Supreme Court orders Centre to implement draft Cauvery Management Scheme

The Supreme Court ordered the Central government to implement its draft Cauvery Management Scheme after finding it in consonance with its February 16 judgment.

The court also found the draft scheme in conformity with Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act.

The judgment, given by A.M. Khanwilkar, also found no point in pursuing a contempt action against the Centre for not framing the draft scheme within the deadline given in the February 16 judgment, saying the lapse was due to circumstances beyond the Centre’s grasp.

The apex court, in its verdict delivered on February 16, had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, including the creation of the Cauvery Management Board, for a release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

Modifications made by the Court:

The top court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground.

It had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.

About the Cauvery Management Scheme:

The Cauvery water management scheme will deal with the release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

It will be implemented by the Cauvery Management Authority (CMA). CMA will be the sole body to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award as modified by the apex court. The Centre would have no say in it except for issuing administrative advisories to it.

The dispute began with Karnataka’s demand of ‘equitable sharing of the waters’ after it expanded farming activities in the Cauvery basin. It claimed that the previous agreements, which happened between erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore in 1924, were highly skewed to what is present-day Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu used to get about 602 TMC of the total water, leaving only about 138 TMC for Karnataka.

About Cauvery River:

Cauvery River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in southwestern Karnataka state. It flows in a south-easterly direction for 475 miles through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India.” The river is important for its irrigation canal projects.

In the upper course, at the Krishnaraja Sagara, the Kaveri is joined by two tributaries, the Hemavati and Lakshmantirtha, where a dam was constructed for irrigation.

Upon entering Tamil Nadu, the Kaveri continues through a series of twisted wild gorges until it reaches Hogenakal Falls. There the Mettur Dam was construted for irrigation and hydel power.

The Cauvery’s main tributaries are the Kabani (Kabbani), Amaravati, Noyil, and Bhavani rivers.

Please follow and like us:

Western Ghats forest cover vital for Tamil Nadu’s South-West monsoon rainfall

Researchers have found one more reason why urgent steps have to be taken to stop deforestation in the Western Ghats. The dense vegetation in the Western Ghats determines the amount of rainfall that Tamil Nadu gets during the summer monsoon.

A team led by Prof. Subimal Ghosh from the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has found that dense forests of the Western Ghats contribute as much as 40% of moisture to the southwest monsoon rainfall over Tamil Nadu during normal monsoon years. The average contribution is 25-30%. But during monsoon deficit years, the contribution increases to as high as 50%.

The study found the forests of Western Ghats contribute as much as 3 mm per day of rainfall during August and September over a “majority of locations” in Tamil Nadu and 1 mm per day during June and July.

The study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters also found that deforestation of the Ghats led to 0.25 degree C increase in surface temperature across the State. The work was done in collaboration with Prof. Raghu Murtugudde of University of Maryland and Dr. K. Rajedran from CSIR-Fourth Paradigm Institute (CSIR-4PI), Bangalore.

To study the role of vegetation cover in the Western Ghats in supplying moisture to the southwest monsoon rainfall, the researchers used models to compare the contribution of Western Ghats with and without the forest cover.

The researchers found a significant drop in rainfall in the range of 1-2.5 mm per day when the vegetation cover was removed from the Western Ghats. This translates to an average of 25% of the total monsoon rainfall over Tamil Nadu. But only small parts of Kerala get affected by deforestation in the Western Ghats.

The team selected three years (1993, 1999, and 2002) when Tamil Nadu experienced the extreme deficit in summer monsoon rainfall. They found that deforestation over the Western Ghats reduced rainfall over the State by 40-50% during all the three years.

The forest cover in the Ghats acts as a capacitor for moisture supply to Tamil Nadu. During the break period during the monsoon season when there is a sharp decrease or no rainfall for three consecutive days, the impacts of deforestation in the Ghats on the rainfall over Tamil Nadu is higher compared with the wet spell of the monsoon period.

While the decline in rainfall during the break period is widespread across the State, during the wet spells the contribution of vegetation in the Ghats to rainfall is mostly over the southern part of the State and is 25-30%.

The researchers also crosschecked the role of vegetation is supplied moisture to southwest monsoon rainfall by tracking the source of the moisture. The results of this were consistent with the model with and without vegetation. So the results were not coincidental,” says Prof. Ghosh.

Please follow and like us:

World’s Longest Sandstone Cave Discovered in Meghalaya

The world’s longest sandstone cave named Krem Puri was recently discovered in Meghalaya. It has a staggering length of 24.5 km, almost three times the height of Mount Everest, and contains some dinosaur fossils from 66-76 million years ago as well.

‘Krem’ means ‘cave’ in Khasi language. The cave system which is 24,583 metres long was discovered in near Laitsohum village, located in the Mawsynram area in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district.

Though Krem Puri had been discovered in 2016 itself, its actual length was mapped only recently when the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA) took a 25-day expedition to this end.

The dinosaur fossils in the longest sandstone cave in the world include those of the Mosasaurus, believe palaeontologists. It was a carnivorous aquatic lizard that resided on Earth around 66-70 million years ago.

The previous world record holder in the longest sandstone cave category was Venezuela’s Cueva Del Saman in Edo Zulia. This is an 18,200-metre (18.2km) long quartzite sandstone cave.

Meghalaya is also home to India’s longest cave in the general category – the Krem Liat Prah-Umim-Labit limestone cave system located in Jaintia Hills. It measures over 31 km in length.

Krem Puri is now the second longest cave system in the general category after this.

The 25-day expedition by the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association was carried out by a team of four Italian scientists from La Venta, 30 experienced cave explorers from UK, Ireland, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, and the rest of the members from MAA.

This expedition, which took place from February 5 to March 1, 2018, explored almost the entirety of Krem Puri. Only a few leads have been left open.

The North-Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya is renowned for its complex cave systems underneath the many hills. It has more than 1650 known caves and cave locations of which 1000 have been partially or fully explored. Official data says 491 kilometres of caves have been already surveyed while many more remain to be explored.

There are so many cave systems in Meghalaya located in the areas of Cherrapunjee, Shella, Pynursla, Nongjri, Mawsynram and Langrin, that the explored caves amount to only five percent of the total caves in the state.

Please follow and like us:

Rare meteorite that hit Rajasthan in 2017

A very rare and primitive kind of meteorite that had hit Rajasthan in June 2017 could unravel many mysteries about the early origin of life and provide clues to how the solar system has evolved through billions of years, says a team of scientists from the Geological Survey of India.

Two meteorites fell in 2017, one on June 6 in Assam one in Mukundpura village in Rajasthan.

After studies, experts have found that the Mukundpura meteorite is a carbonaceous meteorite, one of the most primitive types. The meteorite belongs to a very rare and primitive group of meteorites called CM group of carbonaceous chondrites.

The meteorite that fell in Natun Balijan in the floodplains of Lohit River, has been classified as an “ordinary chondrite.”

The significance of this discovery:

Meteorites mostly originate from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The carbonaceous meteorite may contain clues to the formation of early life. This is a rare type since carbonaceous meteorites constitute only 3%-5% of all meteorite falls.

Also, this meteorite could be carrying some of the most pristine primordial matter recovered from space as it is made up of materials which were formed during the early stages of the formation of the solar system. A detailed analysis could provide clues about the origin of life and the formation and evolution of the solar system.

Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, unlike other meteorites, contain very primitive traces of carbon. And carbon forms the backbone of all life on earth.

They represent some of the most pristine matter known, and their chemical compositions match the chemistry of the Sun more closely than any other class of chondrites.

They are formed in oxygen-rich regions of the early solar system so that most of the metal is not found in its free form but as silicates, oxides, or sulfides.

Most of them contain water or minerals that have been altered in the presence of water, and some of them contain larger amounts of carbon as well as organic compounds. This is especially true for the carbonaceous chondrites that have been relatively unaltered by heating during their history.

Please follow and like us:

Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological Systems (IAAMS)

Rear Admiral RJ Nadkarni, VSM, Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Southern Naval Command inaugurated the ‘Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological System (IAAMS)’ at INS Garuda on 09 February 2018. INS Garuda is the fourth air station to have been installed with this integrated system.  IAAMS is an ambitious project of the Indian Navy to modernise the Meteorological infrastructure of the nine Naval Air Stations. The IAAMS project at INS Garuda will give a major fillip to aviation safety through automation of weather monitoring process.

Equipped with the state of the art Meteorological Sensors viz., Radar Vertical Wind Profiler, Transmissometer, Ceilometer and Automatic Weather Observation System, IAAMS undertakes automatic and continuous recording of relevant weather parameters that are vital for accurate weather forecasting.  It has a special alarm feature that alerts the duty staff about any abnormal change of weather parameters that may affect safe flying operations.  The system can also provide automatic dissemination of routine weather reports of the air station as per World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards to other Air Stations and to ATC tower without human intervention.

The US Chamber of Commerce’s intellectual property rights advocacy arm, Global Innovation Policy Centre, has released Intellectual Property Index. The index ranks economies based on 40 unique indicators that benchmark activity critical to innovation development surrounding patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets protection.

Please follow and like us:

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra:

China has agreed to allow Indian pilgrims to Kailash-Mansarovar through Nathu La in Sikkim after the route was closed last year in the wake of the Doklam stand-off.

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra:

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY) is known for its religious importance, cultural significance and arduous nature. The annual pilgrimage holds religious importance for Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. The Yatra is organized by the government of India in close cooperation with the Government of the People’s Republic of China. State Governments of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Delhi, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN) are other major Indian partners of the Ministry in organizing the Yatra.

Mansarovar Lake is located at an altitude of 14,950 ft (4,558 m) is said to be the highest freshwater lake in the world. It is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 940 kilometers from Lhasa. To the west of it is Lake Rakshastal and to the north is Mount Kailash.

Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing stand-offs.

The four BPM are Chushul in Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim, Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, and Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.

Please follow and like us:

Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App

Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Railways & Coal has launched ‘Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App’ benefitting customers of Coal India Limited (CIL) lifting coal through road mode.

The customer-friendly app, launched recently in Kolkata on CIL’s Foundation Day, helps achieve transparency in despatch operations, as a tool to monitor, whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of ‘First in First Out’ and keeps track of all the activities from issuance of Sale Order to physical delivery of coal by road.

The main benefits of the App for the customers, against the Sale Orders issued, include easy accessibility of the information at the click of the button, apart from transparency in the system of loading programme and despatch. The app also helps in logistics planning for the lifting of coal in tune with the loading programmes. It further helps in improved planning of procurement, production and stock management by the customers.

The main features of the app are that it provides date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the Sale Orders and information related to Scheme-wise, Colliery-wise, Grade-wise, customer-wise details of Sale Orders issued during a period.

In terms of loading it provides allotment verses lifting status in details from different sources truck by truck and summary of the despatch.

Coal India is addressing its customer needs in a big way and made ‘ease of doing business’ a major consumer commitment. The launching of the app is also one of the initiatives of CIL towards achieving the much cherished goal of ‘Digital India’ and transparency.

It may be recalled that CIL in a move to rush more coal to power stations, coal supplies to plants located in shorter distances have been offered through road mode from available pithead stock. As a result, power plants located within 50 Kms to 60 Kms from the mines may take as much coal from the nearest mines as they can.

During 2016-17 despatch of coal through road mode had been about 140 Million Tonnes (MTs) out of the total despatch of 542 MTs by CIL accounting for 26%. The impetus given in the current fiscal has improved movement of coal through road considerably. As of end of October 2017 the movement of coal through road mode at a little over 93 MTs accounted for 29% of the total coal despatch of 317 MTs.The road despatch during the current fiscal till October 2017 went up by 12 MTs compared to same period last fiscal.

Please follow and like us:

ONGC discovers oil in Arabian sea

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has made a significant oil discovery to the west of its prime Mumbai High fields in the Arabian sea.

The discovery in the well WO-24-3 is estimated to hold an in-place reserve of about 20 million tonnes, he said. Mumbai High, India’s biggest oil field, currently produces 205,000 barrels of oil per day (just over 10 million tonnes per annum) and the new find would add to that production in less than two years time.

ONGC is carrying out a further appraisal of the discovery and has intimated upstream regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons.

The new find, which comes almost 50 years after ONGC began production in Mumbai High, will help the company maintain production levels from the basin for a longer time than currently estimated.

Please follow and like us:

Fast spinning star confirms Indian Nobel Laureate’s theory

Over 70 years after Indian astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar predicted that rapidly rotating stars would emit polarised light, scientists in Australia have observed the phenomenon for the first time.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and University College London in the UK used a highly sensitive piece of equipment to detect the polarised light from Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

The equipment provided unprecedented insights into the star, which is in the constellation Leo, allowing the scientists to determine its rate of spinning and the orientation in space of the star’s spin axis.

In 1946, Chandrasekhar had predicted the emission of polarised light from the edges of stars, prompting the development of sensitive instruments called stellar polarimeters to try to detect this effect.

Optical polarisation is a measure of the orientation of the oscillations of a light beam to its direction of travel.

In 1968, other researchers built on Chandrasekhar’s work to predict that the distorted, or squashed, shape of a rapidly rotating star would lead to the emission of polarised light, but its detection has eluded astronomers until now.

Yet the information is crucial for understanding the life cycles of most of the hottest and largest stars in the galaxies, which are the ones that produce the heaviest elements, such as iron and nickel, in interstellar space.

Regulus is about 79 light years away. During the total solar eclipse in the US in August, Regulus was just one degree away from the Sun and was, to many people, the only star visible during the eclipse.

Please follow and like us:

Sun’s core rotates 4 times faster than its surface

A team of global astronomers recently found that the Sun’s core rotates near four times faster than its surface.

European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), together, helped the solar scientists find evidence of a type of seismic wave in the Sun. These waves are known as g-modes and are low-frequency waves. These waves revealed that solar core is actually rotating four times faster than its surface.

The solar physicists used helioseismology to study the Sun’s interior structure by tracking the way waves move on the star.

The scientists used over 16 years of data collected by SOHO’s GOLF instrument (Global Oscillations at Low Frequencies). The study was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Why is it important?

The Sun’s core may give a clue of how the Sun was formed. After the Sun formed, the solar wind likely slowed the rotation of the outer part of the sun.

The rotation might also impact sunspots, which also rotate.

The researchers studied surface acoustic waves in the Sun’s atmosphere, some of which penetrate to the Sun’s core, where they interact with gravity waves that have a sloshing motion similar to how water would move in a half-filled tanker truck driving on a curvy mountain road. From those observations, they detected the sloshing motions of the solar core.

By carefully measuring the acoustic waves, the researchers precisely determined the time it takes an acoustic wave to travel from the surface to the centre of the Sun and back again. That travel time turns out to be influenced a slight amount by the sloshing motion of the gravity waves, Ulrich said.

The researchers identified the sloshing motion and made the calculations using data collected by SOHO’s GOLF instrument.

The method was developed by the researchers, led by astronomer Eric Fossat of the Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur in Nice, France.

Please follow and like us: