LHC. The Higgs like particle takes us a step closer to solving the mystery of the universe, which is inextricably connected to the mystery of our own origin. Likewise, other new physics is now more likely to be uncovered at CERN’s LHC, which will add to our knowledge base. The new particle, which has a mass about 130 times greater than the proton mass, would appear to be the long sought after Higgs Boson. The actual confirmation that it is Higgs will still need to be the long sought after Higgs Boson. The actual confirmation that it is a Higgs will still need to await some final experimental checks, but it certainly has all the characteristics of a Higgs particle so far. The new particle, which has a mass about 130 times greater than the proton mass, would appear to be the long sought after Higgs boson. The actual confirmation that it is Higgs will still need to be the long sought after Higgs boson. The actual confirmation that it is a Higgs will still need to await some final experimental checks, but it certainly has all the characteristics of a Higgs particle so far.

The LHC is going to shut down by the end of the year for two years, during which time engineers would rewire the machines to double its power. It has now been given a three-month extension before shut down to probe the newly discovered particles aggressively. By the end of the year, LHC would have generated three times more data than it has now. That would be helpful to validate some theories, including the Higgs boson, but not necessarily conclusive for anything.

One of the founders of the Higgs theory, Gerald Garalnik, was quoted in the New York Times saying he was glad to be at a physics meeting “where there is a applause, like a football game”. But there may not be always applause. Scientists at Cornell University have cast doubt on what it was the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider actually saw raising questions about whether enough data has been collected to make an accurate call. There is a difference between finding a particle and saying that it is the Standard Model Higgs. If we find something that looks like a duck and walks like a duck, we can’t say that it is a duck, Vivek Sharma, professor of physics at the University of California in San Diego said. Anyway the purported discovery of the Higgs Boson is only the beginning of this spectacle. Future discoveries would discover particles that are present everywhere but nowhere to be seen, or new dimensions of space that would help develop exotic new physics. It is presumed that the next several years, the LHC would rigorously test several theories of physics, providing many anxious moments to thousands of theoretical physicists around the world.

Chandan Kumar Duarah

first published in The Assam Times

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black carbon from Guwahati responsible for extreme regional climate change.

Image

The northeastern Indian city Guwahati must have contributed to the Black Carbon (BC) pollutants which is responsible for glacier melting in the Himalayas. Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, adjacent to Bhutan as well as the eastern Himalayas probably accelerated BC concentration to melt glaciers in the region, scientists say. The city is situated on the bank of the Brahmaputra and the BC pollutant emitted from the city effects the Brahmaputra Valley already. The Brahmaputra River Valley (BRV) of Southeast Asia recently has been experiencing extreme regional climate change in the recent years and the carbon emission in Guwahait, the largest city in the valley, is mostly responsible for the changing climate.

A research team from Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA with support from NASA calculated that, on an average, this high level of pollutants has given rise to a daily temperature increase of 2 deg Celsius. The research done by Rajan K. Chakrabarty, Mark A. Garro, Eric M. Wilcox and Hans Moosmüller reveals the role of black carbon (BC) aerosols (emitted from vehicles and other combustion sources) in the atmosphere of the region. Strong radiative heating due to wintertime black carbon aerosols in the Brahmaputra River Valley causes health hazards apart from rising temperature. It should be mentioned that further, these pollutants are out-flowing to the Himalayas (where they are melting the glaciers), and interfering with the Monsoon cycle, causing abrupt rainfall and droughts. It should be mentioned that the recent report of the Indian Association of Health Administrators, it says “There has been a rapid increase in Asthma cases in recent years in many parts of India. In Assam, 3% of the population was reported to be suffering from asthma. The reported level of asthma is 3278 per100000 population in Assam, which is higher than the level reported for India as a whole, which is 2468 per 100000 population.” Mr Chakravarty ,the Assamese scientist of the research said in this regard that the people of Assam, although unaware of the ill-effects of extreme BC pollution, are still feeling the effects of it. Apart from Asthma, Assam has been experiencing all the symptoms associated with alarming levels of BC pollution since the past 5-6 years — 1) severe droughts in Assam during 2005-06 and 2008-09 leading to ~$25M in losses due to crop failure; 2) extreme flash flooding during certain years and abnormality in monsoon patterns, and 3) strengthening of pre-monsoon tropical cyclonic systems.

Guwahati has one of the highest Black Carbon pollution levels in the world. The winter-time BC mass concentration observed in the city were higher than those measured in the mega cities of India and China, and much higher than in urban locations of Europe and USA. Mr Chakravarty, who hails from Guwahati, said that it is the rapid urbanization and poor environment quality control in Guwahati which is giving rise to such high BC levels. Guwahati is one of India’s most rapidly growing cities since the last 10-12 years. For a rapidly urbanizing city like Guwahati with a million and half population, unfortunately, it doesn’t have the infrastructure to sustain this growth. For example, there are just two major roads – GS road and the GNB road – connecting different parts of the city, and very poor public transportation system. The result is people prefer travelling in their private vehicles, which gives rise to severe traffic congestion and increased BC emissions from idling vehicles. With more and more people these days purchasing private vehicles, the energy consumption (fossil fuel) and BC emissions have increased tremendously. According to reports, more than 400,000 vehicles ply on Guwahati’s roads every day, and approximately 70% of these vehicles don’t have emission clearance certificates. So, we are looking at a situation here where majority of the vehicles plying on Guwahati roads could be emitting excessive amounts of BC and other very toxic pollutants.

The other reason which is affecting Guwahati is unplanned and open burning of solid waste disposal right in the city itself. People don’t realize the amount of BC and toxic pollutants which are emitted from burning of waste disposal. In our study, we calculated the BC to increase the daily temperature of Guwahati by 2 degree Celsius — which is pretty significant. Apart from affecting the climate, these pollutants are carcinogenic and have serious health-effects, he said. According to their research paper published last month in Geophysical Research Letters (VOL. 39, L09804, 5 PP., 2012, doi:10.1029/2012GL051148) Guwahati has one of the highest BC pollution levels in the world which is alarming. A week-long study using a micro-Aethalometer was conducted during January–February 2011 to measure black carbon (BC) aerosol mass concentrations in Guwahati (India), the largest city in the BRV region. Daily median values of BC mass concentration were 9–41 μgm−3, with maxima over 50 μgm−3 during evenings and early mornings. Median BC concentrations were higher than in mega cities of India and China, and significantly higher than in urban locations of Europe and USA. The corresponding mean cloud-free aerosol radiative forcing is −63.4 Wm−2 at the surface and +11.1 Wm−2 at the top of the atmosphere with the difference giving the net atmospheric BC solar absorption, which translates to a lower atmospheric heating rate of ∼2 K/d. To examine the possible outflow trajectories of these aerosols from Guwahati the conducted a 7 day study at different altitude levels from the surface. “The trajectories at all the different heights suggested outflow of pollutants to continental China and Tibet. Such outflow has been suggested to be a major cause of rapid melting of glaciers and permafrost” the researchers write in their reasearch paper.

We asked does the Black Carbon air pollution flow into the Himalayas from Assam and how did you establish this fact and its links with melting of Himalayan glaciers Mr Chakravarty said-“. Yes, the wind blows away the pollution from Assam into the Tibetan region and China. In the Tibetan region, these Black Carbon( BC) pollutants get deposited on the glaciers and/or reside in the atmosphere. Whether deposited on snow or residing in the atmosphere, BC particles absorb incoming sunlight and traps heat in the atmosphere. They act like an invisible blanket in the atmosphere and warms up the atmosphere.” When asked how did they find out that pollution from Guwahati goes to Tibet and China he said that using HYSPLIT computer model of NOAA — which is a complete system for computing air parcel trajectories to and fro any location in the world. The trajectories at all the different heights suggested outflow of pollutants to continental China and its Tibet region. Such outflow has been suggested to be a major cause of rapid melting of glaciers and permafrost.

Replying to a question Mr Chakravarty said the wind blows away the pollution from Assam into the Tibetan region and China. In the Tibetan region, these Black Carbon( BC) pollutants get deposited on the glaciers and reside in the atmosphere. Whether deposited on snow or residing in the atmosphere, BC particles absorb incoming sunlight and traps heat in the atmosphere. They act like an invisible blanket in the atmosphere and warms up the atmosphere.

Guwahati has one of the highest BC pollution levels in the world which is alarming. People and Govt. of Assam should realize the problems regarding the high pollution levels. Since these pollutants are out-flowing to the Himalayas (where they are melting the glaciers), and interfering with the Monsoon cycle, causing abrupt rainfall and droughts the scientists warned again. If action is not taken immediately, it might be too late for the people of Assam as well as adjacent Bhutan and China.

 

[The report was based on findings of research works done by a team of scientists from Desert Research Institute, Nevada, USA led by Rajan Chakravarty, the Assistant Research Professor of that institute.
Informations and data provided by the research team show that black carbon (BC) air pollution at different cities in the world are less than Guwahati, whereas BC concentration in the capital city of Assam is around 40 micro gram per cubic m. The BC mass concentration in some cities are 19 -Delhi, 21  -Hydrabad, 6-12 -Kanpur, 26.6 -Kolkata, 7.5- 17.5 -Mumbai, 0.4-10.2 -Banglore, 21.6 -Xi’an China), 3.5-4.2 -Urban areas in Europe and 0.25-3 -Maryland (USA). In Guwahati the BC mass concentration is around 40 microgram per cubic m. It is much higher than any other place on the earth. The table provided by the scientists is attached below. If the truth and reality of Guwahati are denied it will encourage illegal activities pouring toxics to our  environment and violation of all pollution control norms rather than taking timely measures.
]

Chandan Kumar Duarah 

First published on 26 June, 2012 in Assam Times

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Extreme rainfall intensifying flood risk

Extreme rainfall intensifying flood risk in North East
 

 Image

Chandan Kumar Duarah

Though flood is a recurring feature in this part of India, the recent deluge is quite unmatched.

Of late, the Northeastern part of the country is experiencing the impact of climate change through excessive rainfall, heavy and flash floods,  an early or late monsoon, longer summer, drought-like situation, rise in temperature, increasing pest population. Climate change in the region is found to be accelerated with large amount of carbon emission and deforestation in the North East.

Assam suffers from floods every year but this year’s flood is the worst in a decade. So, the government needs to update its plan to prevent floods. Experts observe that after a heavy precipitation event, there is less water vapour in the atmosphere, and therefore, dry spells tend to linger. In the absence of rain, extra heat exacerbates drying and can contribute to longer and more intense drought periods. So, it is feared that the Northeastern region may suffer from extreme drought.

Professor Nayan Sarma, IIT-Roorkee, has said the possible reason for the recent floods in Assam is the changes taking place in the climate. He said a study done under an Indo-German Project indicates the likely impact of climate change with the temperature projected to increase in the Brahmaputra basin in the coming decades, the higher values being in the Tibetan Plateau. Parameters directly dependent on temperature like potential evatranspiration are also assumed to show clear rising trend. This will have a severe impact on the hydrology of the Brahmaputra river basin. Different climate change indicators point to more frequent and prolonged droughts, Sarma added.

As in most emergency situation, children and women are the worst affected. They are in critical need of nutritional support and protection during this tumultuous time. These situations heighten vulnerability and expose them to abuse and threaten their very survival. Drinking water, dry food, hygiene kits, temporary shelter and infant supplementary foods are needed for these flood-hit people. Moreover, the post-flood problems heighten the risk of water-borne diseases in affected areas.

The existing water sources (well, hand pump and tube wells) are submerged and contaminated by floodwater. The stagnant water and lack of mosquito nets also raise the risk of malaria in the affected areas. Cases of viral fever and cold are reported among children. Doctors also visit these areas on rare occasions.

Floods and erosion pose a grave risk for the entire Brahmaputra valley. Globally, the Brahmaputra river system is perhaps the only one known for its loss of about 100 sq km of land per year due to bank erosion. While some districts of Assam are struggling to get rid of erosion, food scarcity and other post-flood problems, another wave of flood hits five other districts of the State – Bongaigaon, Chirang, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji. Both current waves of floods in the State have affected nearly 25000000 people in 23 districts.

The first flood in Assam affected more than 15 lakh people including children in 23 districts of which Sonitpur, Morigaon and Nagaon were the worst hit. Over 500000 people continue to live in relief camps. The second wave of flood pushed lakh of people to leave their inundated homes. About 124 people died due to the devastating floods. Over 90 per cent of hand pumps were submerged in the floodwaters.

Agriculture was among the worst affected sectors. The crop loss has been estimated well over 50 per cent. The Kaziranga National Park and the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park bore the brunt of the recent waves of floods.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is prepared to support India and Bangladesh, the South Asian countries that are experiencing heavy rains and flooding, a top UN official said. “The office is monitoring the situation in both countries and stands ready to support if the authorities request international assistance,” UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky was quoted as saying.

In the absence of rain, extra heat exacerbates drying and can contribute to longer and more intense drought periods. So, it is feared that the eastern and Northeastern regions may suffer from extreme drought.

Published in  The Sentinel.19 August, 2012

 
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘God Particle’ Discovery Could Be Announced on July 4

Image

Assamese Science journalist Chandan Kumar Duarah in CERN, Geneva

 

CERN will give update very soon on search for ‘God particle’. The elusive particle which is the theoretical missing link in the standard model of physics believed to be what gives objects mass. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research said few days ago it may announce on 4 July whether tests with its atom- smasher have found the elusive particle. The theory behind so called God particle is that mass does not derive from particles but less, if it all, with others. Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are using their Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s biggest particle accelerator, to try to prove that the mystery particle really exists. It fires streams of protons in opposite, but parallel, directions in the tunnel. The beams are then bent by powerful magnets so that some of the protons collide in four giant labs, which are lined with detectors to record the sub-atomic debris that results.

CERN will hold a scientific seminar 4 July to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson. At this seminar, coming on the eve of this year’s major particle physics conference (ICHEP), in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS (two of four detectors in LHC) experiments will deliver the preliminary results of their 2012 data analysis. There has been widespread speculation that a major announcement on the Higgs, based on careful analysis of the most interesting of over 300 trillion proton collisions in the LHC so far this year, may be made at that gathering. The Higgs boson is predicted member of a class of subatomic particles named after British physicist Peter Higgs and Indian physicist S N Bose as a mechanism to explain the origin of mass. It also remains the last missing nugget of the Standard Model, a theory of physics that explains the behaviour of all subatomic particles observed so far and all forces in nature except gravity.

Last year when it was supposed to reveal the achievement some scientists said that their data were not strong enough for any conclusion. Now it is almost confirmed this major announcement on the Higgs, based on careful analysis of the most interesting of over 300 trillion proton collisions in the LHC so far this year, may be made at that gathering. Though there was no confirmation from CERN itself it is assumed that the organisation close to formally announcing it has discovered the particle and its linked energy field, thought to have given mass to matter and shape to the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

CERN spokesman James Gillies says the centre would want to make any important announcement, once there was something to say, in Geneva. “As for what ATLAS and CMS may or may not have in the 2012 data, that’s only known to a few people in each experiment right now,” he added. Researchers on the collider’s separate ATLAS and CMS have been “blinded” – or cut off from findings from the rival team and even from different groups inside their own.

It is intriguing that both CMS and ATLAS are seeing a signal at nearby the same mass level. The latest result from the CMS group exclude with95 per cent confidence the existence of Higgs boson over a wide 1 GeV is nearly the mass of hydrogen atom. The Higgs boson has only a fleeting existence and is predicted to decay through multiple channel that create to decay through multiple channel that create other subatomic or fundamental particles. Physicists at CERN are hoping to catch a glimpse of the boson by spotting events or snapshots of its decay channel products. It is supposed that if the Higgs boson exists it is somewhere between 115 GeV and 127 GeV. The signals that CMS and ATLAS teams have seen are akin to tantalizing snapshots of something that looks like a chameleon in a forest. Researchers have been continuing refine their analysis for months to resolve the uncertainty.

A scientist in CERN said that they need to see what they have seen many more times before they can be sure of what they are really observing. But despite the similarities in the observations by CMS and ATLAS, there are also some differences in the results that needed to be solved. Unaccounted background may also explain the signals observed said an Indian scientist associated with CMS.

The ATLAS group has observed events that look like a Higgs boson with a mass of 112 GeV independently decaying into a pair of photons and four laptons and the analysis suggests that there is one percent chance by background. So far the information are disclosed, this is interesting but not enough to claim a discovery. For conclusive determination more data needed to show that the probability that the observed signal is due to background is 3 in 10 million. So no doubt new findings will bring a breakthrough.

This report by Chandan Kumar Duarah published  in Assam Times on July 4 first.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MARKETING FLASH FLOOD

Image

Lower Suwonhiri dam under construction
by Chandan Kumar Duarah
At least 14,000 people of 300 villages were affected as the 100-metre stretch of the state of the art Matmora embankment was washed away by the gushing water of the Brahamaputra. The geo-tube embankment constructed at the cost of Rs 140 crore using geo-fabric technology by the Malayasian firm Sues Kira on a 5 Km long strech could be completed on time. The swelling water of the mighty Brahamaputra entered through the 1,500 metre long incomplete stretch submerging 300 villages under Matmora, Dangdhara, Dimoruguri, Kekuri, Kherkotia, Banna and East Dhakuakhana goan panchyats. Matmora was the third casualty this monsoonal season.While Matmora dominated the proceedings of the budget session of the Assam Assambly furore was created in the House over the issue of the spree in construction of big dams in adjoining Arunachal Pradesh.In Assam at least 12 people were killed and hundreds of villages were inundated and over ten thousand people displaced in mudslides and flash floods triggered by water from Arunachal Pradesh last October. Flood or flash flood– the routine phenomena of flood in Assam has reached a more aggravating level killing more people, destroying more homes, roads, bridges, embankments, cattle and crops plunging the state in more debt.The intensity of flood in both states of Assam and Arunchal Pradesh has the alarm bell riniging. Flash flood in the Rupa subdivision of West Kameng district in western Arunachal Pradesh washed away 100 metres of the vital Bomdila-Tawang road on October 28, 2008. It is beleived that heavy rain due to climate change and glacial lake outburst cause flash flood in Arunachal Pradesh. This scenario has been aggravated with the sudden release of water from dams in the hydroelectric projects. At least 22 people were killed by flash flood in Assam in 2004.It may be a coctail of climate change (a parched Assam waiting for the blessings of the rain God), mega dam projects of Arunachal and Matmora in Assam Assembly but time is really ticking away for Assam sitting on the ‘Water bomb’ created by Arunachal Pradesh.The dams in Arunachal has createred the entire Brahamaputra valley civilization. National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC) 3,000 MW Dihang Hydropower Project’s (DHP) foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in Januray 2008, in face of huge protests from leaders even before receiving an environment impact clearness (EIC) certificate. The project which is due to be completed in nine years will displace a significant number of people in the State. Incidently, NHPC and even NEEPCO have eIucited that big dams get the nod even without proper investigation/survey of downstream impact.The repeated water of flash floods in Upper Assam triggered by sudden release of water from a hydropower dam in Upper Arunachal Pradesh has displaced thousands in Lakhimpur. Vast areas of cultivable land has become barren forcing people to leave their homes seeking other means of livelihood. About 33,000 hectare of cultivable land in 19 districts of Assam has become barren.While the repeated wave of this man-made disaster has played havoc in the socio-economic and environmental fabric of the Brahamaputra valley attributing of the antidam movement in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh went on in a signing spree of MOUs. The Arunachal government has signed 103 MOUs and another 30 are on the anvil. Without taking into consideration of downstream effect.The mega dam projects when commissioned will generate 70000 MW of which Arunachal will have the state of 12% as ‘bonus’. Arunachal government’s desire to earn ‘hydro dollars’ at the expense of Assam has brought numerous players into the field. A steady market in the east Asian countries like Vietman, Laos has big guns like Reliance Power to a lesser known Mountain Fall India on this toes.With 104 projects the Arunachal Pradesh government expects to generate one-third of India’s hydropower estimating its income at Rs 8,000 crore through the sale of its share of electricity. For the Assam government, Arunachal’s mega dams were a successful, lets say a fairy tale story, till it was blown off its feet by the disaster of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji on the lines of the disaster classic ‘Day After Tomorrow?’.It way be recalled that in 2005-06 five mega projects of the state were lapped by private firms Siyom (1,000 MW) and Tato II (700 MW) went to Reliance Energy, Hirong (500 MW) and Lower Siang (1,600 MW) to Jaypee Associates and 1,000 MW Naying bagged by DS construction. Next Bhilwara Energy, Mountain Fall, KSK Electricity Financing and GMR Energy entered the scene with nine agreements signed with a total generation target of 4,425 MV. Thirty eithty more agreements were signed by February 2008 which mounts the total private developers to 52 with combined installed capacity of 14,289.5 MW. Besides these projects, another seven projects have been awarded to public sector units like NHPC, National Thernal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the North Eeastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO). Apart from these most of the private companies which were allocated projects do not have experience in building such projects or dams. The companies wishing to invest in hydropower in the state need not have any experience in building such projects. There were no specific guidlines for determining the bidder’s technical strength or experience in building dams. There is no criteria and methodology for selecting power developers. There is no tranferency too. A glance at a notice inviting bids for three hydroelectric projects by the state government on September 25, 2007, raved that companies wishing to invest in hydropower in the state need not have any experience in building such projects. The only tech-economic requirement the government sought for constructing the mega Dibang II, Kalai I and Bharali II projects was that the ‘bidders should have a strong financial and technical base and adequate free reserves and surpluses and requisite technical capabilily’. Threre were no specific guidlines for determining the bidder’s technical strength on experience in building dams. Above all the safty concerns were also overlooked by both the state government and private players. There is no clause in the agreement fixing responsibility for the damage caused by dam break in case of earthquake on landslide whereas Arunachal Pradesh falls in high seismic zone and is landslide prone. Most bid by private proporents do not go through any scrutiny and the projects are awarded on the basis of the upfront payment and the free electricity they promise to supply to the state. For the 1000 MW Siyom project, Reliance Power paid a processing free of Rs. 1 crore and an upfront Rs. 2.1 crore. Reliance, DS Construction and Jaypee Associates for example promise 12 percent free electricity for 10 years and 15 percent thereafter, much more then public enterprises. Arunachal Pradesh Government says that it needs money from hydroelectric projects for building physical and social infrastructure in the state. A project like Dibang Multipurpose Project(DMP) can provide the state exchequer Rs 300 crore annually or 15 percent of the state’s annual revenue. Political leaders claim that the projects will also be beneficial to the people of the state directly. But the safty measures and envirornmental impact issues draw less attention. DMPs environment impact assessment (EIA) report itself says that due to high seismicity in the region the reservior should not be filled to its capacity for the first few years. So it is questioned by some environment activists that how they will generate the peak power. No one of these project developers taken into consideration the impact of melting of glaciers in Himalayas and silting of resevoirs. According to geologist Arup Saikia high discharge of silt could affect the power productions of some dams. According to a assesment by ‘Down to Earth’ the environmental journal, the DMP reservior will also submerge over 5,000 hectares of forest and NHPC will have to acquire community forest land for compensatory afforestation, which means more displacement and resource alienation. With 17 projects planned on the Dibang, communities in the region could end up losing most of their land. Moreover, diversion of water from the Rangarnadi to the Dikong for the projects not only affecting the downstream people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh but also changing the nature of the rivers. A thousand are affected by unsystematic mangement of the river. Nearly 20 hactare of land has become uncultivable due to lack of water. Since Arunachal Pradesh is is a high seismic zone and silt load in its rivers is also high, Dulal Goswami, the former head of Department of Environmental Sciences, Gauhati University says tha the lower Himalayas are young and geotectonic activity is still very strong in the region. They are also prone to landslides and geological upheavals, here any development activity warrants careful and studied interventions. Neeraj Vagholikar of Kalpaviriksh ,a NGO, says that there has been no basin-wise study to gause either the ecological, social and technical difficulties or rivers carrying capacity. In January and February 2008, the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects of the Environment ministry ordered basin studies on the Kameng and Lohit rivers. But there is a clause in the order that individual project clearances will not be subject to these basin-level studies. According to conservator of forest of Arunachal Pradesh R Kemp the government had done no study to assess the overall impact of the dams is the state. NHPC has refused any compensation to people in case of a dams break . Arunachal Pradesh is considered to have a potential of more than 50,000 MW. The state government estimates that mega hydropower projects planned in the state can augment its annual income by up to Rs 8,000 crore though the sale of its share electricity whereas the 2008 state budget of the state was Rs 2,065 crore. The state government of Arunachal Pradesh has been exposing its enthusiasm to exploit the potential given by nature and natually this has attracted major hydropower players like NHPC, Reliance power , Jaiprakash Associates and DS Constructions to the state to tap the existing opportunities. All these big players made a bee line to Arunachal to have a market in Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Laos, Myanmer, Thailand with the power generated from these projects. Arunachal Government has signed MOUs with NHPC, NTPC and NEEPCO in 2006 to generate 15,000 MW of electricity at an investment of Rs 41,457 crore. With NHPC and the state government had signed three agreements. Other than the 3,000 MW Dihang project, NHPC is also working on Rs. 3,172 crore Tawang I project with an installed capacity of 750 MW and Rs. 3,008 crore Tawang II project with an installed capacity of 750 MW as well.The government has signed MOUs with private companies against the wishes of NHPC, regotiating higher quota of free power from these players for the state. This has become possible mainly because the private players were given these projects without any bidding or purchase power agreement.Reliance Power, an energy generation firm in the Anil Ambani Group has signed pacts with the Arunachal Pradesh government for four hydro-electric power projects in state with a combined capacity of 2520 MW. According to a senior offical in the company won the projects as Kalai II with 1,200 MW, Emini with 500 MW, Amulia with 420 MW and Midhundon with 400 MW. Among them the Kalai project will come Up in the Anlin River bain with the others will be set up in Dibang Valley.Reliance Power’s earlier hydro projects are the Tato-II with 700 MW in Dibang and Siyom 1,000 MW project on the river by the same name. All projects are planned to be commissioned within the 12th five year plan (2012-2017).NHPC has been working to in Arunachal Pradesh to increase its capacity to 5175 MW, while Reliance Power’s is awarded of projects with total hydropwer project portfolio to 4,620 MW. A Reliance Power official said that it usually takes 10–12 years to develop hydroprojects, but they have targeted completion in six-seven years. According to a government source that most bids by private proponents do not go through any scrutiny and the projects are awarded on the basis of upfront paymant and the free electricity they promise to the state. Reliance Power, DS Construction and Jaypee Associates, for example promise 12 percent free electricity for 10 years and 15 percent thereafter, much more than public enterprise.The Central Electricity Authority, the section’s regulatory with only has estimated the potential 39 big hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh at 49,126 MW, while smaller ones are expected to generate another 1,600 MW. In last year the North-east Regional Power Minister’s Committee had expressed concern over the threat posed to the environment and human habitats in catchment as well as downstream areas because of setting up of several mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh hills and other bordering states of Assam. The Committee had requested the central Government to carry out a study on comulative impact of these dams in catchment areas. But the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has registered its opposition to what the Government of Assam has stated against construction of mega dams. But the stand of present power minister of Assam, Pradyut Bordoloi is not firm. Unfortunately he is not against the participation of private players in Arunachal Pradesh going to build mega dams without proper measures. The hydropower potential map prepeared by Arunachal Government projects generation of 56,539 MW of power completly ignoring the massive threat posed to the densely populated areas downstream mostly in Assam. It is said that the 3,000 MW Dibang project is proposed as a hydropower cum flood moderation scheme and involves the construction of a 288 m or high dam. But the mega size of this dam can be gauged from the fact that the Lower Subansiri project which is also a mega project involves a dam which is 116 m. high while Dibang will be 288 m high. This multipurpose project is proposed to be developed as a joint venture between NHPC the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Though the cumulative affects of the dam in catchment areas in Assam is indispensable, no environmental public hearing was held in Assam. It is noteworthy that soon after the public hearing project authorities had submitted its documents to Ministry of Environment and forests it got the grant of environmental clearance. The environmental clearance granted to the 1,000 MW Middle Siang (Siyom) project was challenged before National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA)– a special environment court by Rabindranath of Akajan, Dhemaji district. The grounds were extermely valid on downstream-impacts. But NHPC argued in court that people staying downstream in Assam cannot be aggrieved by an upstream project in Arunachal Pradesh. On the otherhand the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project contradicts this stand. In that report NHPC mentioned that part of the project cost related to ‘flood caution’ should be taken by Government of Assam as it will be beneficiary state. According to NHPC this will also help reduce cost of electricity. Disregarding the downstream social and environmental issuses the NHPC and the Arunachal Government are arguing that downstream people as well as Assam can not legally challenge environmental cleareances granted to dams in Arunachal Pradesh .So as complying with the NHPC, the National Environmental Appallate Authority had agreed with this stand and rejected the application by Rabindranath, the pretitioner for Assam. On the other hand the Ministry of Environment & forests (MOE) has finalised ‘Terms of Refernce’ (TOR) for conducting the environment impact assesment (EIA) reports for-five Tawang I (750 MW), Tawang II (1,750 MW), Tato II (700 MW), Etalim (4000 MW) and Atunli (500 MW) propossed hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh. It is noteworthy that the TORs for all the five projects mentioned specifically ask studies to be restricted a 10 km radius. But a 10 km radius study can’t cover the hundred or more kilometer long downstream upto Assam. Arunachal Pradesh has the river system flowing swiftly out of the Himalayas. They flow towards Assam in the south and join the Brahamaputra. The Brahamaputra than flows in to the Bay of Bangal though Bangladesh. There appears to contradiction between the Government of Arunachal Pradesh signing so many MOUs on the hand and yet admitting to the serious impacts of these projects on the other. But there is no contradiction about the fact that all these projects will have considerable downstream impacts.According to Bittu Sahgal, editor, Sanctury megazine, Assam’s agriculture, fisheries, ability to cope with floods and droughts is totally at risk from these dams. He says at a cost of 6 crores per megawatt, the Planning Commission believes that 50,000 mw of hydropower can be generated (Rs.3,00,000 crores) over the next decade or so. But most of these projects are located in the Himalayas where glacial melt is so rapid that by the time to projects are built, the turbines will have next to to glacial melt available to turn turbines. According to a paper by DC Goswami and P J Das of Department of environmental science, Gauhati University the peak demand of power of NE region at the end of the Ninth Plan was 1809 MW. The planned addition to hydropower generation in NE is 19,098 MW by 2020. This is more than three times the projected peak demand of power in 2020 (5700 MW). So it is alleged that the apparent benefit of the proposed projects is not meant for the region but more for the market in India and abroad. Recently the world has recognised the North-east India as a biodiversity hot spot. This is the region of the world that combines highest rainfall, highest river chain, highest number of tribes and large number of species. Obviously the engineering solutions to build dams and reservoirs here must be based on parameters, premises and priorities that account for the stupendous sediment loads, preciptation levels and looming dangers like glacial retreat, glacial lake outburst and seismic activity. The rainforests of the eastern Himalayas including North-east India part of the Indo-Myanmar biodiversity hotspot, one of 25 such hotspots in the world, and more to two endemic bird areas (EBAs) indentified by Birdlife International. The proposed dams across the Brahmaputra and its tributaries will submerge vast tracts of pristine forests. Parts of these include crucial wild habitates such as Dihang-Debang Biosphere Reserve, Namdapha Biosphere Reserve, Pakhui Wildlifes Sanctuary and Tale Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh and Nameri National Park and Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Assam. Regulations of the river flow and the changed patterns of erosion and siltation cause ecological havoc downstream.Rivers are principal source of beach sands, estuary silt and mud flats which provide nutrients for estuary and coastal fisharies.Dams would block the flow of the vital materials, depriving fisheries of nutrients causing shoreline erosion and loss of wetlends.From an aquatic conservation point of view the survival of the endangered river dolphin (hihu), golden mahsheer and other aquatic species will be under threat. Moreover changes in the river flows will be a detriment to the common people who depend upon riverine and beel (wet lands) fisheries, and ‘deep water rice cultivation’ (hali kheti). There are huge risks (social, ecological, engiereeing) that are not factored into the projected benefits. While there is nodoubt about the need of develop, the Northeast region, what is required is sustainable development that is tailored for and encompasses. Social ,cultural and environmental factors unique to this region.The dam building institutions like NEEPCO, NHPC, WAPCOS, NTPC and Ministry of water, power and environment and forest are involved in agressive decision making without actually involving the scientists, environmentalists and activists of the region. According to International Rivers Network, the NHPC which will be implementing the largest numbers of schemes in the north-east India has a poor track record in project implementiation. It has been repetedly convicted for violating state and central laws, national project clearance processes and legal regulatory requirements.Five core values (equity, efficiency, participatony decision making, sustainability and accountability) and the seven strategic priorities highlighted by the World Commission on Dams report during project assesment, planning and implenentation.There is no denying the power needs of the country must be met. The glacial retreating and glacial lakes outburst floods turns the problem of dams to a grave devastation.So the most valuable question is whether building big dams across Himalayan rivers is the best solution of power? Saigal says – ‘I am also worried about the impact of the Forest Right Act on the inter-tribe equilibrium the Northeast where traditions are fast falling to short term development options being excercised by planners and politicians.In a letter to the journalists of Northeast inclined to nature conservation Sahgal writes ‘You see how solar thermal works at Balipara. That coupled with a series of micro-mini hydel projects for power coupled with hydrums that can lift swift flowing river water can meet needs of almost every village in the Northeast. Why should your forests be sacrificed to allow Delhi politicians (in search of power and power) to make a killing (literally and figuaratively) at the cost of the Northeast? … Are the people of the North-east even minimally aware of the danger to which they are being put?'(The writer is a science writer , researcher and former Robert Bosch Fellow.This report first published in “The Independent” in 2009 )
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment